Friday, May 1, 2020

5 Benefits of Field Force Automation

Supervising outside staff and field reps is one of the hardest parts of a manager’s job description, just because there is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to the activities being performed by the team members throughout the day.

That is the main reason many companies are implementing field force automation. Through mobile technology, smartphones and tablets have become an essential tool for outside teams. But what are the main benefits of field force automation?

Improved staff accountability
An app for field teams allows for straightforward GPS tracking as well for verification of visits. This means that underperforming team members can be easily spotted and then coached into delivering the expected results.

Improved quality of data collected
Paper forms are difficult to update, so many companies just rely on freestyle reporting from their reps and miss out on getting answers that could make a real difference when it comes to developing strategies based on hard data. One of the greatest benefits of field force automation is that it allows management to fully customize forms that will then be answered by their reps on their mobile devices.

Improved staff satisfaction
Many might think that outside staff and reps might have a natural resistance to apps for field teams. However, after a system is implemented, teams show a high level of satisfaction since it virtually eliminates off-hours reporting.

Reduced travel costs
Many apps for field teams, besides GPS tracking, also offer optimized calculation of routes. This allows staff to follow the shortest daily route, leading to reduced mileage reimbursements.

Boost in sales and customer satisfaction
As a consequence of optimized travel routes, increased staff accountability and satisfaction, less time spent reporting, and better data collection, one surprising benefit of field force automation is that it can lead to a boost in sales and customer satisfaction. With the time savings, reps might be able to fit in one or more customer calls a day, and with improved quality.

VisitBasis is an app for field teams that delivers all the benefits of field force automation in an easy-to-implement, Cloud-based solution. Learn more and sign up for a free trial at www.visitbasis.com.


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Competitive Advantage of Mobile Merchandising Technology

merchandising mobile technology
Retail merchandising is a complex science. It relies on data from a large number of geographically dispersed stores and, therefore, also relies on the large number of people collecting such data.

However, many retail-focused businesses - CPG manufacturers, distributors, and agencies - are still dispatching reps and using the traditional pen-and-paper method of collecting data.

While dispatching reps will still be a reality, there is one way out of the cumbersome and time-consuming pen-and-paper: Mobile merchandising technology, which grants several competitive advantages to the businesses that adopt it, among them the following:

Improved brand consistency
Mobile merchandising technology makes it possible to capture images and customize checklists and forms. It also allows creating tasks that are set up by the office, as well as ad-hoc tasks that reps can assign themselves, such as in the case of out-of-stocks or damaged products.
With these features in hand, merchandising and brand management can make sure that their strategies are being properly implemented.

GPS verification of store visits
One of the most common issues that merchandising teams face is, unfortunately, the number of fraudulent visits. Some of the mobile merchandising technology solutions available in the market provide GPS verification of visits, increasing accountability as well as data accuracy and brand compliance.

Real-time access to data
The lag time between data collection and running reports can be significantly delayed by the data transcription necessary to the traditional pen-and-paper audits. With a Cloud-based mobile merchandising technology solution, managers at the office can access data as soon as reps finish their visits and synchronize their devices, leading to faster and more effective decision-making.

Want to know how to implement mobile merchandising technology for your business? Check out  www.visitbasis.com and sign up for a free trial of VisitBasis, the merchandising app chosen by many retail-focused businesses.



Monday, April 6, 2020

4 Main Benefits of Implementing a Field Force Tracking and Data Collection App

Being able to track a field force has been a part of every manager's dream. Not because all managers are controlling or "helicopter-type" but because, by not properly knowing the activities of their outside employees, they could be missing on effective mentoring opportunities and having a higher turnover rate than needed.

Mobile technology brought with it the ability to capture data with smartphones and tablets as well as GPS tracking of such devices. It was just a matter of time until field force tracking and data collection apps started to be developed. But what are the biggest advantages of these types of software?

No after-hours reporting
Reporting is one of the activities most dreaded by field reps: It requires them to work beyond customer or outlet visits, digging into their personal time. With a field force tracking and data collection app, reps can report their activities while performing visits, completely doing away with after-hours reporting.

Instant access to captured data
Mobile technology means any data collected by the app will be uploaded to the Cloud upon synchronization. This means that managers no longer have to wait for data transcription to generate their reports.

Increased in-task time
Beyond simplifying the reporting process, field force tracking and data collection apps also allow for optimized visit scheduling and routing, reducing the time reps spend traveling and therefore increasing their in-task time.

Improved compliance and communication
One of the main reasons for high turnover in-field teams is the lack of compliance. A field force tracking and data collection app helps managers clarify their message on what is expected from reps by allowing them to create custom task forms and checklists as well as creating a culture of accountability with GPS verification of visits.

VisitBasis is a field force tracking and data collection app that is cost-effective and easy to implement, making it an ideal solution for businesses of all sizes. To learn more about VisitBasis and sign up for a free trial, go to www.visitbasis.com or click here to schedule an online demo.


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Implementing Image Recognition for Shelf and Brand Monitoring

Shelf and brand monitoring at retail stores is an essential part of any CPG business. Otherwise, how can merchandising management know if their strategies are being properly executed?

Adopting a mobile merchandising app is the first step in achieving the oversight necessary to effectively monitor retail channel strategies. With a mobile merchandising app, management can streamline keeping track of merchandise sets and resets, promotions, etc, by customizing audit forms and capturing valuable information without having to go through the cumbersome activity of transcribing paper forms.

Additionally, mobile merchandising apps allow for capturing pictures, which are naturally more effective in communicating the actual reality of store shelves than checklists, however with the downfall that - differently than single/ multiple-choice or numeric answers - cannot be automatically quantified.

Recently, however, these merchandising software solutions have evolved even further and now include artificial intelligence technologies that take store inspections to a whole new level. With image recognition for shelf and brand monitoring, the information contained in pictures can be automatically quantified into charts and reports.

This means that, as soon as reps take a picture at stores, image recognition for shelf monitoring will give managers at headquarters access to KPIs such as share of shelf, out-of-stocks, competitor information, among others.

BrandML is the image recognition for shelf monitoring technology developed by VisitBasis, provider of the namesake mobile merchandising app adopted by many CPG manufacturers, distributors and agencies. While state-of-the-art, BrandML can be implemented in a short period of time and is cost-effective, making it a realistic technology upgrade for retail-focused businesses of all sizes.

Interested in learning more about the BrandML image recognition for shelf monitoring technology? Go to www.visitbasis.com and contact us.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Merchandising: Weekly Reports Can Be a Reality

Old-style merchandising analysis - where data capture was performed with pen and paper - presented several challenges for management, including the fact that reports were few and far between and, because of that, most of the time contained outdated information. Running merchandising weekly reports seemed therefore impossible.

Mobile merchandising apps made it possible for management to have up-to-the-minute access to data captured at stores.

VisitBasis is a mobile merchandising app that allows reps to answer questionnaires and fill in checklists on their own smartphones and tablets. As soon as a store visit is finished, the captured data is synchronized with the Cloud and office-based category and channel managers can immediately run their own reports.

You can, therefore, see how VisitBasis will be used to run weekly or even daily merchandising reports, helping to increase supervision as well as promotion and planogram compliance at the store level.

Besides spreadsheet-type reporting, VisitBasis additionally provides a task-based graphic report interface called VisitBasis Analytics that quantifies form answers to display plotted chart results. This makes it possible for management to know at any point in time the percentage of out-of-stocks for a certain SKU at one or more stores, streamlining decision-making to speed up replenish and prevent loss in sales.

VisitBasis Analytics can help category and retail channel managers produce the following merchandising weekly reports:
  • Out-of-Stocks
  • Share of shelf
  • Product positioning on shelf and/or store
  • Product pricing
  • Promotional pricing
  • Competitor pricing
  • New competitor products
Would you like to see how a merchandising weekly report for your business needs would look like? Sign up for VisitBasis free trial at www.visitbasis.com.



Wednesday, March 4, 2020

3 Ways to Save with a Mobile Merchandising App

mobile merchandising app
Most retail manufacturers, distributors, and agencies have adopted a mobile merchandising app system for performing in-store activities. The advantages are clear, from having all data in digital format from the moment it is captured to the ease of scheduling and planning in-store tasks for reps.

But a mobile merchandising app will also translate into tangible savings, that include the following:

Save paper
The virtual elimination of paperwork is the most obvious advantage of adopting a mobile merchandising app. Besides being a waste of natural resources, paperwork in retail merchandising is messy and unsightly and normally leads to human error in all steps of the data collection process, whether when the rep is filling in a checklist or when the data is being transcribed.

Save time
When a rep fills in a questionnaire or checklist on a mobile merchandising app, the data gets sent directly to the Cloud, where managers can instantly access it. This means that there is no more waiting until forms are transcribed: Order fulfillment can know literally within seconds when an out-of-stock was reported by a rep.

Save aggravation
The high rate of rep turnover makes in-store merchandising one of the most volatile areas of a retail-focused business. Mobile merchandising apps not only increase rep responsiveness and engagement, possibly reducing turnover, but they also improve the quality of deliverables provided by reps, since many of the solutions available on the market have foreign language and geotagging capabilities and can also capture photos in addition to checkboxes and text.

VisitBasis is a mobile merchandising app that allows you to quickly and easily implement a cost-efficient in-store data collection system with no need for technical knowledge.

Would you like to see VisitBasis in action? Schedule an online demo by clicking here.



Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Retail Planogram Compliance Checks via BrandML

Retail planogram compliance is essential in ensuring brand consistency across multiple retail channels. However, achieving full compliance is always an issue due not only to outlet and local limitations, but also because of the difficulty in checking multiple locations in spread-out geographies.

VisitBasis is the go-to merchandising software solution for CPG manufacturers and distributors when it comes to planning and scheduling retail planogram compliance checks. It allows field reps to use their own mobile devices to fill in audit forms and checklists. 

Now VisitBasis has developed BrandML, its own image recognition technology. Retail planogram compliance checks via BrandML extract data from pictures through an artificial intelligence neural network and automatically generate KPI reports.

It might seem that BrandML technology is out-of-reach for most smaller and medium-sized manufacturers and distributors, but it actually is cost-effective and also easy to implement. Management just needs to supply sample shelf pictures to the VisitBasis team so they can "train" the neural network to recognize the company's products.

After it has been configured, performing retail planogram compliance checks via BrandML becomes incredibly easy: Reps just need to take a picture of supermarket shelves and the system will deliver metrics such as share of shelf, out-of-stocks, competitor information, and more.

Since the data is now in the Cloud, brand and merchandising managers at centralized offices can also generate their own reports containing their specific parameters and metrics, and supply their businesses the up-to-date information necessary for calculated strategic decision-making.

Is your business ready for retail planogram compliance checks via BrandML? Contact us today at www.visitbasis.com for more information.