Friday, November 2, 2018

Field Force Automation Solutions Deliver More Than Just Mobile Data Collection

Field force automation solutions have revolutionized the way businesses with outside teams work. From sales to in-store merchandising and service professionals, field force automation has done away with paperwork and double data entry errors, as well as brought increased productivity.

But besides straightforward mobile data collection, what are some other benefits of field force automation solutions? Businesses who have adopted such software report the following:

Better accountability with little effort
In addition to actively collecting data, mobile field force automation solutions also gather passive information, such as GPS and time stamps. This means that management is able to see where their field personnel are during the day and which activities are being performed at which customers.

Empowering of field professionals
More than data collection, mobile field force automation solutions provide a platform for accessing relevant information. For instance, sales reps can retrieve new product brochures and past customer call reports without the need to plan visits by printing out materials. Also, specific forms can be designed so field personnel can report on out-of-the-ordinary situations, such as distributor or retailer out-of-stocks.

Real-time reporting 
Real-time reporting is probably the biggest advantage of field force automation solutions for businesses since there is virtually no lag time between data collection and reporting, thanks to the elimination of data transcription and processing, and therefore make faster and better strategic decisions.

VisitBasis is an ideal field force automation solution for businesses conducting in-store or in-customer activities such as surveys, product tastings, audits, planogram checks, among others, that require customized forms along with real-time access and analysis of the data being collected.

Want to see how VisitBasis works? Sign up for a free trial or schedule an online demo!


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Mobile Merchandising App is Key to Improving In-Store Customer Experience

With the threat of online shopping looming over brick-and-mortar retailers, more than ever it is important to ensure a positive in-store customer experience in order to maximize revenue.

But how can merchandising managers in large, sometimes multinational retailers and CPG manufacturers have any control of customer experience in every single store? Mobile merchandising is the answer to that.

A mobile merchandising app allows reps, store personnel, and retail auditors to capture data on their smartphones and tablets. The information is then stored in the Cloud, where managers can run reports and follow in real time what is going on with their brands or territories.

So not only is mobile merchandising superior to the traditional pen-and-paper audits and surveys when it comes to the speed that information reaches decision makers but it also provides more opportunities for centralized management to be involved in the customer experience at individual stores.

Beyond speeding the access to information, mobile merchandising platforms improve the quality of information collected at stores. For one thing, electronic forms are easier and faster to fill in and therefore can be more complex since there is no need to take data transcription into consideration. On top of that, the use of a smartphone for data collection means that photos can also be captured, giving management visual elements that help track and improve the customer experience at stores.

VisitBasis mobile merchandising platform provides all the tools necessary to set up and execute retail audits and customer surveys, among others, from custom checklists and questionnaires that include photo answers to real-time access to captured data and GPS verification of visits.

Try VisitBasis today! Sign up for a free trial or schedule an online demo.


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Maybe Smartphone Use During Working Hours is Not Bad After All… When a Retail Store Audit App is Installed!

Smartphone use during working hours is frowned upon in most businesses, especially when it involves outside contractors or field staff - such as merchandisers and marketing reps - or, even worse, store employees.

However, recent developments in mobile technology mean that cell phones are no longer tools used exclusively for business or social voice/text communication. Smartphones - as the name indicates - are basically small computers that we carry around, always available to us, and apps are literally the software running on them.

Retail store audit apps, in particular, are solutions that allow field staff to perform in-store activities right on their mobile devices. Most retail store audit apps work across multiple phone platforms - such as Apple's iOS and Google's Android - so they do not require any custom hardware, making it easy for manufacturers, distributors, agencies, and retailers to implement such solutions without having to invest in equipment.

Clearly, capturing data on a mobile device has many benefits when compared to the old pen-and-paper checklist system. With a retail store audit app, not only companies can set up checklists that capture from text to photos and single or multiple-choice selections, but all the data transcription work is virtually eliminated. Therefore, we can clearly see how this translates into personnel, time, and paper savings.

VisitBasis is a retail store audit app that allows for custom in-store data capture with the following additional features:

  • Mobile user tracking with GPS verification of store visits, 
  • custom setup of SKU distribution lists by store or chain,
  • visit scheduling, planning, and optimized routing,
  • real-time reports and access to audit findings,
  • Cloud-based system, easy to use and implement.

See what a retail store audit app can do for your business: Sign up today for a VisitBasis free trial at www.visitbasis.com!


Monday, October 1, 2018

Making Complex Retail Planogram Checklists Simpler to Set Up, Easier to Audit

Retail planogram checklists can be complex for all those involved with the process: From the managers setting up individual store distribution lists to merchandisers filling in information on extensive forms for several products at a time.

Merchandising apps such as VisitBasis can greatly simplify the retail planogram checklist process. VisitBasis was developed by merchandising executives who thoroughly understand the specifics of store audits and therefore provides a comprehensive retail planogram checklist platform.

VisitBasis features include the following:
  • Custom task builder
    Retail planogram checklists can become quite long and complex. VisitBasis allows managers to customize checklists with different answer types for each question, as well as provide single- and multiple-choice answers, as well as attach sample planograms and instructions to tasks so reps and merchandisers have all they need to complete their work right on their mobile device.
  • Custom store or chain-specific product distribution listsVisitBasis allows managers to configure which products are available at each store or chain, resulting in retail planogram checklists that apply only to the products available at each store. Along with a barcode search feature, this greatly reduces input errors by merchandising reps.
  • Protection against fraudulent check-insVisitBasis provides GPS verification of all store visits and tasks, so managers can be sure that the planogram audit was performed at the appropriate location.
  • Real-time access to incoming dataRetail planogram checklists can detect mission-critical issues, such as out-of-stocks and damaged promotional displays. With VisitBasis, managers have instant access to visit and task data as soon as reps sync the app, so not only can they address any mission-critical issues but also generate real-time reports.

Want to see how VisitBasis can help your business streamline retail planogram checklists? Sign up right now for a free trial at www.visitbasis.com and schedule an online demo with our team at meetme.so/visitbasis.


Friday, September 28, 2018

How a Mobile App for Merchandisers Helps Businesses Go Green

Merchandising activities are traditionally natural resource intensive, from the piles of paper necessary to perform numerous daily audits to the amount of fuel used by reps in their daily routes.

Therefore, it is easy to see how a mobile app for merchandisers can help businesses go green just by virtually eliminating paper usage during audits. But what are other ways in which such apps can help reduce the use of natural resources in merchandising activities? Here are some examples:

  • Elimination of data transcription - the most work-intensive part of traditional pen-and-paper audits is actually transcribing the data collected at stores. By eliminating this work- and time-intensive step, a mobile app for merchandising helps save power and man-hours.
  • Route optimization - some mobile apps for merchandising can automatically calculate the shortest route for reps' daily store routes. This will naturally lead to time and fuel savings.
  • Anytime online report access - another area in the merchandising audit process where there is traditionally an opportunity for reduced paper usage is reporting. By allowing anytime online report access, including for stakeholders not involved in the day-to-day operations such as outside clients or executives, a mobile app for merchandising significantly reduces paperwork as well as printing costs and power usage.

VisitBasis is a mobile app for merchandising that will help your business go green by providing all the features above along with a straightforward platform for performing custom retail store audits. Learn more and sign up for a fully-functional 14-day free trial of VisitBasis by going to www.visitbasis.com.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Best Solution for Field Reps Must Also Please Managers

Managers of merchandising retail audit activities do not have an easy time: Often they are responsible for the work of dozens – if not hundreds – of field reps who are most times geographically dispersed. Therefore, managers face large gaps in accountability and communication, what could hinder their knowledge of what is really going on in stores and, consequently, hinder sales potential.

Mobile solutions for field reps came on the market to bridge that gap and give managers a faster and more accurate view of their brands and product lines at the store level. But what are the criteria that should be used to evaluate not only the best solution for field reps but also for managers?

Some must-have features of a complete mobile merchandising solution include:

  • Visit scheduling and planning from both sides: If one is to be the best solution for field reps, it must allow the scheduling and planning of visits both from manager’s and rep’s side.
  • Automated adjustments to each individual store: This means that managers can set up pre-selected activities and also customize the product lists for each store, meaning fewer rep mistakes or misunderstandings.
  • Real-time access to field data: The true benefits of a mobile merchandising solution can only be achieved with faster decision-making and real-time access to field data allows issues such as out-of-stocks to be addressed as soon as they are detected.
  • Easy reporting and data exchange options: In order to please all inside and outside stakeholders – that might include data-heavy departments such as planning – a truly best solution for field reps must be able to exchange data in various formats, from exporting spreadsheets to having BigQuery access.

Many businesses have found out that, for them, VisitBasis is the best solution for field reps. See how it works for your company: Sign up today for a free trial, no credit card required!


Friday, August 24, 2018

What to Look For in the Best Mobile Merchandising Solution for your Business

Retail-focused businesses depend on merchandising audits to keep track of their in-store availability, presentation, and – in some cases – perception. Companies, from product manufacturers to distributors and marketing agencies, rely on field reps to perform those activities and are increasingly adopting mobile merchandising solutions in order to streamline the flow of information from the stores to decision makers.

However, there are quite a few merchandising app providers on the market, making it challenging for management to decide on the ideal solution for their company.

Therefore, when looking for the best mobile merchandising solution for their needs, managers must make sure that the chosen software provides the following capabilities:

Customizable forms
While dairy products might need frequent checks for expired items, fast-moving products will have to be checked for out-of-stocks, and promotional displays will be checked for integrity. A mobile merchandising solution that allows fully customizable forms will adapt to those different audit needs.

Customizable distribution lists
Product selection normally changes by retail chain, but can also vary by store. The best mobile merchandising solution will allow for those variations in distribution and must-stock-lists will make it easier and faster for reps to perform audits since tasks will be tailored to each store’s product selection.

Real-time reporting
One of the main reasons that businesses chose to adopt a mobile merchandising solution over traditional pen-and-paper audits is to eliminate the lag time between data capture at the store and management reports. Therefore, real-time reporting is a must-have – leading to faster resolution of mission-critical issues such as out-of-stocks and damaged merchandise.

Data exchange options
Mobile merchandising solutions must be flexible when it comes to data exchange: While an audit summary report in PDF might be necessary with the fulfillment department to justify an extra shipment, a brand manager will probably need hard data in Excel format in order to generate charts for a board presentation, and yet planning might want direct BigQuery access to generate their own custom reports.

VisitBasis mobile merchandising solution offers all the above and more: Schedule an online demo right now!