Tuesday, December 31, 2019

4 Steps to Reducing Out-of-Stocks with Software for Retail Audits

software for retail audit
Out-of-stocks in CPG are the situation to be avoided at all costs in retail since it translates purely and simply into no sales. Worse than that, recurring out-of-stocks can mean losing customers for good to competing brands or stores.

However, out-of-stocks used to seem eventually inevitable since it is hard to predict when they would occur - outside of seasonal shopping - and retailers avoid keeping excess inventory.

With the implementation of mobile software for retail audits, it becomes easy to develop a process to help detect when out-of-stocks will occur:

  1. Set up recurring visits to stores
    Software for retail audits makes it easy to define merchandiser and rep territories, as well as to create a recurring, frequent schedule of store visits. 
  2. Assign retail audit tasks to capture SKU-specific data
    In order to minimize out-of-stocks in the long run, it is fundamental for each SKU to have an individual historical record of availability at each store. Some software for retail audits automatically cross-reference product distribution lists with store information, displaying for reps on their smartphones only the SKUs that should be on the shelves, reducing guesswork and eventual errors. 
  3. Have ad-hoc tasks ready
    Besides having in place product, category, or brand audit tasks, it is a best practice to create ad-hoc tasks so reps can notify management of mission-critical issues such as damaged packaging or displays and so those can be tracked as well.
  4. Report and analyze data
    Software for retail audits allows immediate access to data captured at stores, fully eliminating data transcription, so it is easy for managers to run frequent reports and analyze data with the ultimate goal to detect trends and prevent out-of-stocks from happening.

See for yourself how VisitBasis software for retail audits can streamline your store inspection process by scheduling an online demo at http://meetme.so/visitbasis.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Retail Image Recognition Brings Artificial Intelligence to Store Shelves

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a reality in online shopping. Who hasn't seen a "relevant" ad on social media right after doing a web search on a certain product?

At retail stores, however, AI had only reached post-sales activities, with - for instance - POS, credit card, and reward systems supplying the data necessary to automatically generate offers and emails catered to customers.

Now retail image recognition is bringing artificial intelligence to store shelves as mobile merchandising software start incorporating this technology.

Mobile merchandising software had already brought a multitude of information to retail channel planning and distribution by simplifying how store audits are done and delivering instant access to data captured by field reps for managers and other office-based professionals. Compared to the previous process of filling in paper forms and then transcribing data, this was revolutionary.

In mobile merchandising software, AI works by transforming image information into quantifiable data. Field reps can take only one shelf picture and retail image recognition will automatically extract relevant KPIs such as out-of-stocks and share of shelf. This information is then instantly delivered to stakeholders and can significantly speed up critical decision-making in areas that include product replenishment and promotion adjustments, for instance.

VisitBasis, creator of the namesake mobile merchandising application chosen by many market leaders in the CPG and product distribution industries, has developed BrandML, its own retail image recognition technology: While groundbreaking, 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 retail image recognition technology? Go to www.visitbasis.com and contact us!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

4 Store Audit Problems Solved by Retail Execution Software

Retail execution is a complex occupation: While developing go-to-market or promotional strategies seem exciting, supervising the implementation of those strategies is a difficult task due to the fact that it is done over sometimes hundreds - if not thousands - of stores.

The solution is deploying an army of field reps with clipboards to audit in-store implementation, however, the old pen-and-paper way has several drawbacks. Retail execution software can help solve many store audit problems, including the following:

Low completion rates
Traditionally, store audits have low completion rates, whether due to reps skipping auditing SKUs, categories, or complete stores altogether. Retail execution software provides ways to make sure that reps are completing their assigned tasks as well as the early detection of non-completion of visits.

Lack of retail data
Lack of retail data affects not only assessing the success of go-to-market or promotional strategies, but it also might prevent future successful campaigns. With retail execution software, merchandising and channel managers can customize audit the forms that the reps will be filling in on their mobile devices to include all the information necessary to generate useful KPIs.

Delays in getting retail data
One of the most time and resource-consuming activities of retail audits is data transcription. Retail execution software completely eliminates it as data captured by field reps and auditors is immediately uploaded to the Cloud upon synchronization.

Fraudulent check-ins
One of the key problems of paper-based retail audits is that, technically, there is no way to know whether the rep or auditor collected the data at the correct store. Many retail execution software solutions offer GPS verification of visits, allowing management to know that the information collected came from the appropriate store.

Would you like to solve the above store audit issues for your company? Let VisitBasis retail execution software help! Sign up today for a free trial at www.visitbasis.com or book a free online demo and let us show you how it works.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Optimizing Store Checklists with Retail Inspection Software

VisitBasis retail inspection software
Store checklists are notorious for being difficult to plan, implement and report on, especially when the retail inspection encompasses several SKUs across multiple categories. Not only it is time and labor-intensive, but the data processing as a whole - from collection to transcription - is extremely prone to human error.

The best way to optimize store checklists is with retail inspection software, which solves several issues in the checklist process:

1. Tailoring checklists by product category
While management might want tailored information for each product category, checklists tend to be condensed in order to reduce human error in filling them in. With retail inspection software, it is easy to create and report on category-specific tasks with tailored checklists.

2. Tailoring product distribution lists by chain, group, or individual stores
This is another area where human errors are common: Due to the different product selections at each store, reps or inspectors normally receive checklists showing the whole range of SKUs. A retail inspection software allows creating product distribution lists by store or group of stores and then cross-references tasks with these lists, displaying for the rep only the products that should be on the shelves in the first place and removing cluttered information.

3. Excessive paperwork
This comes as no surprise: The virtual elimination of paperwork is one of the biggest advantages of retail inspection software.

4. Time-consuming data transcription
Data transcription not only is time-consuming but also error-prone. It delays reporting and can affect time-sensitive decision-making. Retail inspection software eliminates data transcription from the process and makes data available for reporting as soon as store visits are closed.

Do you want to learn more about how retail inspection software can help you optimize your store checklists? Sign up today for a free trial of VisitBasis at www.visitbasis.com or schedule an online demo at meetme.so/visitbasis.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

On-Shelf Availability Solutions are Key to Improved Retail Revenues

Knowing if a product is available at stores is of utmost concern for many managers at CPG companies: From merchandising to retail channel operations and from marketing to finance, many departments have their performance measured by how well revenue grows during a fiscal year. Product shortages or recurring stocking issues, however, can seriously affect revenues, especially because shoppers may switch brands because of these issues.

Mobile merchandising software has opened the door for real-time store information to be available to managers at headquarters. Merchandisers and field reps can just fill in forms and checklists on smartphones and tablets and the information is immediately synchronized with the Cloud, where managers use the data to generate reports.

A more recent upgrade to mobile merchandising software, however, is image recognition. With image recognition, data that was previously unquantifiable can now be automatically translated into table reports and charts. From a shelf picture, for instance, data on product on-shelf availability and share of shelf can be extracted.

When it comes to on-shelf availability solutions, BrandML offers a high-tech yet easy-to-implement alternative. BrandML is the image recognition technology from VisitBasis, developer of the namesake merchandising software.

BrandML works by training a neural network to identify the client's product on store shelves. Once this training is done, all reps need to do is take pictures of product shelves at stores and management will be able to generate reports on product and brand KPIs that can then be used to better strategize on product on-shelf availability solutions.

Interested in implementing the BrandML on-shelf availability solution? Contact VisitBasis today by accessing our website at www.visitbasis.com.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Mobile Merchandising Software Brings Stores to Headquarters

mobile merchandising software
Merchandising and brand managers traditionally work at a CPG manufacturer headquarters or regional office, isolated and sometimes blissfully unaware of what actually goes on with their product or brand at actual stores. This not only affects their perception of their product's positioning, placement, and price but it may lead to inappropriate strategies, damaging sales in the long run.

Mobile merchandising software has been transformational for retail operations. It allows field reps to access documents, fill in forms and answer questions on smartphones and tablets. Not only this virtually eliminates paperwork from the process, but it also offers the following benefits:

Instant access to results, in table and chart formats, by headquarters
With mobile merchandising software, as soon as in-store activities are finished and synchronized, captured data is available on the Cloud for reporting and analyzing by merchandising and retail channel managers.

Actual pictures offer a real-live view of product, brand, and campaign strategy implementation
Planning is very different than real-life implementation especially in retail, where local socio-economic and cultural factors can affect how a product, category, or campaign is perceived by shoppers. Real-life pictures captured by a merchandising app can offer strategy feedback and help tweak on-going and future plans.

GPS verification of audits discourages fraudulent merchandiser behavior
One of the most common complaints from CPG companies on merchandisers is that they tend to on purpose perform in-store activities at the wrong location in order to save time. This obviously skews audit and survey results and can result in long-term negative effects on strategies. Mobile merchandising software discourages this behavior by tracking the GPS coordinates of merchandisers while they work and GPS-verifying store visits.

Interested in learning more about the VisitBasis mobile merchandising software? Go to www.visitbasis.com to sign up for a free trial and schedule an online demo with us.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Product Recognition for On-Shelf Availability Tracking

Tracking on-shelf availability of products is one of the most mission-critical initiatives CPG companies carry. When there is no product on store shelves, there can be no sales. And, along with losing the transaction revenue, there is always the risk of losing the customer for good and any future sales since customers rarely go through the trouble of looking for a missing product in other stores. Instead, they tend to choose an alternative, competitor product - and they might like it, permanently switching to another brand.

Despite its importance, on-shelf availability of products tended to be tracked manually, not only leaving a lot of room for human errors in data collection and transcribing but also little opportunity for planning.

With advances in mobile technology, merchandising apps helped expedite the process, but it still left room for errors when it came to misidentifying products or improperly counting faces or calculating percentages.

Now, artificial intelligence is bringing in the newest developments in mobile merchandising software with product recognition for on-shelf availability detection. What this means is that merchandisers at stores will only need to take one picture of the target product shelf and data - such as on-shelf availability and share of shelf - will be automatically extracted from it, making it possible for merchandising and distribution managers to generate instant reports and tweak their planning in order to avoid out-of-stocks.

BrandML is the product recognition technology for on-shelf availability detection from VisitBasis. Not only does it bring state-of-the-art tools to merchandising software, but BrandML is also cost-effective and fast to implement. To learn more about BrandML product recognition for on-shelf availability, go to www.visitbasis.com and contact us!