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!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

How did Merchandising Software Change Retail Marketing?

Retail marketing has been going through many changes lately brought by technology but mobile applications are probably what affected the industry the most. Merchandising software is now a welcome reality for marketing agencies, distributors, manufacturers and retailers alike since they streamline a clumsy, old-fashioned process by virtually doing away with paper-based merchandising audits.

But what are the key aspects of how merchandising software changed retail marketing?

Solutions to mission-critical issues come faster 
Paper-based audits, in addition to being inefficient, are prone to human error in every step of the way, from incorrect product identification to cumbersome data transcription. If a rep notices a product is out-of-stock and checks his/her paper form, he/she will have to notify the office via phone call or email, or corrective action will have to wait until someone goes through every store audit form. Also, sales and marketing managers have to wait until all data is transcribed in order to run reports. With merchandising software, data is available to decision-makers as soon as visits are finished, so they can generate reports, calculate KPIs and tweak strategies mid-campaigns.

Good-bye to merchandisers managing paperwork at stores
There is no more paper in retail marketing. Merchandising software allows for reps and auditors to perform in-store activities on mobile devices and therefore are a much better solution than the clumsy paper-and-clipboard.

Improved brand compliance
It is easier to communicate with reps through merchandising software since managers can supply detailed documents, such as visual planograms and display instructions, to retail reps.  Additionally, feedback is also improved, as most merchandising software solutions provide the capability of capturing photos.

VisitBasis merchandising software is the ideal solution for marketing and merchandising managers that are looking for ways to streamline store sets, resets, and audits. VisitBasis provides a complete solution that includes full customization of the tasks performed by field reps at the stores, as well as real-time access to visit results through web-based dashboards and reports.

Interested in learning more about retail merchandising software? Schedule an online demo or sign up for a free trial!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Image Recognition Software for Retail Delivers Instant KPIs

Calculating key performance indicators are a must in merchandising and product management, but getting source data for these calculations can be tricky.

First of all, analysts and managers at central offices rely on field reps to either count the number of products/faces and gather competitor numbers, or the reps perform calculations such as share of shelf by themselves. In both cases, the risk of human error is high and, over many stores, can seriously skew the final KPIs and negatively impact strategies.

New advances in artificial intelligence have given rise to much-needed image recognition software for retail, which allows quantifiable data to be extracted from pictures. With image recognition software for retail, field reps only need to take one picture of the category shelf and KPIs will be automatically extracted, as well as compiled with data from other stores in the Cloud.

Managers and analysts at central offices can then generate reports and visualizations on the collected data, including out-of-stocks, share of shelf, product availability, competitor availability, and promotions, among others, and then filter stores by any criteria deemed useful for building their strategies.

VisitBasis, creator of the namesake mobile merchandising application chosen by many market leaders in the CPG and product distribution industries, has developed its own image recognition software for retail: BrandML. Despite its advanced technology, BrandML is cost-effective and implementing it only takes a few weeks.

Interested in learning more about the BrandML image recognition software for retail? Contact us at www.visitbasis.com.