Monday, September 14, 2020

Going Beyond Retail Audits with a Mobile Merchandising App


Mobile merchandising apps have become a must-have for retail audits as one of the most disruptive technologies for CPG in the last decade. Not only are they a key data collection instrument that completely eliminates paperwork from the labor-intensive - and not always accurate - compilation process, but these apps also assist in deploying brand and category plans.

We know that a mobile merchandising app can be used in gathering store and shopper insights so these can be then incorporated into specific strategies. But, beyond retail audits and customer surveys, what else can be accomplished with these systems?

Most mobile merchandising apps offer some degree of customization for the forms that will be completed by merchandisers and field reps at stores. A few of them, however, actually allow category and brand managers to fully customize those forms as well as capture pictures, turning these Cloud-based systems into platforms for deploying store and shopper-centric initiatives such as display and communications installations, tasting questionnaires, and even mystery shopping.

More than the possibility of fully customizing mobile forms, the most attractive feature of a mobile merchandising app for retail CPG management is the flexibility that they bring to store and customer surveys. With basically instant access to captured data through in-depth reports, brand and category managers have the possibility to implement strategies such as A/B testing and quickly fine-tune their promotional plans according to the survey results.

VisitBasis was designed by merchandisers, for merchandisers. It is a complete mobile merchandising app that allows you to quickly and easily implement a cost-effective retail data collection system with no need for technical knowledge.

Online demos of the VisitBasis merchandising app can be scheduled at http://meetme.so/visitbasis. For more information and to sign up for a free trial, go to www.visitbasis.com



Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Effective Mobile Forms for Retail


Mobile forms for retail through SaaS, cloud-based retail audit systems solve many issues with in-store merchandising and shelf audits and also provide basically up-to-the-minute reporting.  

However, while transitioning from paper to mobile forms already brings many efficiencies to the retail data gathering process, especially when it comes to eliminating information transcription, merchandising and brand managers sometimes are constrained by long-standing paper form limitations.

So how can mobile forms for retail be set up to gather information otherwise extremely inconvenient or virtually impossible on paper forms? Here are some examples:

Pictures: Pictures are the most tangible advantage of mobile forms for retail. Text and checkboxes can only convey so much information and, in an industry where marketing is so dependent on visuals, pictures can show a wealth of information, from out of stocks to breach of distribution agreements, as well as non-compliance with corporate visual standards.

Extensive checks: Paper forms can severely limit the amount of information captured at a store. On a stock check, for instance, if the rep is only assigned to be at the store for one hour, it becomes very difficult to cover many product lines without making any mistakes or mixing up products. Mobile forms for retail can be set up to display only the products available at each store and many apps provide bar code scanning capabilities, reducing the probability of mistakes during extensive missions.

Ad-hoc situations: When reps audit a store, many times they find meaningful situations not covered by the questions on their forms that end up never being reported. A retail audit app can provide ad-hoc forms in addition to the main mission so it becomes easy for reps to report issues such as broken or damaged merchandise or displays, non-compliances, out of stocks, etc.

Would you like to take your retail audits to the next level? VisitBasis provides a cost-effective and efficient retail audit system, making it easy to customize mobile forms for retail. Schedule an online demo or sign up for a free trial at www.visitbasis.com.




Monday, August 10, 2020

4 Must-Haves of an Effective Field Sales Management App

One of the main concerns of field sales managers is the little oversight they have of their reps' activities throughout the workday.

For this reason, many businesses have been adopting field sales management apps as a way to increase rep accountability as well as mentoring tools. By knowing what is going on in the field, managers can identify areas of opportunity and properly coach their teams.

However, as the market offers several solutions, the options and tools might be confusing. As with any software, there are some features that are mandatory while others that are not so important. In this post, we highlight which capabilities of a field sales management app managers should look for when deciding on a solution to implement.

The must-have features of an effective field sales management app include:

  • Visit scheduling and planning from both sides: If the software is to be an effective solution for managing and mentoring field reps, it must allow the scheduling and planning of visits both from the manager’s and rep’s side.
  • GPS tracking and route optimization: For managers to be sure that reps properly carried out the scheduled sales calls these must be verified via GPS. Route optimization allows reps to save time and fuel by calculating the shortest route for their day.
  • Real-time access to field data: The true benefits of a field sales management app can only be achieved with faster decision-making and real-time access to field data allows issues such as out-of-stocks or urgent orders 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 – an effective field sales management app must be able to exchange data in various formats, from exporting spreadsheets to allowing BigQuery access.

VisitBasis field sales management app offers all of the above features and more. See how it works for your company: Sign up today for a free trial, no credit card required!


Thursday, August 6, 2020

Merchandising Software is More Important than Ever for In-Store Execution

Brick-and-mortar-only businesses have greatly been affected by social distancing measures put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While many have adjusted and implemented online and mobile order interfaces, fluctuating demand allied to irregular shipment patterns means that there is an increased risk for out-of-stocks to derail sales forecasts.

It is important, therefore, to step up in-store execution and increase shelf monitoring, as well as have expedited access to data in order to fast-track decision-making.

Merchandising software is the best solution for handling large amounts of data coming from many different stores. With merchandising software, brand and category managers can customize their retail execution activities to comply with their strategies and requirements while reps and retail auditors perform in-store tasks and answer checklists on their own mobile devices.

By adopting a merchandising software solution, brand and category managers can implement strategies that include: 

  • Shelf monitoring, so no sales forecast is derailed due to out-of-stocks.
  • Launching promotions with in-store tasks configured to assist on sets and resets, display setup, and signage placement.
  • Checking for KPIs that include competition and seasonality.
  • Monitoring of promotional and brand compliance in order to verify successful strategy implementation.
  • Tracking brand/product/promotional coverage at the stores in order to make sure that they are appropriately distributed and clearly visible.

VisitBasis is a comprehensive merchandising software that allows managers to create the in-store tasks and checklists necessary to effectively implement their retail execution strategies. See what VisitBasis can do for your business: Sign up for a free trial or schedule an online demo.


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Mobile Merchandising Software is Key to Consolidating Retail Data

Consolidating retail data coming from store audits used to be a time- and labor-intensive process: Many merchandisers auditing several stores generate a considerable amount of paperwork, and transcribing this information into quantifiable data can overwhelm analytics personnel as well as leave a lot of space for human error.

Mobile merchandising software turns the rep's smartphones and tablets into data-collecting devices just by installing an app while also allowing office-based supervisors and managers to customize the forms and checklists the reps will be answering. Moreover, all data collected is automatically stored in the cloud and quantified, leading to up-to-the-minute reports. 

This is why mobile merchandising software is the key to consolidating data.

However, beyond being a game-changing technology when it comes to data collection and consolidation, mobile merchandising software also has many other features, such as:

Real-time map view of field rep activity
GPS tracking of field reps and retail auditors, enabling the monitoring of in-store activities by marketing and merchandising managers and the verification of user location at the time of each activity.

A complete platform for managing retail audits
Including full form customization with photos and signatures and visit scheduling, planning, and routing.

Management of store distribution lists 
Allowing for customized forms according to the products available at each store.

Spreadsheet and analytics reports
Customizable reporting on activities, locations, and users.

VisitBasis is a complete mobile merchandising software solution that allows businesses of all sizes to quickly and easily implement a cost-efficient in-store data collection system with no need for technical knowledge.

Learn more about how VisitBasis can work for you: Schedule an online demo or sign up for a free trial.



Friday, July 3, 2020

3 Reasons for Implementing Cloud-Based Field Force Merchandising Software

Retail-focused companies, such as CPG manufacturers and sales and marketing agencies, face a real dilemma on whether to implement field force merchandising software. While there are some clear material benefits brought by the technology - such as the virtual elimination of paper forms - the costs can escalate for larger teams.

Cloud-based field force merchandising software, however, brings in other reasons beyond the straightforward material and monetary aspects of why it should be implemented. Here are some of them:

GPS verification of visits
One of the most serious challenges field force supervisors face is fraudulent visits. Not only because of staff non-compliance issues but also because it will likely skew merchandising audit results, possibly leading to flopped strategies. Field force merchandising software, through GPS verification of visits, will, therefore, increase rep compliance as well as audit accuracy.

Agility in correcting or refocusing strategies
Issues with traditional pen-and-paper retail audits include the lag time between data capture at the store and running reports at the office, as well as the time it takes to correct and deploy new forms. This means that many issues get overlooked and whatever strategy is implemented has to be carried out for a while, even if it needs adjustments. Field force merchandising software allows not only for faster detection of issues with up-to-the-minute reporting but also for tweaking forms as a project or campaign progresses.

Reduced out-of-stocks and other in-store issues
Finally, field force merchandising software makes it easier to have more frequent store visits and, with them, better supervision of brands and categories at stores.

VisitBasis is a field force merchandising software that transforms the rep's mobile devices into retail data capture tools. Would you like to see how your business can benefit from implementing VisitBasis? Sign up today for a free trial at www.visitbasis.com.


Friday, June 5, 2020

3 Things You Need to Know About Image Recognition for Retail

Artificial intelligence has been getting a lot of attention these days but, for many industries, it is not yet clear what its practical applications are or what the benefits will be.

Image recognition for retail is one of the more straightforward commercial applications of artificial intelligence. However, it seems to be out of reach for most businesses since, while CPG conglomerates and large retailer chains dominate the market, many retail-focused businesses are smaller local distributors, independent shops or manufacturers, and other partners such as sales and marketing agencies.

This is what these smaller businesses need to know about image recognition for retail:

It is within their reach
Retail audits through mobile merchandising software are already a reality for smaller retail-focused businesses. Some state-of-the-art merchandising software solutions are already offering image recognition technology.

It is cost-effective
One might think that such a high-end technology would be prohibitive in terms of cost for smaller businesses. However, image recognition for retail - as part of a mobile merchandising solution - is very cost-effective since adopting it might lead to time and personnel savings in addition to increased sales as a result of improved monitoring and reporting.

It is easy to implement
Cloud-based technology means there is no need for small businesses to have high-tech installations or personnel when it comes to mobile merchandising software. In order to implement image recognition for retail, businesses only need to provide some pictures to their software provider so its neural network can be trained in recognizing products and brands. This process normally takes a few weeks.

BrandML means image recognition for retail from VisitBasis, the developers of the mobile merchandising software chosen by many CPG companies, store chains, agencies, and other retail-focused businesses. Learn more about BrandML and VisitBasis at www.visitbasis.com.