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.



Monday, June 1, 2020

Retail Audit Software Can Help Prevent Shortages During Social Distancing

Social distancing measures have generated disruptions in retail inventory and replenishment so it has become increasingly difficult for CPG merchandising and category managers to know whether their products are being properly stocked.

On top of that, store personnel is overwhelmed and under stress, so empty shelves tend to go unnoticed for longer periods of time.

Retail audit software can make a significant difference in reducing out-of-stocks at stores: By implementing a retail audit software solution, managers at CPG companies can schedule frequent recurring store visits and keep a close eye on stock levels. This would be unthinkable with traditional pen-and-paper audits since the volume of data to be transcribed would create a time lag between data collection and reporting that potentially delays any effective action.

Another advantage of implementing retail audit software during social distancing times is that one rep or merchandiser can cover a larger number of stores. After all, retail audit software reduces the duration of visits as it runs as an app on mobile devices and offers productivity features such as filtering and searching through the sometimes hundreds of SKUs when answering questionnaires.

In addition to that, mobile location services allow not only for route optimization but also for GPS verification of visits, assuring management that the audits were performed at the correct store.

Would you like to learn more about VisitBasis retail audit software and how it can benefit your business? Go to www.visitbasis.com and sign up for a free trial and then schedule an online demo at http://meetme.so/visitbasis.


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.