Thursday, June 30, 2016

What to Look for in a Mobile Retail Audit Solution

Recurring retail audits - or follow-ups, as they are also called in the industry - are the backbone of CPG (consumer product goods) field marketing. Field reps perform regular visits to stores to verify whether their assigned products are in-stock, are being displayed according to the category planogram, or are appropriately priced, for instance.

Mobile retail audits have revolutionized the industry. Before, field reps had to use the traditional clipboard and carry mounds of paper around, then transcribe the information onto a computer. With mobile retail audits, reps can perform their assigned tasks on their smartphones and tablets, saving a tremendous amount of time and paper.

However, to fully fulfill the needs of field marketing teams, mobile retail audit solution must be able to:
  • Provide planning and scheduling capabilities that allow for change of plans, such as a rep covering another's territory during vacations, for instance.
  • Capture not only alphanumeric answers but also photos and signatures in customizable forms.
  • Work online and offline, so reps can perform the mobile retail audits even if there is no cell phone coverage or WiFi.
  • Track the location where field reps performed their assigned tasks to prevent fraudulent check-ins.
  • Notify management and other stakeholders of mission-critical tasks or visits, such as when an out-of-stock has been detected or a key location has been visited.
  • Provide an instant analytics tool that allows for unlimited periodic reporting on mobile retail audits.
  • Work seamlessly across Apple and Android mobile devices so field reps can use their existing equipment. 
VisitBasis is a complete mobile retail audit solution that provides all of the above benefits, among many others. See today how VisitBasis can help your organization implement mobile retail audits: Sign up for a free trial or schedule an online demo.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Special Merchandising of Specialty Stores

Specialty stores and gourmet retailers pose unique challenges when it comes to merchandising. Shoppers know they are paying a premium when shopping at these locations, so they expect higher product presentation standards.

A mobile visual merchandising software can be instrumental when sending out field reps to specialty stores. A state-of-the-art mobile visual merchandising software provides field marketing teams not only the ability to perform in-store activities that include pictures, but also the following:

  • Features in mobile visual merchandising software allow field reps to refer to the custom planogram for each store location without having to sort through mounds of paper, increasing planogram compliance. A recent study from National Association of Retail Marketing Services (NARMS) found that retailers who achieve planogram compliance can realize a 7.8% increase in annual sales.
  • Some mobile visual merchandising software on the market also provide integration with automatic notification tools. These tools allow automatic messages to be sent to stakeholders when a certain task is completed or when a specific location is visited, which means that mission-critical issues such as out-of-stocks or can be dealt with much faster.
  • Because of automated data analysis, mobile visual merchandising software also allows for periodic reporting. This makes it much easier to detect issues such as consistent irregular product condition at a specific key location, so operations can deal with it accordingly.

VisitBasis was designed by merchandisers, for merchandisers. It is a complete mobile visual merchandising software solution that allows you to quickly and easily implement a cost-efficient point-of-sale data collection system with no need for technical knowledge.

Schedule today a VisitBasis Merchandising software demo, or sign up for a free trial!

Watch the below video how VisitBasis Mobile Visual Merchandising Software integrates with a chat solution that allows for instant notification of issues such as out-of-stocks, price discrepancies, and irregular product condition:

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mobile Data Collection in Retail and Its Surprising Real-Time Benefit

Mobile data collection apps have revolutionized the way retailers, CPG manufacturers, and sales and marketing companies perform merchandising and other activities at the point-of-sale.

Not that long ago, in order to perform and report in-store activities, field reps relied on the almost-anecdotal process comprised of paper and digital camera and then had to transcribe everything onto computers, sometimes long after completing the actual activity.

With a mobile data collection app, field reps can capture and synchronize answers, pictures and signatures on the spot, translating into more accurate information reaching management, faster.

Surprisingly, the real-time characteristic of mobile data collection apps has led to one additional benefit: Because the focus is no longer in the data collection itself, since it becomes second-nature on a mobile device, field reps can now shift their attention to customers and store managers.

This focus-shifting by-product of mobile data collection apps translates into better relationships with target audiences and decision-makers, with more meaningful information-gathering and, therefore, potentially increased sales and market share.

VisitBasis Mobile Data Collection App allows creating custom task templates for every in-store activity, from planogram checks to customer surveys, and helps you streamline your data collection so your field reps can increase their customer-facing time and be more productive. VisitBasis Mobile Data Collection App is available for both Android and Apple mobile devices, so field reps can keep their own devices and shorten the learning curve.

Sign-up today for a free trial of VisitBasis Mobile Data Collection App!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Overcoming the Challenges of Existing Retail Audit Systems

VisitBasis Retail Audit App
In order to provide documented verification of adherence to corporate standards - safety, branding, etc - retailers rely heavily on periodic audits that normally include tools such as checklists, compliance surveys and multi-level standard tasks.

Most systems developed to perform these audit are "homemade", meaning that they are a combination of paper forms and somewhat-automated applications developed in popular spreadsheet or word processing software. In addition to being cumbersome and wasteful, these existing systems can cause the loss of critical information and/or significant time between the detection of an issue and its resolution.

Retail audit apps are the ideal solution to this scenario. By implementing a retail audit app, retailers can use smartphones and tablets to automate the periodic audits required to comply with corporate standards.

A retail audit app will not only automate the data collection by allowing custom forms, checklists, surveys, and tasks, but also makes it possible for managers and supervisors go get real-time access to data, significantly speeding-up critical decision-making. State-of-the-art retail audit apps will even provide time and GPS verification, authenticating the time and place where the audit was performed.

VisitBasis Retail Audit App provides all the tools necessary to setup and execute retail audits, from custom checklists, questionnaires, and multi-level tasks - that can include pictures and signatures - to real-time access to audit data and authentication.

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

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Implementing Sustainable Merchandising

In the factory-to-customer cycle, merchandising is one of the most wasteful processes. From the fuel consumed by field reps to the amount of paper used in traditional audits and surveys, on top of promotional and seasonal displays, it is easy to see why merchandising is considered “eco-unfriendly”.

A field merchandising app can make a world of difference when it comes to sustainability. By adopting a field merchandising app, CPG and FMCG businesses can expect the following:
  • Virtually eliminate the use of paper in in-store activities such as planogram checks, audits, surveys, and orders, among others. A state-of-the-art field merchandising app will also allow for instant access to the data collected, slashing the time and cost spent on data entry.
  • Considerable savings in rep travel time and fuel thanks to the route optimization functions of field merchandising apps that automatically calculate the shortest store rounds.
  • A cross-platform field merchandising app will allow reps to use the mobile devices they already own, eliminating the need to purchase new equipment.
As you can see, in an economy that demands sometimes significant cost cuts in order to achieve lean business operations, a field merchandising app can be invaluable not only when it comes to budget savings but also in reducing the environmental impact of merchandising activities.

VisitBasis Field Merchandising App is a complete mobile data collection solution designed to build, schedule and monitor field team activities in real time. It provides tools for all types of field merchandising activities, including planogram checks, audits, inspections, surveys, POS asset management, training, sampling and product demonstrations, among others.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Removing Sales Rep Objection to New Mobile Technologies

People in general are resistant to change. When implementing new business technologies, the field sales department tends to be the last one to cave in to the pressure of senior management, IT, or even HR, to change existing processes.

The most important reason for that is that no one wants to disrupt sales cycles (and risk jeopardizing revenues) even if it means that there will be a significant process improvement, despite the transition period.

After all, why should a sales rep go through the trouble of adjusting to a new process if it only means more bureaucracy and less customer-facing time? In order to remove manager and rep objection while implementing a field sales management app, it is critical to choose a solution that offers features that make a difference, such as the following:

  • Tangible improvements - Some field sales management apps offer advanced tools such as route optimization - where a rep can calculate the shortest route for the day, easy access to sales literature, among others.
  • More selling, less office work - A state-of-the-art field sales management app means full sales process automation, meaning that the rep should be able to virtually eliminate the extra time needed to fill out reports, provide customer summaries, etc. 
  • Cross-platform interface - This means that the rep will be able to work on his/her own mobile device, whether he/she prefers Apple or Android, smartphone or tablet. The field sales management app should work seamlessly across all of them, also reducing training time.
VisitBasis Field Sales Management App provides sales reps with all the information and tools they need to sell and managers with the opportunity to improve mentoring through monitoring of sales rep activity and sales team performance analysis. Watch the below video on some of VisitBasis most recent features:

Register today to get free access to VisitBasis Field Sales Management App at VisitBasis Mobile App for Field Sales Reps is available for free download on Google Play and App Store.

The Role of Field Marketing in Selling to Millennials

Retailers are facing many challenges these days. Added to the conservative consumer purchase behaviors of the past few years, millennials are bringing disruptive trends to retail, including a move towards online shopping.

Therefore it is more important than ever for field marketing to promote and ensure brand and category consistency across retailers, as well as target surveys and promotions accordingly.

Implementing a field marketing app can mean the difference between make and break when it comes to retail sales: By automating field marketing teams, enabling reps to collect store visit information on their mobile devices, management has real-time access to what is going on in the field, leading to increased consistency and faster decision-making.

A field marketing app for retail execution will also eliminate errors due to paperwork and data transcription, and can even increase the number of daily store visits with tools such as route optimization.

State-of-the-art field marketing apps are fast to deploy and easy to use. Field marketing apps allow companies to plan, monitor, control and analyze field marketing events in a new, innovative way, making store visits more effective, eventually coming closer to the millennial way of thinking. 

VisitBasis is a complete field marketing app that offers unique features for CPG and FMCG companies, merchandising agencies, and sales and marketing organizations alike. 

Want to see a field marketing app in action? Watch the below video and schedule a live demo today!

Learn more about VisitBasis Field Marketing App and sign up for a free trial.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Why Empowering Merchandising Teams is the Best Way to Improve Planogram Compliance

Maintaining planogram compliance is an ongoing challenge that most, if not all, retail professionals such as merchandising, brand, and category managers face on an everyday basis.

In order to maximize product and category profitability, it is mandatory to have a sustainable planogram compliance process in place since the investment made in launching a product can completely be undone by poor sales at the retail channel.

When it comes to dealing with planograms, it is key to enable better communication between all the retail channel stockholders - from the merchandising/category professional who develops the planogram, to the retailer and the field rep who will be verifying the POG at the point-of-sale.

A retail planogram software for compliance checks is an essential component of this equation. It enables office-based professionals, such as category and merchandising managers, to communicate clearly with field reps their views for optimal planograms. Furthermore, it allows for an almost immediate response in case of non-compliance.

Companies looking into implementing a retail planogram software for compliance checks should look for the following software characteristics:

  • The ability for the field rep who is performing the planogram compliance check to refer to the original schematics, such as task- (in case of seasonal items) or location-specific attachments.
  • Real-time monitoring of field activities and automatic notification of mission-critical retail situations, such as out-of-stocks.
  • GPS-stamped data collection in order to avoid fraudulent check-ins.
  • Easy-to-use, cross-platform so field reps will be comfortable using the app and increase audit accuracy.

VisitBasis provides CPG and FMCG manufacturers, retailers, and sales and marketing companies a state-of-the-art retail planogram software for compliance checks with all the key elements necessary for an effective empowerment of merchandising teams.

Let us show you how VisitBasis can help your merchandising team: Schedule a demo today!

What Effective Field Force Managers Are Doing - and It's Not Out of Your Reach

Many small and medium-sized businesses are resistant to technology. With an if-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it approach to daily processes, and a natural "fear" of the unknown, they end up missing out on efficiency and profit-increasing opportunities brought by automation technology.

If your business still relies on spreadsheets and paper-based workflows to manage field teams, chances are you haven't adopted any field force automation solution.

Field force automation solutions allow field personnel to perform tasks at the customer location on smartphones and tablets - while making it possible for management to monitor field activity from the office - and have been disruptive to the way companies with field teams do business, since they bring numerous benefits and are becoming increasingly affordable to implement.

A state-of-the-art field force automation solution should provide your company the following:

  • A free, cross-platform mobile app for your field personnel to install on their existing Apple or Android smartphones or tablets. 
  • Scheduling and planning of field visits, and calculating the fastest route for each day.
  • Customizable forms with different types of answers (text, photo, number, multiple choice, electronic signature), so you can tailor the field tasks to your company needs. 
  • Visual tracking and monitoring of field activities, with time-stamped and GPS-confirmed data, providing real-time data workflow and automatic synchronization with the office.
  • Offline data collection, so your field team members will be able to work even without an Internet connection.
  • Instant notification of specific events, such as visiting a certain location or performing a certain task.
VisitBasis is a comprehensive field force automation solution for businesses of all sizes.  VisitBasis allows creating task templates for everything that needs to be checked at the customer locations, providing a budget-friendly and easy-to-use system that helps you take full control of your field force activities.

Ready to try the benefits of field force automation? Sign up today at for a free trial, or book a free online demo to see how it works.