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Showing posts from June, 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 answe

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 automa

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 col

Overcoming the Challenges of Existing Retail Audit Systems

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, che

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 all

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 lit

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 ma

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 fo

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 pe