Out-of-stocks are a major problem for any retail business. When a customer comes in looking for a product and it is not in stock, the sale is already lost and, in the process, the customer might convert to another brand or store. But how to shorten the time between an out-of-stock and replenishment or, better yet, how to prevent out-of-stocks to happen in the first place?
Performing regular retail audits are a necessity for any business with a retail footprint, from CPG manufacturers monitoring brand compliance to convenience stores verifying safety checklists. However, due to delayed reporting, red flags in retail audits can sometimes take a long time to reach the appropriate decision-maker and will easily snowball.
A platform for merchandising 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.
Mobile technology brought with it the ability to capture data with smartphones and tablets as well as GPS tracking of such devices. It was just a matter of time until retail audit platforms with field force tracking and data collection features started to be developed. But what are the biggest advantages of these types of software?
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.
Traditional pen-and-paper store audits do not comply with the agility necessary for such situations, since it might take quite a while for the information to go from the rep performing the audit to the person responsible for correcting the issue. An in store merchandising software is an ideal way to monitor mission-critical situations at stores.