Productivity and Self-Auditing in Merchandising

Managing a growing business requires integrating innovative solutions to meet constantly evolving needs. Choosing to implement an integrated retail system, a system designed to manage all aspects of your business and take accurate steps that align with your growth, is one of those innovative solutions. Integrated retail is the combination of diverse systems (scheduling, communications, workforce management, logistics), corporate departments (finance, store, sales, HR, distribution, marketing), and technology (web, mobile, desktop, email, SMS). 

When it comes to auditing; due to limited budgets, third-party audits can only be done on a specific time and at a specific location, one at a time. This requires additional visits, which are an additional cost element for companies. As well as costing more, third-party audits work on only a small representative operation and the discrepancy between each audit sometimes leads to unfair results. This is where Image Recognition (IR) technology comes into play as a game-changer.

IR enables self-audits through photo-capture and automated image-based product recognition, across a large set of company-specific merchandising metrics. Through self-auditing via IR technology, merchandisers can audit themselves fairly for the time they spend in the store (as opposed to 3rd party audits, which evaluate the work later down the line). Also, IR self-auditing allows for a much larger sample to be evaluated.

With Vispera's team performance tracking solution, CPG brands and retailers can boost productivity for field and merch teams through instant mobile reports received right on spot and guide them on corrective actions. They can also evaluate the field team with objective performance metrics for informed decisions and enable self-auditing to increase team motivation, thus achieve perfect stores with increased sales.

How to Boost the Merchandisers in Retail

Effective merchandising in retail can be a tool that brings your customers closer to the decision of making a purchase, attracts new customers, and increases new store productivity. Your role as a merchandiser in retail is to ensure that products appear in the right store or website, at the right time and in the right quantities. For this purpose, it is necessary to work closely with purchasing teams in order to accurately predict trends, plan inventory and monitor performance. Merch teams in retail manage:

  • Store locations, shelf/product positioning, visibility
  • Quantity of products in stock,
  • The budget for these operations.

By creating a roadmap to identify and fix any problems such as delays in distribution, disruptions that can cause an increase in costs, factors that can lead to low sale rates and activities that could be time wasting, a merchandiser achieve maximum efficiency in the team and significantly increase sales rates.

Every customer is unique, so are their needs. To be successful in the retail industry, you need to tune in to the customer experience. There isn't one solution that covers everything, using a multidimensional strategy for your business on the other hand, might be the key to success. By using IR:

  • You can boost productivity by identifying availability and compliance issues instantly.
  • Merchandisers can spend less time on detecting issues, leaving more time to focus on fixing problems.

How Do Retail Stores Increase Produtictivity?

First impressions are very important for encouraging a purchase. Store planning and shelf positioning are critical when it comes to introducing your newly launched products or displaying more expensive selections. If planned carefully, all sections in a store can catch the attention of targeted customers and lead them to make a purchase. For example, you can improve the shopping experience by positioning matching products (such as gloves and scarfs or flowers and vases) in the same area. This way, customers will be made aware of related products that they can buy right then and there.

Retailers can achieve a healthier operation by using their own dedicated merch teams and auditors, who are much more familiar with the products and the store. To boost these teams’ efficiency and reduce their workload, you can take advantage of AI technologies that feature fixed cameras, always monitoring the shelves. An AI solution such as this will send real-time notifications to store personnel, allowing them to restock without losing any time.

Holidays can also be an opportunity for increasing sales, as people tend to purchase more on special days. You can offer discounts on special days such as Black Friday, Mothers’ Day, or New Year’s to attract more people to your store. Or you can set a specific date for special discounts in your stores (like every week on Sunday). However, in order to keep up with the high demand that holidays and sale days bring, you need to properly prepare by correctly forecasting the demand and planning logistics. By integrating effective stock management strategies, you can avoid an unwanted out-of-stock situation.

How Can Retail Sales Improve Performance?

  • Create your customer profile correctly. Know your customer's needs and make sure that your product variety is appealing to them. Ensure continuous availability to gain loyal customers who know where to go to when they need a certain product.
  • Understand and ensure compatibility of your pricing to remain competitive and grow margin. Track and view the entire price-related data in near real-time.
  • Integrate your store with e-commerce technologies. You can organize online sale campaigns, let your customers know about special discounts via SMS or email. 
  • The layout of your store is key when it comes to encouraging sales. Always keep your store clean, and direct resources to route planning and product visibility.
  • Shorten checkout lines or implement self-checkout options. Set up smart checkout stations where customers can complete the process themselves; this way, you can cut costs on personnel as well.
  • Product/brand block definitions in terms of sub-category blocks and client products can be introduced to the system within the scope of planogram compatibility with visual tasks and pre-set rule sets.
  • Be accessible on internet. Make sure your customers can easily find you online by using the correct keywords in your content. Provide details like your address, phone number, working hours and customer reviews on your online profiles.