Overall, they saw that through their technology and training, they had a multi-faceted field team who could be the eyes and ears of corporate on the ground to capitalize on market share opportunities; field teams were able to help clients gain market share through real-time feedback on OOS, competitive insights, and opportunities at the shelf.
Visit frequency and coverage modeling: What stores are you not visiting? Do you know why? What’s the trend? The best teams will know this and track it closely. Static routes are history. Look at all of your territories each week and make adjustments based on new information.
In-store actions: How quickly can you assess what’s happening in stores, and then deploy a new program to address it? Months? Weeks? Days? If your team is in-store, how quickly can they perform their tasks and move on? Retailers don’t want people in their stores for long periods, if possible. Can you scan barcodes of shelf-tags? Can you take photos rapidly? If you’re a regional sales manager with a team of 20+ reps working for you, how fast can you scan a feed of imagery coming back from your key accounts and communicate actions? Instantly?
Another Repsly client and large juice company in Canada, quickly pivoted and rolled out multi-packs based on real-time in store buying feedback from its reps and feedback on what was a clear opportunity. They changed their product roadmap and put this multi-pack into play, which led them to drive overall revenue gains as a result. They were so successful, that another Canadian health food brand asked the juice company to handle its merchandising as well.
CGT: What’s the biggest trend you expect in REX tech for 2021?
Billante: Years ago, using near-real time business intelligence-style analytics to track your in-store execution alongside point-of-sale (POS) transactional data for sell through was seen as an advanced approach for teams looking to optimize or gain competitive advantage. Those teams were able to adjust plans on the fly to better service their markets.
In 2021, that trend is becoming mainstream for some products to survive and thrive. Each visit is going to become more critical, so understanding how to communicate with your field teams, what they need to do, must be based on the best information you have at the time – including not only what you’re observing on the shelf, but the stream of POS data you can access from your customers to spot trends or problems in advance. What makes this possible is that brands or merchandisers, of any size, can now get access to both sales and in-store execution data to make better decisions.