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09/01/2022
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Image Recognition – Next Gen Technology CPG Leaders Cannot Ignore

How Infilect’s real-time visual retail analytics is driving profitable retail execution for CPG Brands
Anand Prabhu Subramanian
Co-founder & CEO, Infilect Inc
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The global CPG ecosystem has reached a fork in the road; be data-driven or be insights-driven. While business intelligence and traditional data acquisition tools provide data at hand, CPG leaders struggle to derive actions from data that help improve in-store retail execution and boost store profitability.

Today, the need for speed amongst CPG leaders has grown. Seeking instant & reliable answers to important business questions have taken precedence:

  • How can they better display and position their products on the shelf for maximum shopper attention?
  • How to prevent out of stock and over stock situations to optimize assortment planning and store-level distribution?
  • How to empower on-field agents to better utilize their time at the store?
  • And ultimately, how to ensure maximum brand visibility and brand share in every store?

The first step in truly transforming retail execution is to identify factors that inhibit the success of a retail execution strategy.

Image Recognition for Real-Time Visual Retail Analytics

CPG brands struggle to understand in real-time how their retail execution unfolds in every outlet. With a lack of access to real-time shelf intelligence and execution insights at scale, significant delays in fixing compliance issues, incorrect product placement and out-of-stock situations result in missed sales opportunities. Subsequently, turning into a nightmare for category management leaders to  ensure high product availability on store shelves across all stores at all times.

Considering how the new age consumers are quick to switch brands depending on the availability of products on the retail shelves, now is the time for CPG brands to ambitiously reimagine the future of retail sales with next generation technology stack. According to a Deloitte study, worldwide CPG brands today have increased their technology adoption budget by 10%!  This can be transformative and 100% supplement retail store audits, in-store execution and empower their on-field merchandisers and salesmen. 

CPG sales leaders and retailers need to understand the problem at sight in real-time and not be disconnected and work in silos to resolve retail execution issues. Rather than wait until hours, days, even weeks to gather a holistic visibility on their retail execution performance, digitization of store audits will enable leaders with accurate, real-time and actionable execution insights. This will help to conduct evaluations and make immediate changes, including restocking shelves and fixing displays.

Retail store audits are mission-critical in retail execution process, including the store-level distribution, placement, and display of their products. With Image Recognition, on-field representatives can simply capture a few pictures of the shelf  using their mobile camera and derive critical shelf insights and action plans in an instant which enables them to fix planogram & compliance issues instantly. 

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Field reps or salesmen must go back to doing what they do best; spend time with their store managers to promote the brand, build sales, and gather intelligence on shopping habits and consumer trends. Image Recognition and AI tools will help empower them to help elevate in-store performance.

Retail Execution Data is Good. But AI Powered Action Plans are Better!

The best way to optimize in-store retail execution is to not just gain instant visibility into on-shelf conditions but to have effective methods to fix inefficiencies before it is too late. Image Recognition is powering many worldwide CPG manufacturers to understand execution & compliance issues, analyse trends and pinpoint untapped sales opportunities in existing stores across categories instantly.

How to get better in terms of understanding the problem, the existing root cause is one facet of the problem. But looking into the future, if Image Recognition and AI needs to be widely adopted and scaled, it should also answer the questions “How to fix issues in time?” and “What must one do to fix issues in time?”.

While data has the power to provide actionable insights to leaders to elevate store performance, Image Recognition technology and AI can also provide intelligent recommendations to immediately take actions which result in improved on-shelf brand visibility and execution compliance.

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AI-powered intelligence should enable CPG companies and retailer partners to do the following seamlessly.

  • Take immediate and targeted actions to fix measured shelf metrics as against targeted shelf metrics and improve ‘on-shelf availability’
  • Ensure 100% compliance to store-level promotions, pricing and planogram compliance in every store
  • Personalize & determine pay-outs, sales offer and discounts to each retailer based on competitive insights
  • Optimize assortment-mix in each product category in order to respond quickly to changing demands and shopping habits
  • Enhance on-field agents productivity with execution insights and action plans delivered in real-time

Working in retail will look very different in the coming decade. Technology adoption won’t just enhance store-level operations or business processes, but will empower every level of your enterprise retail to contribute towards identifying new revenue opportunities and optimizing revenue & margins from existing stores.