Image Recognition

Syndicated Retail Audits - The Uber for on-shelf monitoring and retail execution optimization

The global FMCG industry is a complex ecosystem with many moving parts working together to ensure the products or consumable goods reach their rightful destination - on the retail shelves and in front of the consumers. With the USA’s CPG market projected to be over $2060 B in the year 2022, the time has come to see massive disruption in this giant ecosystem. 

Taking what enables successful store sales, and optimizing retail store execution, at scale, becomes an important avenue for technology influence. We are all familiar with dreaded stories highlighting complex reporting requirements and data gathering that needs to be more refined to aid retail operations, sales, and marketing processes. One such process is the retail store auditing needs, a much-needed upheaval using technology. With stores running in tens and thousands across channels in different regions, gathering crucial KPIs and retail execution data has often been arduous & painful, and as soon as the results have been found the information is out of date again.

Syndicated Retail Audits - Image Recognition based retail auditing solution

Real-time data is a necessity in today's business, especially to stay ahead in a fiercely competitive market where the battle for the highest sales is on. One such powerful tool that has emerged as a game-changer for CPGs is syndicated retail audits using Image Recognition and AI technology. 

Syndicated retail audits involve AI-powered store audits orchestrated by merchandising or field force partners who cover a sizable store across a region regularly. This is done via simple mobile capture

Imagine having to gather in-depth data from over 5000+ stores spanning from east to west of the North American continent. This is not an easy task to be left to market research firms that employ manual methods of gathering data via field reps. This is where Syndicated store audits are accurate, affordable, and cost-effective solutions to gather retail execution data from a  wide variety of stores across channels and regions. 

A syndicated retail audit solution comprises 4 levers: 

  1. In-store photo capture using a dedicated merchandiser or field force partner across various regions across the USA, covering over 2000+ stores. The dedicated field force partners visit these stores over 4 or more times a month, gathering or capturing in-store images using image Recognition based mobile applications. The images are easy to capture and are auto-uploaded onto the AI Cloud. 
  2. Image Recognition AI algorithms process all these images and decode every SKU, every brand, every promotional asset, and every price. This is a quick process that takes less than a day to process the images. 
  3. Retail execution analytics is derived from the data points gathered by the processing of the images and converted to smart analytics for the end user. 
  4. Analytics Dashboard is subscription-based access that delivers critical on-shelf KPIs and execution metrics the very next day. Metrics such as On-shelf SKU Availability, Share of Shelf, Compliance tracking of pricing, promotions, and implemented planograms along with competitive intelligence are tracked which becomes a key in decision-making amongst sales, marketing, and category management teams. 

This solution addresses a very important value proposition that CPG brands ponder when investing in new technologies. We address that in detail below: 

  1. High accuracy of data - Image Recognition and AI solutions built for optimizing retail execution, deliver over 95%+ accuracy in data mapped in comparison to manual audit solutions which have an error rate of over 25%. 
  2. Frequency of analytics - Syndicated audits provide a dedicated field force who comply to gather data from a select group of stores so that leaders or end users can have instant access to on-shelf data dn execution metrics more frequently and correct errors and discrepancies in compliances without wasting a lot of time. 
  3. Cost-effectiveness - Easy subscription-based pricing to access key on-shelf metrics and retail analytics 
  4. The scale of operation - Hassle-free increased coverage of stores four times a month 
  5. Non-exclusive perpetual license to use images and insights that enables one to gain visual proof of the in-store execution and competitive intelligence 

The impact on CPG sales 

With instant access to on-shelf KPIs and execution metrics, sales leaders, marketing and category managers can make data naked decisions that have a huge impact on improving store sales and driving efficient retail execution at scale. 

With automated and digitized store audits, CPG brands can cut their store audit time by at least 70% which means better field force performance and an increase in scale of stores covered. Out-of-stock or over-stocking situations can be identified well before time and corrective measures taken on the spot enable sales leaders to reduce out-of-stock days by upto 30% even in peak shopping seasons. This in turn also improves Brand-level Share of Shelf. 

Tracking and monitoring of store-level compliances like promotional assets & displays, pricing and planograms become easy. This ensures high compliance adherence and improved store sales by at least 4%. 

The holy grail of efficient retail execution 

Syndicated retail audits hold a huge potential to disrupt and simplify an otherwise complex process of retail execution implementation in a cost effective manner. While many Image Recognition solutions exist in the market which either use on-shelf fixed cameras or piggy back on the existing field force of each brand, which can prove to be very expensive in terms of investing in digitalization of retail audits. Syndicated retail audits offer much respite and offer a truly software as a service model that involves signing up for an analytics dashboard while Infilect does all the heavy lifting in terms of orchestrating regular store audits covering a large number of stores, across any product category and across any region. The analytics available by day +1 empower sales and marketing teams of global CPG brands to tap into unseen selling opportunities inside their stores and improve per-store sales without wasting much time which gives you an unfair advantage in the market as against your competitors. 

Syndicated retail audit solutions are gaining popularity and will impact the industry in a radical way. There has never been a better time for ‘uberization’ of retail store audits, and the time is now.