Managing your in-store retail presence can get a whole lot easier when you have the right tools at your disposal. The biggest brands can send in hundreds if not thousands of field team employees into physical locations. The rest of us? We have to look for other opportunities to improve retail execution and sell better.
Thankfully, there are plenty of retail execution software options on the market today. Wiser Solutions is one of them. What should you be looking for in your next vendor before you upgrade your tech stack? Here’s our list of what you need in your next retail execution tool.
The Platform Works For Your Business
Not every retail execution platform is the same. Some have features that work better for a certain type of business, while others might focus on one aspect of the execution sphere, such as merchandising, inventory levels, or planograms.
Therefore, the first item on your checklist when vetting vendors is to determine whether their tool works for your business. The most common use case is for brand manufacturers, who use these tools alongside their field teams. If this is you, look for features that improve your in-store visibility, help you prioritize tasks and manage field teams, and give you data to become stronger partners with the stores.
Retail execution software can also be used by brokers and distributors. The software should have collaboration features so brokers, brands, and sellers can communicate. Plus, it’s always good to have an image capture feature and survey functionality. Like with brands, a strong team management feature is a must to optimize time in the store, routes, retail audits, and more.
The Platform Has The Right Data Integrations
The best retail execution software isn’t the best without data integrations. Specifically, you want to take external data sources and aggregate them inside the tool. This could be scan data, survey and audit results, and other data points separated out by individual stores.
Gathering this type of information in one location will be a huge plus to your teams, as you can use this data to make informed decisions about the store. Perhaps you want to change up a display or merchandising strategy, or use predictive analytics to make a stronger case for more share of shelf. No matter what you’re doing, you need the data to give you flexibility.
The Platform Helps You Prioritize
Another big benefit of retail execution software is the ability to prioritize efforts. There are two main areas where this is true—first, when you need to send a smaller field team into only a few locations. Since you can’t hit every store, you want to prioritize the locations that can generate the most sales. The right tool can quickly identify the stores that stand to improve the most.
Second, when you need to get your teams from Store A to Store B as quickly as possible. You may have the prioritized list of locations, but you still need to manage the logistics and get all the pieces in place. Route optimization features of your retail execution platform should be a must-have.
The Platform Has Image Recognition
You need all the help you can get to improve your retail execution, especially if you’re working with a smaller team than the massive corporations.
This is why you should look for a vendor that offers image recognition. This functionality takes an image or video and decodes that content into easily digestible analytics. That could be counting the number of facings on a shelf, identifying which brands are present, or something else. The bottom line is that your teams don’t have to do that work. All they have to do is snap a picture inside the store. These time savings add up, plus image recognition can layer more business intelligence over the data to make turning insights into action an easier proposition.
The Platform Comes With Added Context
So you have a tool in mind that works for your business, has the features you need, helps you prioritize, and makes your field teams’ lives easier. What else could there be?
The answer is context. The best retail execution software packages up all this information in a way so you can see the big picture, but also drill down into specifics when needed. This could come in the form of business intelligence and data visualizations, but also in the type of information the vendor can capture. That means retail audits, shopper insights, images, videos, store ratings, scan data, and more. You want the flexibility to choose which information is most relevant, or zoom in or out based on what you’re looking for.
This gives you the added context as to why conditions are the way they are. You’re not just fixing problems, you’re understanding the underlying issues and becoming more proactive about retail execution along the way.