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Visual data eliminates ‘contractual blind spots’

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” By adopting a visually driven mobile app, retailers are not only heeding this advice—they are gaining the evidence they need to comply with supplier agreements.

Industrywide, manufacturers are sinking capital into display-based campaigns with retailers, efforts that help them get their product to market, and in front of customers, faster. It is a process that is supported through trading partner agreements and confirmed through binding contracts.

However, this age-old process of signatures and handshakes has its share of challenges. The biggest is ensuring that a store-level program is executed succinctly, from promotional collateral and pricing to visual displays.

“Decisions on how display and marketing collateral is laid out falls onto the shoulders of the retailer,” said Dan Kasper, Senior Brand Director at GoSpotCheck. “The packaging and display design is the last ten feet of the purchase decision. Yet, retailers and suppliers alike rarely have insight into what happened in these final ten feet. It is the blind spot of what is happening prior to the purchase.”

While retail partners often relied on emails to share sales and marketing execution data, these communications were not in real time, making information stale—an issue that further obstructs insight into product movement and incremental sales.

And these blind spots cost supplier partners to suffer significant financial losses. And for retailers, these losses can add up, especially those relating to clawback costs—special contractual clauses that make retailers liable for funds if certain contractual conditions are not met.

“Campaigns cost a lot of money to produce,” Kasper added. “But if these programs are not executed correctly, partners are wasting dollars and resources.”

The good news is there is a solution—one that delivers more insight and data into promotional purchases and ensures that contractual compliance is being adhered to. The GoSpotCheck solution is composed of a mobile app and Web dashboard that acts as central repository of all data. As in-store teams create an end-cap display, for example, all data—from price to images of product composition—is recorded and aggregated in a centralized location.

By incorporating GoSpotCheck into the mix, retailers and manufacturer partners have real-time insight into how promotional campaigns are executed—and any updates that need to be made. The technology is a means for retailers to showcase that the display was executed properly, keeping them accountable. Meanwhile, the visual data enables manufacturers to confirm displays.

“The app offers visual accountability and proof that all contractual agreements are met,” Kasper said.

Under Armour can attest to the power of visualization. Ever conscious of its brand image, Under Armour understands the importance of retail displays and shelf space—especially when it comes to driving a positive customer impression. The company also experienced the challenges caused by piecing together internal solutions that lacked real-time insight and efficient workflows. These solutions failed to deliver the ideal information on store-level displays and promotional campaigns.

By leveraging GoSpotCheck, Under Armour was able to get more visibility into retail store conditions and gather real-time data surrounding displays and inventory. With the ability to fill out reports right in store, store-level associates now increase productivity and eliminate the “office day” previously needed to complete and submit audits. Less time manually filling out reports means an increased opportunity to visit retail stores and confirm the Under Armour brand is being well represented on a local level, according to the company.

“Overall, the solution is eliminating store-level blind spots,” Kasper added.

“GoSpotCheck is a means of complying with contracts and executing campaigns from a marketing, pricing and sales collateral perspective,” he added. “These steps take away the guesswork historically associated with promotions. Meanwhile, partner accountability drives potential for stronger sales.”

As a result, visually driven mobile apps enable retailers to collect the specific visual data needed to execute promotional campaigns and accurately comply with supplier agreements.

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The three companies and existing shareholders agreed to the transactions on Feb. 14, according to the report.

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In the report, Dan Ives, chief strategy officer and dead of technology research for GBH Insights said, “The Prime membership moat that [CEO Jeff] Bezos & Co. have built is gaining further steam in the field, and the Amazon ‘flywheel effect’ is further playing out globally among consumers.”

Ives believes Amazon’s “1-2 punch” of consumer retail growth and Amazon Web Services — combined with Whole Foods tailwinds and a push into healthcare — is enough to push the company past the milestone, the report explained.

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