By Mario Toneguzzi
Mobile research firm Field Agent has launched its FIND & FIX initiative, which is a revolutionary new service that drastically cuts the cost and time required to identify and resolve in-store execution issues for retailers and their suppliers.
“Think of it as the ‘uber-ization’ of retail blitz coverage,” said Jeff Doucette, general manager for Field Agent Canada, a company that uses crowdsourcing as a platform to collect various data for retail operations.
“We know that one of the biggest issues facing both brands and retailers in today's retail landscape is poor in-store execution such as missing promotional displays and signage as well as products that are not on-shelf or are out-of-stock. A trip to any grocery store will yield a raft of execution issues - and some stores are much worse than others.
“FIND & FIX is solely focused on execution issues, things that are not being done as expected in-store. Today so much of in-store merchandising is head office driven but resources at store level are stretched thin and execution is deteriorating. There may be a directive from head office to build a specific display for example, but in our experience there is often a big gap in what is supposed to be done and what is actually executed in-store,” said Doucette.
“Despite resounding agreement that there is an issue, the execution problems most-often go unresolved due to the high costs of traditional merchandising coverage and the amount of time that it takes to cover the retail network in a country as large as Canada. The net result is lost sales and lower return-on-investment for retailers and brands.”
Doucette said FIND & FIX allows Field Agent to quickly deploy to all stores to find execution issues with 80 per cent of stores covered in 72 hours starting at just $10 per location.
“Once stores with execution issues are identified, Field Agent deploys a team of high-quality, trained merchandisers to quickly get to the stores and resolve the issue,” he said.
“Budgets are maximized by avoiding high-cost traditional merchandisers being deployed to stores that do not have execution issues, saving $30 or more per store. We think that this is a huge leap forward in retail capabilities.”
Doucette said FIND & FIX is a way of making in-store marketing budgets more efficient and effective.
“With traditional merchandising approaches, you have an army of people that are spread out across the country. They’re on a four-to-six-week call cycle and they’re a relatively high-cost investment. They’re marching around the countryside and they’ll get things done but it takes them a long time to cover the whole country. They are also already busy with other priorities and may not have the capacity to conduct a blitz to correct an issue quickly.
“By comparison, the first wave of FIND & FIX involves deploying a Field Agent, one of almost 100,000 people across the country who have downloaded our smartphone app, to go into each store and check on execution, usually covering 80% of the retail universe in the first 72 hours. The Field Agent takes a picture and reports what the situation looks like in-store. This allows us to triage the stores and identify the ones that have an actual execution problem that needs to be fixed. This initial “blitz” costs as little as $10 a store versus traditional call cycles that might cost you $40, $50, $60 a visit.”
Doucette said the system allows its clients to quickly cover a large number of stores and identify which ones have execution issues for a fraction of the price of a normal merchandising call. Once those stores with execution issues are identified, a second wave of professional merchandisers can be quickly deployed just to the stores that need coverage and they ensure that the execution problem is resolved.
“With FIND & FIX you save money on stores that are already executing well and do not need a merchandiser to visit them, and you’re also getting issues fixed much quicker compared to a traditional merchandising model” he said.
“It really reduces the time an execution problem exists in-store and that means more sales and better ROI at the end of the day.”
How It Works:
1) Client contacts Field Agent and provides a simple brief of the desired execution in-store.
2) FIND: Field Agent deploys its 100,000 Field Agents to stores right away to start identifying stores with execution issues.
3) FIX: Once stores with execution issues are identified, professional merchandisers are deployed to “blitz” problem stores and get them fixed.
4) Results are reported back to client via an on-line dashboard in real-time providing confirmation that each store is executing correctly.
For more information on Field Agent FIND & FIX, visit: fieldagentcanada.com/findandfix
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Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org