Imagine yourself in a customer’s shoes for a second: you’re heading to the store to pick up a particular item. But, once you’re there, you discover that the product you set out for isn’t on its usual shelf, and none of the store associates know where to find it. Are they sold out? Is it somewhere else?
Sound like a familiar scenario? It is for a lot of shoppers.
Out-of-stock (OOS) events are a common occurrence for retailers and brands, both large and small. When it happens, it can negatively affect brand loyalty, making a retailer seem unreliable. Often, it forces a customer to pick up a similar product from another company.
No one likes a bad reputation. And when stores aren’t processing products properly, and accidentally leaving them off shelves, or they forget to notify your business when new orders need to be placed, that can result in a lost customer for life. That’s about as bad as it gets in the world of retail.
Luckily, modern retail tech is helping solve this problem for CPGs and brands by making it easier for companies to ensure field teams are collecting information accurately, and on time, about how their products are displayed—if at all—in stores around the world.
One such solution is Foko Field. Here’s what we’re doing to combat out-of-stock situations and prevent them from happening in the first place.
How Field Merchandising Software Prevents Out-of-Stock Situations
Customizable and Intuitive Form Creation
Back in the day, companies had to rely on the postal service to send out paper forms to field reps for conducting their store audits. Not only was that a timesuck, but a significant drain on resources.
As computers became more prominent amongst the workforce, downloadable spreadsheets and email were deployed and employed to help field reps keep up.
And for lots of CPGs and brands, that’s about as far as things got on the store audit evolutionary timeline.
Now, mobile-first field merchandising software is making it easy for field reps to not only complete store audits faster and more accurately, but stay in touch with HQ and notify them of problems they encounter through customizable inputs that can alert higher-ups about everything from stock availability to shelf location to price discrepancies.
The days of waiting for field reps to submit store audit forms, managers to answer phone calls, and businesses to respond to emails are over.
Field merchandising software opens up two-way communication between field reps and their superiors through real-time correspondences and instant notifications. The result is less time in between store visits chasing down contacts to report out of stock situations, and more immediate action to help prevent them from occurring.
Increased Accountability and Less Fraudulent Activities
Considering that the majority of a field rep’s job is conducted remotely and with limited supervision, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many companies still face inaccurate data collection due to fraudulent check-ins. The result: products not being displayed properly, and a lack of answers as to why.
Field merchandising software averts those problems by enabling field reps to geo-tag their store audits. Automated timestamps increase accountability by letting supervisors know the exact time a store audit was completed and on what day, and two-way communication breaks down the barrier that previously prevented managers from staying in touch with their field team by letting them talk to one another in real time.
Field merchandising software makes it easy for field managers to stay in touch with their team, no matter what region or area they are in the world.
Want to learn more? Click on the demo button below to set up a time with one of our trusted Customer Success Specialists. Or email email@example.com to book a quick walkthrough of Foko Field.