The retail sector is definitely a competitive environment, and so are points of sales, so using new technologies to manage them can be a differentiator factor for companies. They are incredibly useful to optimize tasks, collecting large volumes of relevant data, optimizing resources and increasing benefits.
One of these technologies is image recognition, and despite it not being new, lack of trust limited its expansion when it first launched. Nowadays, we’ve overcome those barriers and more and more sales networks are using it.
How does it work? A set of algorithms gets to identify graphic elements automatically; these systems analyze an image bank searching for patters in the objects they are asked to analyze. They analysis of the preset algorithms will categorize colors and shapes to understand the object, and with each picture the software learns how to identify what it’s seeing.
To understand its benefits in a point of sales we must analyze the activity of a sales person when executing a commercial visit:
- Improving the shelves, organizing them and sometimes restocking them
- Collecting relevant data about the point of sales. This process can be tedious but it’s necessary, as it helps suppliers obtain information about the market, get to know their position and identify new opportunities in the same shop, which helps increasing sales and optimizing commercial activities.
- Negotiating in the point of sales new placements, promotions and products.
- Detection of business opportunities
It’s obvious that manually collecting data can take a lot of time, and doing it automatically can reduce this time in almost a 50%. Moreover, collecting a higher volume of data allows the supplier not only to obtain its own data but also information on the competitors and include new KPIs that he didn’t think about before. All these factors will allow us to execute corrective actions almost in real time, basing ourselves on the data we have obtained through image recognition.
Image recognition offers improvements focused on obtaining more information about the shelves in less time and with more specific and detailed KPIs. Regarding the quality of the information collected, this technology, being automatic, makes less mistakes when collecting data, almost a 20% less, and the confidence factor is higher than 98%; the competitive advantages are clear.
A commercial agent, thanks to these tools, experiments a reduction in the time he dedicates to audit the point of sales, so he’s able to focus on activities with a higher added value, like negotiating with the shop managers or detecting new opportunities. The agent takes up these tasks with valuable information, which allows him to objectively analyze the KPIs in a detailed way.
Image recognition modifies the current profile of a point of sales agent, which basically collected data and negotiated from time to time, to a person who is now a product consultant and is able to analyze the point of sales while suggesting solutions or beneficial changes for the supplier and the retailer.
Another advantage that provides image recognition to suppliers is the information it brings about the user experience or about what makes the client actually purchase a product. 75% of these decisions are made while the client is in front of the shelf. Analyzing the state of the products in the shops and linking this data to consumer’s purchasing patterns can generate a high amount of relevant information that impacts directly on our turnover. Besides, this technology can be integrated with users’ social media profiles, which can be used to know additional information on the supplier, and this will give us a better insight of the clients’ buying habits.
Vincle’s proposal of value includes image recognition in its solutions to manage points of sales as an optional module; the agent will see the commercial activity optimized by using this technology. Vincle’s app is, nowadays, able to offer image recognition’s results almost in real time or 24 hours after, depending on the client’s needs, and information on the facings, SKUs, placement data, pricings, assortment, etc. among other relevant KPIs.
This large volume of information the software will provide makes it necessary to use analytics tools that helps us study and decide the best way to act in a short time. In this sense, Vincle Analytics (an advanced reporting module Vincle offers) integrates this information and brings us representative data for both the commercial agent and the administrators, giving us a global vision of the point of sales.
After all this information, it’s evident that image recognition is changing the game in the point of sales and implies a paradigm shift in the role the commercial agent performs in the shop. We’ve mentioned plenty of advantages through the whole article, but we can sum them up this way: Image recognition offers 360-degree information in real time about the products a supplier has in a shelf and about its competitors’ products as well. It provides us information about the purchasing habits and the online conversation the client has with a particular brand and, last but not least, improves productivity by reducing the time the commercial agent spends analyzing the point of sales and letting him focus on tasks with a higher added value.
This technology is definitely here to stay, and that is why Vincle, following its strategy of ongoing improvement, fosters its implementation in the apps it develops, combining, as always, new technologies and its extensive knowledge of the commercial process, with a clear objective of improving the user’s experience and productivity.