The future of retail
Nowadays, we cannot contemplate any type of commercial activity without taking technology into account; no matter which product we talk about, it’s probably being sold online, and digital tools have probably improved the way to sell it.
This is advantageous not only for consumers, who appreciate a significant improvement in their shopping experience, but also for salespeople. They can rely on tools that help them sell more and sell better, greatly facilitating their work.
How to access this technology? Say hello to SFAs
One of the best ways to gain access to several of these innovative tools the market has to offer is by acquiring a sales force automation tool or SFA.
These software’s’ mission is to automate the whole selling process and to optimize it so the retailer can easily and quickly reach its goals. In order to do this, they include cutting-edge technology, as the sales world is constantly evolving and it’s important to keep a step ahead of our competitors so we don’t become obsolete.
They are a great way to integrate everything in one single system. Emerging technologies are incredibly useful, but they can sometimes be difficult to use, especially in the beginning; a software that includes many of them in the same app is highly convenient.
Moreover, one of its greatest advantages is that it offers an omnichannel; if we think about it, not only the commercial agent needs to know what’s happening in the point of sales, but also the whole sales team, the marketing department the product developers… an SFA condenses all the relevant information and makes it available for every area in the company, so the decisions are taken conjointly and the goals become easier to reach
We’ve selected some of the most advanced currently available technologies, so you can take a look into retail’s future and see how a good SFA can take you there.
360-degree global view
One of the keys to the perfect visit to your clients is being able to foresee what might go wrong. This way, you can take the pertinent decision ahead of time, a far from negligible advantage.
With a 360-degree view you’ll have control over the 4Ps of your shelves; control your prices and promotions and the presence and placement of your product, and compare the whole situation to your competitor’s.
It may seem simple, and you could be thinking… is this really cutting edge technology?
There are different ways to achieve full control through a complete view of your shelves, but modern SFAs do it using the digital tools we’ll see next.
Looks like we’re getting down to business; image recognition, popular as it is in many other fields, reaches the retail sector too, and it’s incredibly useful.
This functionality, implemented in many SFA tools, is based in advanced algorithms and, with a simple picture of the shelf, which is sent to the cloud so it can be furtherly analyzed, offers us all the information we may need: the product’s availability, if the price matches the one agreed with the retailer, if it’s currently on any special offer and until when… It gives us a complete report about the product just by taking a picture.
This is not only convenient, but also extremely efficient. Data collection turns quicker and safer compared to the traditional method, that it, manually introducing data into a system. You simply can’t compare introducing references one by one to taking a picture!
Another tool that is on everyone’s lips nowadays is augmented reality. Before talking about it, let’s first distinguish between augmented and virtual reality, as it’s a common mistake to mix them up.
Virtual reality takes us to another place, it makes us feel surrounded by a non-existent environment. Augmented reality, however, introduces non-existent objects in our existing reality, which is even more shocking to the human eye.
A good example to understand how it works is Pokémon Go, the game that went viral a few summers ago. You can “hunt” Pokémons that keep appearing in your way, and you can see them through your smartphone’s screen as if they were in front of you.
Augmented reality is that useful in the retail world because it allows us to see how things will look in a certain place without actually having those things yet. Let’s say a client wants to know how a stand with our products will look in a particular place; we don’t need to bring the stand to the shop, we can show him through our Tablet. Again, an SFA tool makes the whole process more efficient.
Lastly, let’s take a look into artificial intelligence, applicable to so many fields, but also amazingly useful for the matter at hand.
Chatbots, for instance, are highly appreciated by customers, as they are always available for them. They offer communication at any time of the day, and this way services become more customized.
Nevertheless, artificial intelligence is not only appreciated by final customers who buy the product, but also by retailers and the commercial agents who negotiate with them. We, as salespeople, can suggest them to acquire products that they may not have in their shelves but should have, based on the current purchasing propensity. This is beneficial for both parts.
Artificial intelligence, integrated in an SFA, allows us to prevent stock problems and to manage effectively our inventory. Besides, with all the collected data, it will analyze our results for us, giving us valuable information on our KPIs.
To sum up, everything analyzed by an artificial intelligence tool will help us take better decisions.
Choose your SFA
As we mentioned above, you can access these type of technological tools through an SFA; not only these apps are efficient by themselves, but they will also bring you to the forefront of progress in the sales world. ¿What more can you ask for?