Amid slowdown, retailers need to up the ante: Here’s how mSFA can help

Updated: January 9, 2020 3:24:26 PM

At a time, when the Indian economy is going through a slowdown, a well devised merchandising strategy can help up the game for retail industry.

Improving CX can increase a retailer’s profitability by five times.With the growing competition amongst brands and companies, retailers can no longer solely rely on the intuition and experience of their buyers.
  • By Prakash Sreewastav

Merchandising in the link between sales and marketing at the front end and supply chain at the back end. It is the art of informing about the ‘Four Rs’- putting the right product, in the right place, at the right time and at the right price which leads to ‘Selling More, Selling Better’. Merchandising, hence forms the core for sales, marketing and supply chain which leads to positive consumer experience, available inventory and ability to meet consumer’s needs in a timely manner. When implemented correctly, merchandising forms the right mix of art and science.

With the growing competition amongst brands and companies, retailers can no longer solely rely on the intuition and experience of their buyers. Retailers today need to drive merchandising decisions based on the changing consumer behavior and preferences, specially the millennials and Gen Z consumers who are always well informed and technologically advanced.

Hence, to accurately implement the four Rs, retailers need to define a product strategy (often termed as Merchandising 1.0), cross channel strategy (Merchandising 2.0) and custome strategy. Streamlining all strategies together to drive maximum sales and consumer satisfaction leads to Merchandising 3.0. Technology-driven Mobile Sales Force Automation (mSFA) can be instrumental in streamlining merchandising 3.0, helping convert shopper preferences to purchases.

At a time, when the Indian economy is going through a slowdown, a well devised merchandising strategy can help up the game for retail industry. Below are five ways how mSFA can help in merchandising success. Executing effective planogramming: ‘Visual’ forms the core for selling a product, as it engages 83% of a consumer’s senses. With the implementation of next level of technology, mSFA is helping transform plannogramming through category mapping and SWOT analysis of competitors, it helps monitor competition at individual stores for strategy adjustment. Merchandisers are upping the game in visual engagement for conversion to sales.

Effectively managing share of shelf

Latest technology is being harnessed through mSFA for better inventory and shelf management through systematic measures. Model stock definitions, availability measurements and deriving reorders at each store level give critical insights for action. Machine learning driven image recognition measures share of shelf and help drive better shelf replenishment.

Improving merchandising logistics

Merchandising companies divide retailer store lists by region, wherein, a single merchandiser might be responsible for maintaining displays at multiple stores. The merchandiser might face challenges with the time duration of store visit, which can further lead to compliance issues go unresolved. mSFA here can deliver low-cost real-time store insights, help in solving merchandising compliance issues by identifying the issue and immediately deputing a field representative to the stores. This helps in streamlining logistics issues and saves significant resources and cost.

Streamlining merchandising at store level

Advanced real-time merchandising tools in mSFA create the difference at the point of sale. Advanced mSFA helps in delivering automated prompts, journey plans, store-wise contextual tasks which are to be performed. mSFA has
proved its mettle even in performing the most complex level of accurate re-order planning to drive Merchandising KPIs.

Garnering market Intelligence

The best merchandisers track competitor brands in all dimensions which include the marketing mix- product, price, promotion and place. mSFA powered by real time mechanism and analytics can enable retail merchandisers drive better and timely action in market place.

Technology is helping leverage the latest advances in mobility, machine learning and enterprise integration which is instrumental in driving the best merchandising practices in the retail industry.

  • Prakash Sreewastav is CEO, WINIT.

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