News

EFMP Swiss partners, USP, embrace the digital revolution

08/12/2019

New reporting tools increase efficiency, quality and comprehensiveness of reports. 

We are currently experiencing a digital revolution in all areas of life. Not only are our private lives becoming increasingly digitalized in the way we communicate and consume, but more especially this is the case in the world of work.  Digitalization is also leading to structural changes for USP

Changes in working methods lead to a culture of results in which work, analysis and reporting  are being improved and made more efficient.

Reporting Tool for Merchandising and Sales Promotions

About 3 years ago, USP began to digitally optimize the processes in POS merchandising projects. As part of the major project for Japan Tobacco International (JTI), a merchandising reporting tool was introduced that provides advantages for both the project team and the local merchandisers. The tool consists of a smartphone app (Android and iOS) and a desktop application.

Digital Planning

Complex merchandising projects are characterized by the fact that a large number of POS are visited throughout Switzerland during a short period of time in order to carry out various POS management tasks. In addition, the tasks can vary from store to store. This can be attributed to the fact that the Swiss retail sector has a certain degree of standardization, but, both the store layouts and shelf space, as well as advertising options instore depend on the size of the individual retail branch.

 The merchandisers' tasks instore include the following:

- Optimization of the shelf layout

- Optimum placement of advertising (promotional) material (POPM)

- Integration of new products in the shelf layout

- Shelf maintenance and product sample exchange

- Checking availability of goods

- Assembly and equipping of displays

- Conversion of shelf walls for other purposes

In order to plan large merchandising projects more efficiently, the project team can now fall back on the merchandising software developed especially for USP. The project team plans all assignments using a desktop application. Thus, orders are planned and divided into distinct sections according to the merchandiser's capacity and regionality. The merchandisers receive all their orders via app directly on their smartphones. In the orders, they find all the details about the branches to be visited and the tasks to be completed. 

Controlling - check orders in real time

If the merchandiser is on-site  at the branch, he/she starts processing the order in accordance with the application on their mobile phone. The merchandiser is then guided through each task to be completed and they report on each task in real time. If there are deviations from the briefing or if certain tasks cannot be completed according to specifications, a corresponding comment must be entered for that specific task. Quantitative and qualitative reporting is then followed at the end of the process by photo reporting of the completed order. The desired photos are taken and placed in the corresponding photo category - for example, there are photos of layouts, or of the effect of the placed advertising material, or whatever the relevant merchandising activity happens to be is categorized accordingly.

Each visit to a POS is completed after all tasks have been completed and all the data, including photos, is transmitted to the USP project team in real time at the push of a button. Using the desktop application, the project team can check, at practically the same time, whether the order has been implemented  to the required standard of quality or whether any corrective measures are necessary. If errors occur, the project team sends the order back to the merchandiser's smartphone with the corresponding feedback, so that, in the best case scenario, the merchandiser can make the correction on site. This procedure also helps to avoid follow-up errors, i.e. using this procedure  prevents a merchandiser from making  the same error several times. Thanks to real-time reporting, even unforeseen incidents which may have erroneously occurred can be detected, communicated directly to the other merchandisers and thus be avoided in the future.

On request, the application also allows access on the part of the customer,  who can also be integrated into the controlling process. This 4-eyes principle helps to increase the quality of implementation to almost 100%.

Sales reporting via barcode scan

While in many sales promotions sales are still recorded analogously using a "tally sheet", USP has been successfully using digital reporting as was evidenced by their Philips sales promotions which they have done for  approximately one and a half years now. This digital reporting system has proved to be an effective tool.  The USP sales consultant has the USP Sales App on his smartphone and scans the barcode of every product sold with the camera. Thus, the promoter always has an overview of his current turnover and the number of products sold. After the deployment he completes the deployment information, together with his feedback on the process, and the data is transmitted to the USP project team. The project manager can then analyze the data via the desktop application for future reference. 

Data-supported reporting 

After each merchandising round as well as after sales promotions, all KPIs desired by the customer are determined and evaluated. Thanks to digital reporting, all KPIs can be analyzed right down to store level. These elaborate analyses provide USP customers with valuable feedback on the performance of the promotions as well as information on what factors optimize  the situation at the POS.

Efficiency gains and new insights

The USP merchandising project team now plans and manages all merchandising projects, i.e. every single POS visit, via the platform. In addition, the software is constantly being further developed and can also be adapted to the special  requirements of a customer. Through the use of the merchandising and sales applications and thus through greater automation and digitalization, and through cooperation with the promoters, major efficiency gains were achieved in the USP head office. In addition, the quality of implementation of the projects was massively improved and the detailed reports issued also provided the customer with valuable insights and helped them to work the market even  more efficiently.  

USP have mastered the digital revolution thus far with regard to merchandising and sales promotion and they are committed to keeping abreast of new developments in the field. To date, they have used these innovations to good effect and they are always available to support your business with their individual solutions for merchandising projects as well as for sales promotions. Contact them today.

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