The digital transformation of field surveys

Un homme en train de faire un relevé de terrain

In an ever-changing retail environment, the search for innovative solutions has become a priority for companies in this sector. Digital transformation has become an inescapable necessity in order to seize the opportunities offered by emerging technologies and remain competitive in a constantly developing market. One of the most crucial challenges facing companies in the retail sector is the efficient management of field operations, particularly shelf space management.

Operational challenges in retail

Before the advent of 4.0 solutions, the industry faced major challenges in optimising field operations. Manual data collection was tedious and error-prone, hampering the productivity of sales teams and the ability of managers to make informed decisions. This approach delayed the updating of available information, limiting the company’s responsiveness to market developments and compromising commercial negotiations. In addition, the lack of up-to-date data hampered management’s strategic vision, delaying decision-making and limiting adaptability to market changes. To overcome these challenges, the adoption of innovative digital solutions had become imperative, offering retail companies the opportunity to improve the efficiency of their field operations and boost their competitiveness.

Digitalising operations

The advent of automated solutions via a tool marks a crucial stage in the digital transformation of field surveys in the retail sector. They offer a host of tangible benefits to businesses, enabling them to effectively address operational challenges and improve business performance.

Automating field surveys

A key feature of digital solutions is their ability to simplify and automate field surveys. Thanks to image recognition technology, teams can now carry out surveys quickly and exhaustively, simply by capturing images of lines of sight, either as photos or, more quickly, as videos, using a mobile device. This automation means that teams can carry out readings every time they visit a shop, as opposed to only once a year in the past. This increase in readings means that data is more up-to-date, providing a more accurate and dynamic view of the situation on the ground.

Improved negotiations

As well as simplifying statements, they also offer significant advantages in terms of negotiation for the sales force. Area managers now have instant access to key data collected in the field, such as product availability, numerical distribution, shelf share and positioning, and promotional campaigns for their products and those of their competitors. This strengthens negotiating power in interactions with store managers, enabling them to make more informed decisions and effectively defend the company’s interests. Teams can also proactively adjust their strategies in line with market trends and customer needs, improving their competitiveness and responsiveness in the field.

Its strategic impact on management

This gives management a clear and precise strategic vision of the company’s performance on the ground. Thanks to the exhaustive, recurring, real-time collection and consolidation of data in the company’s CRM system, sales and marketing managers have an overall view of performance at the point of sale. This increased visibility enables them to quickly assess the effectiveness of their strategies and make accurate strategic decisions. By analysing the data collected, management can identify emerging trends, assess the impact of promotions and marketing actions and adjust their strategies accordingly to optimise the company’s overall performance.

In conclusion, it is undeniable that the digitalisation of field reporting is an imperative for companies wishing to remain competitive in an increasingly competitive and sophisticated retail sector. By simplifying tasks, improving negotiations and providing a clear strategic vision, this transition optimises operations and consolidates brands’ position in the market. However, the transition to digital cannot take place without adequate human guidance. Teams need to be properly trained in the new tools so that they can make the most of all their functionalities, which will encourage rapid adoption, an increase in the skills of each employee and an improvement in the company’s overall efficiency.