Streamline planogram compliance audits with powerful mobile apps
Streamline planogram compliance audits with powerful mobile apps

Planograms is one of the most important solutions used in modern retail today. Through smart shelf planning, it helps retailers sell more and faster. A planogram is a visual representation of guidelines on exactly where various products should be kept and displayed on retail shelves. Created based on the historic product sales data, planograms help retailers devise a product-placement and display strategy to ensure higher sales.

Planogram compliance is deemed essential for the retail's success. In the past, planograms were shared purely in the form of printouts for comparison and compliance auditing. However, with advancements in technology, they are available as independent tools or as planogram generator modules of large retail management and merchandising software platforms.

Relevance to brands
Retail shelf planning with planograms influences brand marketing decisions as well. Brand owners use planograms to ensure that their brands are displayed prominently on retail shelves. The critical aspects considered by a brand owner include:

  • What is the level of visibility of my brand for a casual shopper?
  • Are my products kept right in the front or behind some competitors’ products?
  • How convenient is it for walk-ins to see my products and pick them up?
  • Are my danglers and offer-plaques visible from a distance or do customers have to get very close to spot them?

Role of third-party auditors
Over the years, a reliable model has established in the retail sector wherein regular planogram compliance auditing (PCA) is carried out by third-party agencies. A challenging job, these executives tirelessly move from shop to shop checking how products are placed and displayed on shelves and compare them with planograms provided to them.

Traditionally, the entire PCA process was manual. Although a semi-automated exercise today, it’s fraught with a few challenges. Upon visiting a store, an auditor clicks photos of the shelves and manually fills up relevant documents capturing important details such as the store’s name, location, floor number, brand placements, number of items displayed and their exact locations, store inventory, etc. As the planogram compliance auditors belong to third-party agencies, not all organisations cover these professionals under their mobile device management (MDM) or enterprise mobility management (EMM) programmes.

After a day’s job, the auditors need to return to office(s) to feed the captured information into their corporate merchandising/ retail management systems. This data entry, even by using scan-and-capture tools, is another mundane, time-consuming process.

How Mobile Apps can help
A specialised PCA app developed using mobile container app architecture technology with an inbuilt support for MDM and EMM can make a big difference in this scenario. With a PCA app, third-party auditors can just take pictures of the required shelves inside an outlet. The inbuilt features such as retail location-mapping, geo-tagging, and image recognition technologies can automatically identify the store and add the captured information to the appropriate database at the backend.

The auditors do not have to worry about data connectivity issues especially while at remote locations. The architecture supports offline sync feature ensuring that data synchronisation happens automatically whenever data speeds improve. Auditors can simply continue with their field-work without returning to office for information download, data entry, or backend synchronisation.

Look for digital enablement platforms
Some mobile app development platforms, also known as digital enablement platforms or digital transformation platforms, offer a few additional benefits too. These platforms ensure that the devices of third-party planogram compliance auditors even though not covered under enterprise MDM, can still conform to highest security and compliance measures as defined by the organisation.

These platforms also make sure that your PCA app can work seamlessly across device-types and OS-versions, thus achieving a 100 percent user-adoption. The unified notifications features can help third-party auditors stay connected with the organisation in real-time without their having to open multiple apps or inboxes. Strong data leak protection prevents the scope of misuse or loss of information from a planogram compliance auditors’ smartphone.

A small recommendation here is to opt for platforms that offer development optimisation and future proofing features to make life easier for your app development teams. The analytics feature can help you gauge the success of your enterprise mobility programme with real-time information on app usage, top content, views, and devices. Most importantly, the inbuilt support for MDM and EMM ensures that even the external auditors can enjoy the full benefits of your enterprise mobility programme.

This article has been authored by Divyesh Kharade, Co-Founder & CEO, Drona HQ


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Most of Our Products are Built in India: Puneet Chandok of Microsoft India
Most of Our Products are Built in India: Puneet Chandok of Microsoft India

In a spirited discussion on AI and the retail industry, Puneet Chandok, President of Microsoft India and South Asia delved deeply into India's role in transforming the world through Artificial Intelligence and technology enablement. He discussed Microsoft's commitment to India, not only in training Indian talent but also in leveraging it.

On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had praised the Tech Entrepreneurs Association of Mumbai (TEAM) for hosting Mumbai Tech Week and their ongoing involvement in building tech startups in the country. During a panel discussion with Haptik CEO Aakrit Vaish at Mumbai Tech Week, Puneet Chandok, President of Microsoft India and South Asia, emphasized the transformative impact AI could have on various aspects of daily life.

Chandok stated, “When we look at India through the lens of demand, supply, and impact, there is no other market like India today. There are 7,000 listed companies in India and one hundred thousand startups. Many startups are in Maharashtra, and one hundred new startups are emerging in India every day. India is the largest SMB market globally, making it one of the most exciting markets today.”

He further added, “When we look at the supply lens and examine Microsoft's data, one out of four projects on AI in GitHub today is run out of India. Every sixth AI researcher in the world is from India. In the next ten years, 25 percent of the global workforce will come from India, meaning every fourth worker in the world will be from India.”

Discussing the growing influence and power of Artificial Intelligence, Chandok mentioned, “Last night, my 12-year-old daughter was creating text-to-video, and she told me that AI will change her life. She is an artist; she draws and paints. This also indicates how the younger generation perceives AI.”

Expanding on this, Chandok continued, “People will stop searching and instead have conversations. I have stopped searching myself; in fact, I was conversing with my Copilot to understand what is happening at the event and what I should speak about. We have shifted from searching to genuine conversations. This is not just chat drama anymore. These are sophisticated engines providing reasoning within.”

Regarding his personal perspective, Chandok remarked, “People say AI is overhyped, but I think it's not hyped enough. The next generation, which will use this in the next few years, will have much higher expectations of what technology can do for them. So, how you build it for that generation, how you build it for that future, will be really interesting to see."

Chandok also emphasized that those who do not embrace AI, risk falling behind in the rapidly evolving technological landscape. He encouraged Indian developers to seize the "lifetime opportunity" to become unstoppable by learning to use and deploy AI effectively.

He concluded, “If you are not learning AI, you are falling behind. I myself spend 30 minutes a day to learn more about AI. Technology is changing every day, and it has been 15 months since ChatGPT was launched. The speed of technology diffusion is unlike anything I have seen in my life, and it is advancing very rapidly. My call to action for everyone is to find a way to learn, otherwise, we will all fall behind.”


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