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