Imagine this: You are an executive for a top electronics manufacturer. Your title is Regional Account Manager, and you have just shipped out a new line of televisions in your region. The TV’s visual and audio quality are unmatched in the market, and you are assured that this product will set an opening week sales record.

But launch week comes and goes, and you notice that inventory isn’t moving as briskly as anticipated. And alarmingly, you notice that one of your highest grossing stores is vastly underperforming compared to other stores in the region. Determined to discover the cause of the anemic results, you head out to this particular store to uncover what might be causing the lackluster results.

Upon arrival you recognize that the sales floor surrounding your newly launched television is strangely deserted. As you walk closer, you see that the custom floor stand – to list specs and features – is nowhere to be found. You also notice that the model TV is not playing the featured promotional video as planned. Worse yet, the model TV is covered from top-to-bottom with fingerprints. So you stride over to the store manager to explain the situation. At first he is resistant, and insists that these are minor details and brushes it off by saying that he will have one of his team members look into it. It’s clear that the store manager doesn’t grasp the severity of the situation.

So at this point you decide to use your smartphone to pull up the Askuity mobile app. In seconds you are able to access historical sales data stored securely in the cloud. And with just a few taps on your screen, you’re able to pull up sales figures for this particular store. The data is indicating that when you launched the previous model just 8 months prior, it accounted for 35% of total TV sales at this particular store during launch week. But for this latest model, you see that just 12% of TV sales are coming from the new model. And by using store tags to group nearby stores, you show that this store is underperforming compared to all other stores in the region. When the store manager sees these metrics, he is taken aback. These metrics paint a clear picture and he’s now empathizing with your concerns. Most importantly, he calls over a sales rep to fix the outstanding issues immediately.

As you can imagine, this type of situation has the potential to escalate quickly and sour your existing relationship with the retailer. But with the help of retail analytics in the cloud, it’s no longer a hassle to access the information that you need in the field. This allows you to build a strong relationship with your retail partners and avoid sticky situations in the field.

How the Cloud is Transforming Mobile Sales Teams

With the ubiquity of smartphones in the market, shoppers have long had the benefit of intuitive mobile apps for their favourite retailers. Top retailers like Walmart, Bloomingdales and The Home Depot have invested heavily in building user-friendly applications to help consumers locate their physical stores and order products online. These mobile applications also help consumers access product data on-the-fly, and even check inventory at nearby stores. And while consumers have been able to access product data on their mobile phones for some time now, only recently have brands and product manufacturers been able to gain access to rich product data via smartphones and tablets.

Before the days of mobile retail analytics, brand representatives and outside sales teams were left to work with stacks of hard copy reports filled with outdated metrics. So rather than waste time (and money) printing stacks of papers for daily store visits, cloud databases for retail data are now enabling teams to access sales, marketing and inventory metrics on-the-go. And because of the many advantages, the concept of mobile retail analytics is becoming a staple for in-store teams. No longer is data trapped in the physical office. Instant access to real-time data is now enabling teams to do more in the field, such as:

  • Receive exception alerts for slow-moving inventory
  • Identify out-of-stocks and uncover how long a product has been out-of-stock for
  • Track sales growth for new product launches
  • Benchmark store performance during store visits against nearby stores
  • A/B test merchandising arrangements to identify successful planograms

With sales and inventory data always on hand, mobile sales teams are now empowered to make fact-based decisions on the spot. And as evidenced in the example above, metrics allow sales representatives to engage in more meaningful discussions with store-level management and build stronger relationships with their retail partners. So go ahead. Get your head in the cloud and empower your team with the data and technology they need to succeed.