According to the statistics, 7 out of 10 buyers go shopping and do not know what brand of goods they will choose. The choice can be influenced by many factors: what has caught a buyer's eye first, what is cheaper/more expensive, how many goods have already been taken, the environment, etc. If a seller analyzes these factors and uses them, he will be able to increase the sales level of his brand significantly.
A buyer with a grocery cart buys 20-100% more goods than a buyer with a basket.
A range of such measures is called merchandising. Today this area develops actively in Russia. At first, merchandising functions remained with sales representatives, but then expert agencies began to appear. And while the main engine of commerce & ndash; is advertising, many companies resort to services of merchandising agencies.
After merchandising measures have been implemented (placement of goods on shelves, etc.), it is necessary to evaluate their effectiveness. There are quite a lot quantitative indicators that need to be regularly recorded. For example, a front-line merchandiser visits sales outlets several times a week and records how many specimens of goods are in the first row on the shelf, how many of them in stock, what competitors are near them, and so on. Further on the basis of primary data, statistical indicators are calculated. For example, what is the average percentage of the shelf space occupied by a certain product. These indicators can be used to analyze activities and make further decisions.
The largest percentage of purchases accounts for the beginning of the salesroom (a buyer still has money and an empty basket) and for the market stalls at the cash desks(the so-called impulse purchase area).
At its simplest, the data collection and analysis can be carried out with the help of standard software tools, for example, MS Excel. But for more profound analysis, you need specially configured software. Our company has developed such a system for one of the largest merchandising agencies in Russia – «Global consukting».
The system performs the following main functions:
Raw information collection (box-ticking when visiting sales outlets);
Analysis of collected information (calculation and report making).
The system uses a differentiation of access levels: the user can have the rights of a merchandiser, supervisor, coordinator or client company. The work with users is performed by the administrator:
Each project is started in the system as an individual unit.
Users, who have access to the project, are assigned. For each user, the rights that he has under the project are indicated:
Fast music in the shop makes buyers leave the shop quicker. Slow music – makes them stay longer. During the rush of customers, shop personnel tries to switch on more energetic music, and if there is no rush, & ndash; calm music plays.
The system regularly uses reference books – actually, it is tables with some data, for example «Cities», «Sales outputs», «Assortment» etc. In every reference book, the administrator can specify any set of columns and their type (line, number, date, etc.):
Reference books can refer to each other. For example, every outlet should have a city where it is located. In this case, the reference book «Sales outlets» has field that refers to the reference book «Cities». Reference books can be global (available in all the projects) and local (available only in the project where they have been created). Moreover, a reference book can be based on the other reference book. For example, if two different projects use similar assortment of goods, then there is no need to start two reference books that will duplicate each other. In this case, the administrator creates a global reference book, and each project creates its own version of the reference book, which uses information from the global one.
Prices ending in nine, but not zero (for example, 999 rubles), do not have an effect on buyers any longer. Now the prices end in figure 7 or 8 (for example 987 rubles).
To collect raw information, merchandisers visit sales outlets and fill check lists. For each project, the structure of the check list is individual. With the help of a special constructor, the administrator determines the list of fields to be filled. Fields can be either just line-oriented or require to select values from the reference book.
In addition, check lists can contain tables. For example, when visiting each outlet, you need to mark the number of goods on shelves, in stock, etc. The check list structure made by the administrator is shown to the merchandiser as follows:
Under one project all check lists have the same structure, but they can be made as many as you like. In addition, the merchandiser can attach photos to each check list. They will automatically be compressed and sent to the server along with the check list. Photo reports are available to employees and customers:
Reporting and analysis
Data entered by merchandisers should be analyzed. To do this, the system provides for two key mechanisms: the calculation of key indicators and the report output.
Calculation of indicators is carried out using specific calculation procedures, which are developed by the customer's programmer individually for each project. They are implemented in the form of SQL-procedures, which are then used in the system:
Reports are the most informative. For example, client companies require reports on visits to the outlets, the achievement of certain indicators, etc. To make the reports, it has been initially planned to develop a constructor, but after the detailed study, it has become clear that it would be too difficult. Therefore, it has been decided to use Microsoft Reporting Services. It requires a higher qualification of the administrator, but it allows making a report of almost any kind.
Reports are available for both agency employees and client companies.
Example of the report on an outlet visit:
One of the techniques is – the rock-bottom price for the most popular goods. The aim is to – attract a customer to the shop and make him buy additional goods. The buyer is happy that he has managed to save money on basic goods and allows himself to buy something else.