Once you put your product out into the world, you’re in the dark as to what happens next until those sales numbers roll in a few months later. Reviews might pop up online and you could get a mention in a forum or two, but the in-store process of how and why consumers bought your goods in that particular moment has always been a mystery – until now.
Image recognition acts as the missing link between consumers and CPGs. Quickly being recognised as a vital growth tool, it’s shot up in popularity and is set to change the way you go about retail execution forever.
But why? What is it about image recognition that makes it such a game changer?
You have eyes everywhere
You could send your field rep down to the shop to find your product, see how it’s displayed, what level of stock is left etc., and this would all be important. But that’s one person in one shop out of thousands across the world – the data doesn’t skew in your favour.
More importantly, while you trust your rep, you cannot see what they see and don’t know the accuracy of their findings. Subjective reasoning will always be a factor when it comes to a human logging tracking the KPIs, and without image recognition, you have no way around this.
Image recognition provides an easy way for you to eliminate these problems. With this technology on your side, you can gain real-time insights on the in-store success of your product and receive mass data that allows you to take action where it matters.
When a field rep uses image recognition in their audit, not only are you able to see exactly what they were looking at, but alongside every picture that you can manually view, you get the automatically calculated KPIs alongside them. Often, if you’re using a good image recognition tool, you can decide on the KPIs you want this smart neural network to track.
With unlimited possibilities and SKUs, not only could you see remaining stock levels, but you also get data on the display of your product, what kind of categorisation it’s under and how it’s faring in comparison to your competitors. This is another important factor of your team using the same image recognition tool – there’s no deviation in the assessment of your KPIs from person to person.
Time is on your side
70% of the purchasing decision is made in store, so if the consumer sees something wrong with your product, you could miss out on a huge number of sales without ever releasing the issue. However, with image recognition, this isn’t a problem.
As soon as someone snaps a picture, this information is fed into the smart neural network. The cogs turn, the AI does its thing, and before you know it, you’re getting that make or break data in real time and have the capacity to right any wrongs.
This is huge for retail execution. Not having to wait to see results allows you to have a flexible approach in the market, meaning you can make significant changes to your processes and stop unnecessary losses much sooner. With relevant data coming in from several different regions, it also allows you to make isolated changes and know where to focus your time and energy. This provides significant ROI compared to manual audits, as they time they take is very rarely earned back.
You’re all in this together
Retail insights aren’t just relevant to one team in your CPG. You may have a dedicated insights team, but no matter what KPI you’re tracking, everyone from the top to the bottom of your business can benefit from seeing the results of your audits.
And the key word here is ‘seeing.’
As previously mentioned, every field rep will have different standards when it comes to their manual KPI tracking. This then extends to your wider team, as everyone from Category to the Marketing department to Sales will have different definitions of what they’re aiming for and what success looks like. With different mental images and no black and white standards for a successful display, it can be a challenge for your team to sync their goals.
This is why image recognition is so important – it unifies your team. The AI calculates your KPIs with high accuracy, which then allows you to see exactly what your perfect shelf looks like in the pictures. These can be spread throughout your team – or easily accessed through an all-in-one platform – and the standard you’re going for with your display can be set.
These images are also beneficial when trying to justify the ROI of your sales tactics, as you have concrete proof of the success of your retail execution.
This is how you win
To get a leg up in retail, you have to explore every avenue of growth that you can.
Image recognition has already made a huge difference in several sectors, and now it’s time for CPGs to catch on. It can be scary to take the leap, but as a simple, scalable tool that’ll have an immediate impact on your retail execution, image recognition is something you can’t afford to ignore.