5 ways image recognition makes store audits more efficient

Sales representatives have one main job - and the clue is in the name. But when store audits take up most of their time, how can they be selling to the best of their abilities? Enter image recognition: the tool that make CPG sales more efficient at every level.
field team image recognition efficient

Retail execution is the final hurdle that stands between CPGs and high sales. It’s the job of the field rep to make sure this is a success, but with so many categories and so many stores, this is easier said than done. 

Even if you have the best reps in the world, the data they provide you will always be limited; lack of capacity, unusual store situations and human error are an inevitable issue.

Or are they?

With an image recognition tool at their disposal, your team can boost the efficiency of their stores audits and provide more comprehensive, accurate and actionable data at a faster pace than ever before. 

Breaking down the finer points, the efficiency boost provided by an image recognition tool comes from:

1. Take a snap in a snap

How long does it take for your field reps to audit a store? 

There’s no set time limit as they have a certain number of KPIs and categories they want to hit, but BeMyEye research shows that full store visits without image recognition can take anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour.

When you introduce an IR tool to the equation, this time will drop dramatically – up to 75% in some cases.


The reason for this is that the AI used in image recognition – known as a ‘neural network’ – takes the responsibility of calculating KPIs out of your reps’ hands. 

Instead of standing in front of the shelf and manually figuring out facings, share of shelf, on-shelf availability etc., they can simply capture this information with a few simple pictures and move on. 

No more time wasted on tasks a computer could do for them!

2. Look at all those KPIs!

Your field team can audit more categories faster than ever before, but what if you want to boost their efficiency even more and get them to collect even more KPIs – can image recognition help with that?

Quick answer: Yes it can!

Within a single snapped picture, the neural network used can recognise and analyse up to three separate KPIs, meaning your reps can triple-up on their collection capabilities. 

More KPIs means more actionable data for you, and with the right IR tool, your reps should even be able to fix some of the issues recognised while they’re still in the store!

3. That's a bullseye!

Usually, you’d think that less time spent doing a task would mean the data that comes from it would be weaker as well, right?

That would be 100% correct if you simply decreased the time your reps spent manual auditing, but with an image recognition tool to use, this concept is flipped on its head.

AI is called AI for a reason – it’s smart, it keeps learning, and it doesn’t get tired, complacent or frustrated with completing the same task. As accurate as you think your current audits are, image recognition will bring that up to a solid 98%. 

Best of all, because this data is extracted from a picture, you can see with your own eyes that it’s accurate. That’s an efficiency win for everybody.

4. The route to success

CPG field teams can work in a number of ways, with either a set number of stores they need to visit each, a specific set of locations they need to audit, or a mix of the two.

Any way you look at it, the introduction of image recognition will optimise these processes tenfold. 

With the ability to complete faster, more accurate audits, your team can visit more stores and collect more KPIs in the same timeframe they currently do – maybe even faster. 

This means you can get more value out of your reps’ time. Visiting more stores will allow them to do more selling to store managers and focus on their other duties, with their background task of shelf auditing taking no mental strain on them. 

It also allows you to streamline your team and save money on the backend, and less reps can now do more work, so big field teams aren’t as necessary.

And even though it’s a repetitive task, the standard and accuracy of their IR audits won’t decrease. Happy days!

5. Two minutes or less

Real-time image recognition levels up on IR even further, giving your reps a way to make a significant positive change to your displays without ever having to leave the store.

What’s even better is that a good real-time IR tool doesn’t even require your reps to figure out these actions themselves.

Any compliance errors that the AI finds will pop up on screen, along with a guide to fixing them. In essence, the user can go into auto-pilot, follow everything the tool tells them to do, and improve your retail execution without giving it a second thought.

And just in case you were worrying, these suggested actions come from your guidelines, so they’re both standardised and specific. It’s like your right there in the store with your rep, but in much more efficient and cost-saving way.

If you’d like to learn more about how your team can use image recognition to complete more efficient stores audits, read the full outlook in our white paper “SCANNING THE SHELVES – How Image Recognition Helps Consumer Brands To Boost Their Retail Executionhere.

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