Whether an organisation has its own internal field team or engages a field service provider, retail reporting matters more than ever in 2021.

In today’s fast paced retail environment, decision makers must be data-centric to achieve success. Using data to identify sales trends and operational inefficiencies allows companies to act quickly to implement change from the store level up.

While current retail trends are largely driven by the surge in e-commerce, many companies are yet to fully grasp the fundamental basics of data and the impact that accurate reporting can have at a store level.

There are ample opportunities to leverage current market conditions to improve sales by simply reviewing reporting practices. This includes mining and analysing data that, in many instances, already exists but is not being accessed or used effectively.

According to Crossmark business development manager, Pat Servat, there are many ways a company can take control of their reporting, starting with a review of their fundamental processes.

“Often we see new client brands coming onboard who have struggled to get a real view of their product’s performance instore due to archaic technology or just plain lack of reporting from the field,” he said.

“To understand what is happening at a national level, firstly you need a transparent and flexible system to consolidate every single store report. Once you have that then the fun starts in looking for trends and deep diving into the data.”

Inconsistent reporting is widespread with the catalyst for change often only happening when an issue occurs.

“Proactively approaching a retail partner to show them how new reporting methodologies can be effectively incorporated into their basic field reporting, and are not an expensive add on, can be an eye-opening experience,” Servat said.

Field agencies such as Crossmark offer highly specialised services using sophisticated data capabilities to design smarter retail strategies. Data transparency can help brands tactically address market and category challenges to thrive in today’s competitive market. 

However, data is only useful if it is accurate with a transparent reporting process in place. The following three considerations are just the start when it comes to basic field reporting:

  1. Data transparency

Effective in-store reporting starts with a live and transparent view of national performance and visibility across every single store visit.  These metrics are then captured and reported on using key performance indicators that provide insights in the brand’s in-store performance.

2. Metrics

Depending on the type of activity, a live and transparent overview of a brand’s national performance, broken down by geo/demographic areas, is crucial for helping a brand achieve its vision of retail success. Setting clear KPIs and success metrics allows everyone to be on the same page with priorities and objectives.

3. Accuracy

Incomplete, outdated, inaccurate or inconsistent data can impact crucial decision making. This can be particularly problematic when anomalies are detected between stores. To help ensure data accuracy, Crossmark deploys smart app technology to help ensure merchandisers are inputting data correctly.