As the credit crunch hits the hip pocket of Australian consumers brand loyalty is being tested.

Current research suggests that consumers are already turning to private labels in some categories in order to save money.

O4 Corporation’s Desmond Miller, CEO, says that consumer product companies can win the battle at the shelf and retain sales volumes by optimising product distribution, ensuring promotions are in place and seizing competitive advantage.

“In the current climate companies can’t afford to have out of stocks or rely on past consumer loyalty. They must maximise every opportunity when shoppers are in-store,” he explains.

In spite of the economic forecast companies are continuing to invest in proactive in-store promotional activity to fight it out at the shelf and as the battle of the brands heats up, only flawless retail execution will win shoppers over.

O4 Corporation’s mobile retail execution solution strips out the guesswork and turbo-charges information exchange between reps in the field and strategic planning in head office. Syncing immediately after a store visit means that new data is available at head office in minutes (instead of weeks) and in-store promotions can be analysed on a daily basis. Agile distribution and effective in-store promotion management is essential to retain share of shelf, so real-time strategic analysis means instant responses to retail scenarios.

Simplot Australia, one of the top ten food companies in Australia and leading manufacturer of frozen, chilled and canned products, recently deployed O4’s mobile solution.

“Now, more than ever, perfect execution in-store is critical. With this system our retail field team has the tools to make near real time decisions,” explains Nigel Drews, Simplot’s national sales manager – retail operations.

“Accurate data about our promotion compliance, product distribution, stock levels, and what our competitors are doing, is a key component to maintaining our position in the market. There’s no point finding out two weeks after a promo that product wasn’t on the shelf day one. Using O4’s mobile solution we have instant access to store data and can act on it immediately.”

In addition to providing immediate information, an automated retail execution system allows sales reps to significantly reduce time on paperwork and focus on building relationships and value-based selling.