Where Retail meets Tech

December 7, 2018

8 Key Questions to Ask When Choosing an Image Recognition Vendor (Part 2/2)

Written by Christophe Blot

In our previous blog post, we uncovered the first four questions consumer goods (CG) brands should ask themselves when selecting an Image Recognition vendor. It’s time to close the loop on the series and reveal the next (and last) 4 fundamental questions you need to answer before embarking on your IR journey:

 

5.      Is the IR Solution Scalable?

Image Recognition should facilitate businesses growth, not add another layer of complexity to operational activities. But if it isn’t scalable, this will inevitably be the case.

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An IR solution can easily retain its value as you expand into domestic markets. But scalability issues shift up a gear when entering international markets, as local in-store specificities drive measurement practices. Without standardization, it can be difficult to aggregate and analyze the KPIs of all the different markets for a holistic view of global retail execution.

A great IR solution will provide a repeatable model that can be applied in — and adapted to — each country. It should offer CPG firms meaningful results by ensuring consistency and uniformity in measurement practices.

 

6.      Is It Easy to Set Up and Maintain?

Typically, setting up a new IR solution requires all KPIs to be defined, as well as different types of inputs and resources including product images, a product master and a store list, etc. That said, an experienced vendor will require as little input from your company as possible.

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For example, they often only need one picture per SKU to start recognizing products, as opposed to 6 or more. Since the recognition focuses on what is visible on the shelf, having a photo of a product’s front facing can be enough for an IR solution to be up and running. The same logic applies during the activation of seasonal promotions; when a product packaging changes, the system should only need one image of the new packaging to recognize the SKU and link it back to its EAN/UPC barcode. IR systems can then handle multiple pictures so that variations of packaging link to the same SKU.

Likewise, if your image database contains several photos of each of your products, a worthwhile vendor should be able to isolate the ones they need to set up the recognition process.

Your solution should also be easy to maintain and update over time, with a quick and simple way to input new SKUs and assortments. As an added perk, leading IR solutions will automatically detect new products and alert you that they aren’t yet in the database.

 

7.      What are its Integration Capabilities?

Your chosen vendor should offer comprehensive integration capabilities, including end-to-end integration with your SFA, CRM, and Business Intelligence applications so that your sales reps can access shelf data and analyses from their usual work applications.

integration-image-recognition-for-retail

Some vendors offer extra services that work alongside Image Recognition, enhancing its functionality and adding value to other areas of your business. For instance, thanks to PlanoConvert, our planogram automation solution, we can turn the shelf pictures taken with our IR solution into realograms. We also offer an intuitive space planning and merchandising software application, PlanoManager, to easily duplicate, amend and visualize in 3D these realograms. This creates an ecosystem of services that uses in-store data to support sales and merchandising teams.

 

8.      What is in place to help you succeed in this project?

Finally, CG firms should consider other ways a prospective vendor can help them achieve their business objectives. An ideal IR vendor will do more than sell you a product and be on their way. They’ll make sure you’re using their service to its full potential, monitoring project management as it’s rolled out on a global scale and advising on best practices and improvements as IR needs evolve. At Planorama, we have a specific process in place to help our clients through their projects and get the most out of our solution. In addition to training sales reps, we have a “hyper care” program to closely monitor your activities during the first eight weeks and make sure everything is going smoothly. No matter the stage of their project, we are driven by our clients’ satisfaction and success. That’s why we provide each of them with a direct point of contact as well as a dedicated team to ensure that best practices are being followed and guarantee the best possible outcomes.

support-system-image-recognition-for-retail

Look for an IR vendor that has experience implementing their solution as part of a broader digital transformation initiative. If they’ve shown a commitment to driving long-term positive change in previous clients’ organizations, they’ll likely bring a similar enthusiasm to your business relationship.

 

Image Recognition is a powerful tool in any CG manufacturer’s retail execution arsenal. The right solution will help your business cut costs and increase sales while empowering sales representatives to do their job more effectively. Not all solutions will fit your company’s specific needs, which is why it’s critical that you ask yourself key questions that will lead you to implement a successful IR project, namely:

  • What do I want to achieve with Image Recognition?
  • Does the Image Recognition solution deliver highly accurate results?
  • How fast can sales reps turn insights into actions?
  • Can the solution adapt to my specific need today and tomorrow?
  • Is the IR solution scalable?
  • Is it easy to set up and maintain?
  • What are its integration capabilities?
  • What is in place to help you succeed in this project?

Planorama pioneered the use of Image Recognition for retail, adapting our deep learning algorithms to the retail environment specifically. Every day, our teams strive to provide our clients with a robust IR solution tailored to accompany their growth ambitions and support their field forces in store. So, if you’re interested in revolutionizing your retail execution, get in touch or book a free demo to see it in action!

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Topics: image recognition, retail execution