Market Insights


by Wade Garland ¬ 06/23/2015

A killer sales promotion, full integration with brand strategy, flawless retail execution. FMOT Boom !! Just sit back and watch the sales roll in.

And then there’s what actually happens…

Consider this: a consumer brand might have distribution across 10,000 locations in a single market. That same brand might experience problems in 15%* of them – not a big number perhaps but a LOT of missed sales opportunities.

In fact, outages at the point of sale, such as out of stocks during key promotional periods, incorrect product facings and missing or damaged POS materials cost millions in lost revenue opportunities and dramatically undermine brand value.

The challenge: how to find those 1,500 ‘problem locations’ and get them fixed, fast enough to actually make a difference.

Well, new technology, in the form of the Mobile Workforce – a geographically distributed army of smartphone users – is dramatically changing what’s possible.

Everything you need to know about the mobile workforce in just 60 sec…

The premise is simple: crowd-source, train and manage a community of ‘on demand workers’ from all walks of life – students, office workers and home executives. Ensure the community is spread out across the areas and locations you want to cover. Put an App on their phones allowing them to claim and complete information collection tasks near their location. Make this workforce available to brands and retailers hungry for retail intelligence.

Getting the right information, from the right location at the right time (at a reasonable cost)…

Suddenly, it’s possible to capture information within hours, instead of days or weeks. You can check ANY location – hypermarkets, supermarkets, general trade, street corners, wherever – complete with data, photos and videos where required. And you can get high quality, validated data in real time.

You can instantly run a report that shows every location currently out of stock, or all the places where POS materials need replacing, or just take a look at the status of key locations. All without ever leaving your own office.

Using the right type of people in the right way…

True community management principals and elements of gamification are typically employed to ensure a workforce of motivated participants whom are happy to help out, get paid a little cash and have some fun in the process. And as they are already near locations of interest, there is little or no travel involved. All of these aspects conspire to make this approach significantly less expensive than traditional methods.

Coming to a retail store near you near you…

Mobile Workforces are heavily employed across the US, UK and Europe and are now making their appearance in Asia with Red Ocean Solutions’ SmartRocket ( Like any system, they have limitations, but as a means to quickly and cost effectively access retail information from any location, they are having a dramatic impact on retail optimization and effectiveness.