Untitled-4-01For companies operating within the CPG industry, gathering and utilizing market data should be the staple of any long-term strategy. Understanding the consumer and the competition is easier today than ever before as technology has simplified data collection and analytics software has become more affordable and powerful. While the methods of collecting data have evolved, many organizations are still operating the old-fashioned way—paying for their data.

A quick overview of how purchasing data works. Businesses pay thousands of dollars to massive companies who then send a team of employees to the various outlets where the product is located. The team collects information on any number of things—usually focusing on price and promotion. After all the data is collected, it is sent to the organization who commissioned the project, and they ask for the same data for the following week, month, or year.

While this is still a completely viable option for businesses in many industries, for CPG companies who have representatives in the field setting up merchandising displays or collecting purchase orders from retailers, purchasing the above data is a massive waste of resources. How can CPG companies simplify this process and save money and valuable resources? Every representative in the field is probably already equipped with the tools they need to collect pricing and merchandising data—a smartphone or tablet.

Field Activity Management Software allows your representatives who are already visiting retail locations to quickly perform pricing audits and send the data back to managers in real-time. Utilizing cloud technology means that as soon as the representative enters the information that they see in front of them, managers and business owners can react to the information. This could mean informing retailers that they are displaying the wrong price for your product or discovering that your competition is running a promotion and offering a lower price than your product. Going beyond price scans, some Field Activity Management Software offers the ability for field representatives to capture geo-tagged photos of merchandising displays using their smartphone or tablet—another aspect of the retail industry that managers will want to react to now rather than later.

For small businesses and startups that are strapped for funds and are hoping to grow quickly and expand into new retail locations, hiring independent firms to collect pricing data and report back is simply not an option. Leveraging already available technology means that employees will become more familiar with the product, important funds can be allocated elsewhere in the business, and reaction time to collected data can be much quicker. Paying for price scans is no longer efficient, and the sooner CPG companies transition to a newer system, the better.