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We’ve all heard the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In this fast-paced online world, it has never been more relevant. Not only is a picture worth a thousand words, “a picture has a thousand uses.” With CPG manufacturers and retailers alike all scrambling to keep up with the digital revolution of online shopping, one would think that taking an image of a product and sharing with all the relevant touch points would be an easy task for retail execution.

I have seen first-hand during my time at Nielsen Brandbank; the challenge of digitizing a product and sharing the assets with all the relevant streams. From PR, Brand, Marketing, Distribution, Store Operations, E-commerce and Distributors, through to the 1000’s of retailers across the globe selling the product both on and offline. I use the word “product,” as a singular rather than plural word, as if we extrapolate the issue across the hundreds if not thousands of new product developments (NPD) launched each year, you begin to understand the scale of the issue, not to mention the upkeep of existing product images and data as they go through redesign or reformulation.

Once SKUs arrive in store/online, after a NPD long process, ensuring a product is of the right quality, taste and price point to attract a customer to the shelf, the process of display and execution at the shelf begins. Aligning shelf to planogram is no easy feat and with the costs involved in getting products on the shelf, it’s no surprise CPG companies want to ensure their products are displayed in the right place, at the right time, and at the right price.

Well those images of the final products, combined with technology, can help speed up the shelf auditing and shelf replenishment process, helping to reduce the number of out-of-stocks (OOS), the use of POS data can take it a step further and predict OOS before they happen, based on facts and predictive analytics. Having spent many hours based in various Tesco stores across the UK, and witnessing first-hand the number of auditors that visit stores on a daily/weekly basis, combine this with hands-on experience stocking shelves in the run up to the hectic Christmas period, putting products in the right place, let alone finding the product on one of the many cages in the back room, is a huge challenge and one that requires continued monitoring and investment of many human hours.

Can Images and Technology Help?

Through the use of StayinFront Digital’s innovative and proprietary image recognition technology; time and effort can be better spent using the power of images to speed up an auditor’s activity. An image of the shelf can be interrogated by StayinFront software to reveal, Number of Facings, Out-of-Stocks and Share-of-Shelf, to name a few of the many KPIs that can be captured from a single image. At the same time, audit accuracy has improved by almost 20% to 96%+, allowing field reps to spend more time with store managers to talk through new ideas or merchandising solutions. The time saved can allow a rep to increase the number stores they are able to visit during the day. StayinFront Digital’s Merchandising software takes in-store execution to the next level, with real-time results and KPIs shared on a mobile device or tablet in a user-friendly dashboard, enabling actions to be taken at the shelf and fact-based conversations to be held with store managers.

Steve Bonsell, Account Director of the EMEA region for StayinFront, joined the Company in the Summer of 2019. In his role, he manages the relationship between the client and each of the StayinFront divisions, ensuring best practice, and that clients are kept informed of all new products and future innovations. Steve’s mantra is ‘Going the final mile to deliver customer delight.’ Having previously worked at Tesco for over 8 years and over 4 years at Nielsen Brandbank, Steve brings with him a wealth of FMCG experience from both a retailer and service provider perspective.


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