New Features, New Faces, More Gigwalking at Retail

Did you know…

According to GMA estimates, 25% of out-of-stock items are actually in the store, just not in the right place?

3/4 of out of stocks are because of problems at the retail level? (Also from the GMA)

IHL Group estimates that inventory distortion (out of stocks and over stocks) cost retailers nearly $800 Billion globally every year.  


There are many different kinds of businesses that have benefited from deploying our workforce to get things done anywhere. When you look at the numbers, it’s clear the ones who need it most are the consumer goods and retail industries, and those numbers don’t even count things like poor customer service, display non-compliance and other errors at retail. 

As we scale, we continue to learn what the industry needs to collect data and perform work in stores with Gigwalk. Not only did we release great new features to help customers filter and analyze all the data Gigwalkers collect, but we’re also building an entire team dedicated to giving consumer goods and retail companies the best possible experience. 

Our New Features

Gigwalk is built to do more than just report back on the state of your retail execution. Our product can help you spot trends, and if you want, even fix problems on site so that you don’t miss a single day of sales. Some tasks are small, such as requiring a certain format of response from your Gigwalker. Others are huge - allowing you to see all your data in easy-to-read graphs, and filter them to spot trends as your data comes in.  Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to see why sales at a specific retailer are lower than at others. Once you go to the results section, you’ll see graphs of your results from all locations like this:

Then you can filter based on any number of variables to find out where the trouble might be. Here for example, we filtered to a particular retailer:

Gigwalk’s New Team

Did you know Gigwalk now has 2 new offices? In addition to our headquarters in San Francisco, we now have employees in Sarasota, Florida and Northwest Arkansas, and are hiring more people in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York!  This team is focused on making sure Gigwalk is as helpful as possible to people in the consumer goods and retail industries. Who better to lead this team than two industry vets?

Tom Dowdy is our General Manager of Retail and Brands.  He’s been in the CPG/Retail industry for over 25 years holding sales & marketing positions with Johnson & Johnson, Unilever and Combe Inc. Tom founded National In-Store in 1994 which became one of the top 5 retail service companies in the USA and was sold to Omnicom Group.

Joe Tomandao is our Vice President of National Brands. Joe was most recently at Field Agent, and has also worked at Driveline Merchandising, Promoworks, and ClickIQ. Joe’s our first employee in Northwest Arkansas and has been helping people in the retail and CPG industries for 10 years. 

We love hearing feedback from our customers about what we can do to help them have the best possible experience on Gigwalk.  If you ever want to give us feedback on the posting experience, or even just say hi, you can email us at mobilize@gigwalk.com, or to request a demo, enter your information here, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

Welcome to May? No… Welcome to summer!

It’s a sunny, 80 degree day here in San Francisco (not a common occurrence). It can only mean one thing. It must be May.

Summer doesn’t officially start for a couple of months, but so much about May reminds us of the summer season, from laying out in the sun to the start of the summer grilling season. 

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It’s also the start of summer season for consumer goods companies. Summer is a big time at retail for so many reasons. July 4th cook-outs mean burgers and hot dogs and all the things that go with it (anyone down for an ice cold beer?). There’s Mother’s and Father’s day. Skin care products are huge for the beach and pool crowd. We can’t forget graduation… and on the other end of summer - Back to school. There are a lot of industries that depend on the summer time to meet their annual sales goals.

That doesn’t mean that summer time has to be stressful.  That’s why we’re here.

Sales of your state of the art new sunscreen not up to snuff? Send Gigwalkers out to report back on why.  Here’s the kicker - have them fix the problem while they’re on-site, wherever you want, and on your schedule.

Have a delicious new condiment that will change the world of hamburgers, and need help figuring out the right packaging? Gigwalkers can interview customers while they’re shopping for ketchup or mustard AND hand out samples while they do it.

Need to check whether sales associates are recommending your headphones for graduation presents? Gigwalkers can mystery shop wherever in the country you need them to. 

Want to make sure a competitor isn’t undercutting your prices? We can send out Gigwalkers every month, week, day (or more) to monitor trends and stay ahead of the competition.

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Remember how much you used to look forward to summer vacation? Well, we can’t bring back 2 months off from school, but we can help you take a break from the stress of your retail execution. Get in touch and we’ll show you what we can do!

A Story About Shelf Space

We work with businesses of all sizes at Gigwalk. While all our customers have great stories, there are a few that stand out, especially when it comes to small and medium businesses. For the small consumer goods companies we work with, it’s often about the battle for shelf space in stores.

It’s hard enough for them to get their product into stores when they don’t have a famous brand name behind them. Once they’re in, the product has to sell enough to keep the shelf space they have (and ideally, get more). The problem is, there’s a lot that can go wrong at retail that’s out of their hands. Maybe their product is in the wrong place, or store associates aren’t re-stocking the shelves. In fact, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) estimates that 25% of the time a  product is out of stock on the shelf or display, the item is actually in the store somewhere.

Oasis Consumer Healthcare is a company owned by doctors, dentists and scientists. One of their products is Halo, an oral antiseptic that helps protect against airborne illness. They learned that sales in 10% of its stores were down across a major retail chain in some parts of the country, but they were strong everywhere else. With only 5 weeks left in a 12-week test-run, they had to do something fast, or risk losing the shelf space they fought so hard to get. So they decided to use Gigwalk to find out what was going on.

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Here’s our favorite part of this story: For the price of a smartphone, they received 300 photos and 450 data points that helped them find out exactly where there were problems at retail, fix them, and ensure their product launch was a success. We love it because their story isn’t just about a mobile app. It’s about what you can do when there are hundreds of thousands of people available on-demand to show you exactly what your product looks like in stores at a moment’s notice.

Want to learn more about the Oasis Consumer Healthcare story? Download the case study. 

Is the PC Dying?

Last week there was some pretty grim stats released on PC sales. According to International Data Corp (IDC), PC sales dropped 14% - The largest drop since they started keeping records of it in 1994, and the 4th consecutive quarter of year-over-year drops. 

We’ve known for a while now that mobile devices are a huge reason for the drop in sales of PCs. Last week, Gigwalk co-founder Matt Crampton spoke to CCTV about the effect of mobile devices on PC sales. 

Watch Matt’s take on PC’s recent sales stats

Business sales may be the PC industry’s only saving grace – for now. Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner says, “Unlike the consumer PC segment, the professional PC market, which accounts for about half of overall PC shipments, has seen growth, driven by continuing PC refreshes. Despite the fact that some regions already passed the peak of PC refresh, overall professional PC demand continued to grow.”

However, even businesses are quickly learning the benefits to arming their employees with mobile phones. Gigwalk is a perfect example. Businesses can quickly hire thousands of temporary workers at one time, all through the worker’s smartphone. The worker can do all the work through their phone and submit it instantly. Businesses are loving this because not only is the process of hiring faster, but they are getting the work submitted faster, and they get geo-tagged validation that work was done in the right place, with time verification that it was done at the right time. All of these are possible because of features inherent to mobile devices, and it’s making their businesses more efficient.

What’s your company’s policy on mobile devices? Do you get one just for phone calls and emails, or has it become an essential part of your everyday responsibilities? Do you have a BYOD policy, or do you get a company issued phone, and if so what kind? Let us know in the comments!

Showrooming isn’t a threat — but a new way of doing business

Picture this consumer. She’s in your store and spots a shiny object on one of your shelves, only to gasp at the price then impulsively reach for her iPhone. You watch, horrified, as she pulls up Safari or Google or the Amazon app, and BAM, instantly finds a better deal. With a cocky flip of her hair, she breezes by the store staff unapologetic and empty-handed, knowing she can get (or already got) her new toy for less elsewhere. What just happened? She just committed "Showrooming", the retail killer.

She used to comparison shop in-aisle, at point of purchase, with maybe an advertisement in mind or a flyer in hand to distract her. Then came the interwebs. Online shopping brought her a wealth of new options to buy from. Sure, it also brought delayed gratification, but why not if there are deals to be had? And if the goodies arrive only two days later, thanks to Amazon Prime?

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An infographic from Aprimo about the growing trend of Showrooming

As Best Buy knows from store closures and reductions in footprint, showrooming is a serious threat and here to stay, with Wi-Fi and the proliferation of smartphones aiding and abetting consumer behavior. Some retailers have panicked in response. Target apparently stopped selling the Kindle, perceiving Amazon as a showrooming enabler, while others have actually penalized shoppers with a $5 surcharge for looking online.

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A store in Australia attempting to do something about showrooming

Why prevent or punish showrooming when it represents a shift in consumer behavior? Consumers have every right to browse. Shopping is increasingly online and mobile, with smartphones merely driving the convergence of online with offline. As a recent mobile shopping study of nearly 2000 consumers revealed, 80% of respondents want more mobile-accessible product information when they’re shopping at retail, and over 73% have comparison shopped in-store using their smartphones. 

Rather than run, retailers should embrace and integrate mobile into the shopping experience, recognizing the influence mobile can have leading right up to the point of purchase.

Don’t Fear Mobile, Marry it into the Mix

As Mobile Commerce Daily points out, marrying in-store and digital marketing efforts for a holistic approach is the way to succeed with modern consumers. Savvy retailers understand and accept mobile browsing, letting shoppers

  • Opt-in to special in-store programs and prompts: triggering conversion using QR codes, SMS promotions, mobile coupons, social media campaigns, and links to videos  
  • Access their proprietary mobile apps: making it possible to easily look up products and pricing, and to answer questions when staff isn’t around
  • Take advantage of better prices found online: expediting the purchase with a price-match guarantee, as painful as that may sound 

These in-store, mobile activation instances extend the shopping experience within and beyond the store environment. They also enable savvy brands and retailers to capture data to better understand customer preferences, optimize staffing, and refine the shopping experience while building loyalty.

Adapt and Anticipate to Lead

The advent of mobile tactics in-store demonstrates a deeper understanding of consumer behavior. By extending its Low Price guarantee to match online retailers and opening up its store inventory data to the comparison shopping app RedLaser, Best Buy serves as an excellent example of a retailer tackling showrooming head on. Best Buy understands exactly what consumers want: the best possible options available, regardless of channel.

Companies that succeed don’t just follow but anticipate shifts in consumer behavior. They lead their industries by adapting to compete. Take House of Cards, original programming offered by Netflix for consumers to view at their own pace. As Forbes states, House of Cards represents the future of television with new and entrenched industry players all scrambling to develop their own programming and evolve their business models. 

Get the Data to Win Her Back

Back to showrooming, a new norm to contend with at retail. The heightened competition offline and online means knowing what’s happening in these store environments across markets is more important than ever. Retailers and product manufacturers need intelligent and efficient ways to gather field data to inform their tactics.

An on-demand, mobile workforce like Gigwalk can help you truly understand what mobile means to the shopping experience, how others are redefining the multichannel customer conversation across locations, and what you can do to refine your programs to win. You can also use Gigwalk to test your mobile apps and trial usability with a subset of your target market. 

The information you need is out there, to harness showrooming to your benefit. Don’t let your shoppers get away, whether they’re in store or not. Meet your consumers and hold that dialog wherever they browse. So that the next time a consumer starts browsing her iPhone instead of your shelves, a charming staffer or enticing promotion makes her promptly put it back in her pocket — or buy from your site instead of theirs.

Tanya Loh, Director of Customer and Business Development

Gigwalk Product Team on the News!

You may not know this, but Gigwalk has a celebrity in the office. Our product manager, AJ Balance, played a young Dax Shepard in the movie Let’s Go to Prison. Fortunately for us, he decided to forego the lights and fame of Hollywood to help build Gigwalk.

Recently, AJ got to be back in the spotlight, representing Gigwalk on international TV. Gigwalk was invited to speak with CCTV America about Blackberry’s latest move in the smartphone wars. What a great opportunity to discuss global technology trends, and show the world we are thinking big at Gigwalk!  As Gigwalk brings mobile work to the world, we are rolling up our sleeves and weighing in on the public dialogue about the forces shaping the mobile tech industry. 

Click on the image below to check out the video of AJ on CCTV!

Designed By Gigwalk. For You.

As you may have noticed, Gigwalk is getting a makeover. Not only are we are changing the face of our product, we are also evolving how we design it. As we work to deliver a delightful and simple user experience, we are staying focused on one thing — making things easier for you.

Take our recent customer dashboard redesign. The inspiration for it emerged directly from ongoing conversations this fall with customers. In talking with Stacy, a customer who graciously gives us feedback regularly, it was apparent that redesigning the dashboard had the potential to streamline her entire Gigwalk experience, while also unveiling the magic of Gigwalk.

Every day, Stacy would come to Gigwalk to find out what had happened on her Gigs, and see what she could do next to advance the business objectives of her clients. She needed to be able to tell which Gigs required attention (such as extending a due date or increasing the price), and which ones were ready for review. She needed information, and the ability to act on it.

Realizing this was true for almost all of our customers, we headed to the drawing board — literally. As Doug Bowman (Creative Director at Twitter) put it, “Know very well the reasons for a redesign.” So that was exactly what we sought to do.

We collected hundreds of pieces of customer feedback and clustered them into major themes.

 

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After much discussion and debate, we identified three primary goals for the new Dashboard design:

  • Glanceable Status: What’s happening across my Gigs and with my active Gigwalkers?
  • Clear Next Steps: What can I do to move the ball forward and see the results?   
  • Swift Actionability: How can I quickly get to the items I need to take action?

With those guiding goals in place, we designed an early prototype.

 

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To make sure we met the right needs, we conducted in-depth testing sessions with customers. They identified which goals were being achieved, what areas were valuable, and which pieces were missing.

We iterated our design, collected feedback, iterated, collected feedback, and iterated…you get the idea. The final design is something we hope speaks to your goals, and provides fertile ground to move our product into the future.

 

 

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As we advance our look and feel, we hope you continue to inspire us and guide our intuition. We are excited about the progress to date, and eager to continuing building a simple, elegant product that helps you send our workforce to the front lines of your business with ease.

(If you’d like more information on simple user testing at small companies, Design Staff has many great resources for the Designers/Product Folk who would be Researchers).

~AJ Balance (Product Manager) & Will Dzierson (Product Design Lead)

How many holidays can we pack into one month?

Spring is around the corner, which means St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness, and Easter are all on the horizon. 

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent $16.8 Billion dollars for Easter and $4.6 Billion dollars on St. Patrick’s day. Spring means it’s the season for allergy medicine and sunscreen. From now until April 8th, grocery stores everywhere will have displays like this:

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Whether your product is  jelly beans or decongestant, partnering with Gigwalk to access our mobile workforce of more than 250,000 allows you to quickly, easily, and efficiently check your distribution, stock, advertising, and displays. Here are some great ways to make sure your retail execution is flawless during any major holiday season.

Conduct pricing and stock audits: Ensuring that your company’s products are on the shelves is key.  Retail research has shown that customers will leave a store or go for an alternate brand if they can’t easily find what they’re looking for. Post a Gig to have a local Gigwalker visit specific retail locations, and verify that your products are on the shelf and get the scoop on competitor pricing while they’re there. Have them take time stamped and geo-tagged photos to see first-hand any issues their work uncovers.

Verify that seasonal displays, advertising and promotions are running as planned: Has your company invested in expensive seasonal displays, advertising and promotions? If so, it’s important to make sure that the placement is right, that creative and signage is displayed correctly, and that product is fully stocked. deploy a local Gigwalker to verify that you’re getting the most bang for your buck. High quality execution of your seasonal displays help you achieve the best possible sales.

Launch holiday market research campaigns: If the spring holidays represent a significant piece of your annual sales, it’s important to know what people are buying and what’s driving those actions. Are they choosing your brand because of a sale, product placement, brand sentiment or something else? Deploy Gigwalkers to stake out your chosen locations and get feedback directly from customers at retail on your most critical questions.

Gigwalk can help you with all of these, so you can take control of your March retail execution. In fact, we just put together a case study that shows exactly what kind of insights you can get in just a week. Click here to download our Valentine’s Day case study

Big News at Gigwalk!

Today we made a couple of exciting announcements.

The first is that Gigwalk’s A-list roster of customers is growing.  Reckitt Benckiser is a major consumer goods company with hundreds of household products like Lysol, Easy Off, Woolite, Vicks and many more. They’re using Gigwalk to conduct on-location shopper interviews, and retail audits, which are helping them understand what drives sales.

Second - if you’ve visited Gigwalk.com today, you probably noticed that we’ve had quite the makeover. This update goes much deeper than our fancy new homepage

Our product and engineering teams have been hard at work building new products that make it easier to check on the products, people, and places that matter to your business. Today we released three major new features, including:  

Visibility: Your Dashboard

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See your workers and Gigs in action, assign new work, and get real-time updates

Collaboration: Your Colleagues on Gigwalk

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Onboard your entire team to Gigwalk, connect with colleagues, share results 

Organization: Your Gigs and Results

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Find and filter Gigs and locations, browse results, manage your account

Check out the updates at www.gigwalk.com You can also get more details about the new features here

~The Gigwalk Team

A Berry is a Berry is a Berry? Hardly.

A few weeks ago, Bob and I attended “Connections on Retail Insights and Consumer Engagement” in Monterey, California. An exclusive, invite-only event organized by the Produce Marketing Association and Progressive Grocer Magazine, “Connections” brought together produce suppliers with cutting edge marketing service providers for 20-minute private meetings. We spent the day “speed-dating” with fresh produce growers, shippers, packers, and marketers, a total of 14 different companies whose candor and openness enabled us to quickly and effectively assess fit and opportunity. 

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What we learned

Conversation after conversation brought to life the elaborate supply chain, operational complexities, and distribution challenges in bringing fruits and vegetables from farm to table. Sourced all over the world and subject to the threats of Mother Nature, fresh produce is constantly evolving in the face of competition, commoditization, and finicky consumer trends. We learned:

  • To be or not to be…a brand: What distinguishes a Well-Pict berry or a Monterey Mushroom from the generic baskets of strawberries or boxes of loose fungi in the produce section? Differentiation on quality, flavor, freshness, packaging, branding, and promotions are just a few of the dimensions. On top of supplying high quality product on a consistent basis, retail tactics must be carefully orchestrated and executed to convert shoppers into long term consumers who first recognize then choose your products. Otherwise a berry is a berry is a berry.
  • Innovation at work, to meet demand: We met with several companies launching new products and trialing alternative placement opportunities. They aim to address the needs of picky consumers who increasingly demand year round availability, shopping convenience, and distinct benefits like health and wellness at low cost. These companies operate at unfathomably tight margins in sourcing globally to deliver locally. (Meanwhile, I can’t wait until I can swing by my neighborhood 7-Eleven for a snack pack of Fresh One sweet cherry tomatoes or the nearest Safeway for a bag of microwaveable artichokes.)
  • There’s serious shrinkage, beware: According to industry experts, “up to one in seven truckloads of fresh food delivered to supermarkets gets thrown away”*. The causes of this waste? Some cite theft or product decay, while others blame supply chain issues and logistics gaps. Most disturbing: with such extensive distribution channels and dependence on third party brokers to collect data and combat retailer complacency for competing accounts, it can be extremely difficult to pinpoint exactly why and where.

That’s where Gigwalk comes in, by serving as the eyes, ears, arms, and legs to any organization with an offline footprint seeking information and action along those frontlines — that critical last mile where consumers are filling their baskets. Our flexible, location-based workforce focuses on getting each individual job done in their neighborhoods, while our product aggregates in real time the photos and information they submit.

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Hmm, Earthbound’s bagged salads look a bit flat and understocked at my neighborhood Whole Foods.

Gigwalk already includes among its customer base an impressive roster of household brands, from leading consumer packaged goods companies to top tier management consulting firms. That Gigwalk can also aid fresh produce purveyors, these family-owned businesses who for generations have tilled the land and sought to bring the best quality fruits and vegetables to our homes, makes me proud. Our platform of 220,000 on demand, mobile workers in 6500+ cities are ready and waiting to be activated in an instant, to extend the reach of these businesses and maximize sales by improving merchandising and the customer experience wherever the store.

“Connections” is just one of many events we’ll tackle as the Gigwalk growth story continues and we find new and innovative ways to augment our product capabilities and mobilize our active base of Gigwalkers to best serve customer needs across industries. Stay tuned!

The newest member of the Gigwalk team, Tanya will be looking after customer acquisition and business development. Find her on twitter: @tloh.

*Source: “A Retailer’s Recipe for Fresher Food and Far Less Shrink” by Oliver Wyman