Interview: Carnegie Mellon Professor Ari Lightman On How Students Are Empowered By Learning To Use Brandwatch Consumer Research
By Kara FinnertyJun 10
Published August 18th 2016
It’s fair to say that the retail landscape is rather tumultuous and unpredictable but, in reality, this uncertainty represents a fantastic opportunity for brands to step back and look at their business and take this time to capitalize on technological innovations and drive improvements in their revenue streams.
In order to make the most of any uncertainty in the retail markets, companies need only embrace one of the most rapidly emerging forms of technology in this field – crowdsourcing – and the many tangible benefits which it’s having for businesses in creating a far greater understanding of their in-store brand presence across the entire estate of retailers, and ultimately grow their revenue streams.
The concept of crowdsourcing in itself is not new – dating back over a decade in fact – but the way in which it is being deployed in the retail environment certainly is.
Technological advancements, through the proliferation of smartphone app technology, has advanced crowdsourcing dramatically and made it a financially viable solution for CPG and FMCG companies seeking real-time business analytics that allows them to make impactful, revenue making decisions on their in-store presence.
It is understanding the evolution of crowdsourcing and where it is headed as a technological innovation which really showcases the benefits that it can have to businesses operating within the world of retail. To this end, Susan Viamari, vice president of Thought Leadership, IRi states,
Advancing technology has really given retailers and manufacturers a distinct advantage during these times of rapid and widespread change. By investing to understand how best to leverage new advances to really tap into the change, marketers throughout the CPG industry will identify exciting new ways to create real and lasting market advantages.
The growth of crowdsourcing as a viable business solution for brands stems from the widespread use of smartphones and the so-called ‘Gig Economy’, which essentially refers to a whole raft of people who are looking to move away from the traditional 9-5 workday, and instead work on their own terms and make money as and when they wish, with smartphone apps being one method of doing so.
This worldwide shift in approach to working represents a phenomenal opportunity for those businesses operating in the retail markets to use this widespread ‘crowd’ as data gatherers.
Savvy businesses are using the crowd to check their brand activation, pricing and promotional activity across the entire estate of retail outlets to deliver unparalleled insights in an unprecedented timeframe.
Using promotional activity as an example: In-store promotional activity comes at a considerable cost to promote their products through various POP materials and if these are not being used as they’d hope, the potential loss of revenue can be substantial.
As such, more and more businesses that sell or promote products in store are tapping into the power of crowdsourcing to be their eyes on the ground, and provide telling insights on the performance of products at a store level – whether this be in the form of price comparisons, checking the display of their promotional materials or acting as mystery shoppers to ensure their brands are being communicated about in the correct way.
The potential of collecting these insights quickly and efficiently is made incredibly straightforward due to the prevalence of smartphone app technology; by 2017, over a third of the world’s population is projected to own a smartphone, an estimated total of almost 2.6 billion smartphone users in the world. This means that real-time data gathering becomes a reality for those operating in the real-world of retail.
The growth of the crowdsourcing market can largely be attributed to the surge in gamification, as witnessed by apps such as Pokemon Go.
The world of retail is able to experience unparalleled insights because more and more potential ‘Gig Economy’ workers are being incentivized to carry out data collection at a store level through gamification within smartphone apps such as Europe’s largest crowdsourcing platform, BeMyEye.
It’s often logistically impossible for businesses to ensure their products are being presented as they would hope at every single store with their own staff, but with the ever increasing number of workers within the Gig Economy incentivised by playing gamified apps in return for money, the opportunity is there for businesses to achieve a truly unprecedented, real-time overview of their products in-store.
Research shows that the crowd are capable of performing these tasks just as efficiently as professional data gatherers – a fact that only serves to make the crowdsourcing all the more enticing to big businesses.
Such is the sheer possibility of the crowd ready and willing to take part in crowdsourcing campaigns, there has never been a better time for CPG and FMCG companies to get involved and reap the benefits as they strive to overcome any uncertain market conditions which they are facing.
BeMyEye is the leading European mobile crowdsourcing business, leveraging people’s talent, locations and time to provide businesses with real world data insights, all with unparalleled reach and precision, at scale and in real-time.