Zenput Explains Mobile App
We spoke with mobile enterprise company Zenput, based in San Francisco, Calif., about the private label implications of its mobile application, which provides a robust solution to increase compliance and retail execution in stores. The company was started in 2012 by Vladik Rikhter, CEO, and John Clarke Mills, CTO, and helps employees complete tasks assigned to them by the company, including taking photos.
Jamie Grill-Goodman: What data are companies capturing with mobile phone to examine their private label business?
Vladik Rikhter, CEO, Zenput: Companies are able to capture vital store-level data that can be used to make business decisions. Typically, we see companies capture information about execution of programs related to their private label business. Taking photos of promotional displays, end caps, and signage, as well as noting off where product is missing or if there is opportunity to improve the private label business in the store.
JG: What benefits does capturing this data in real-time offer?
VR: Store checkup forms are often still being filled out on paper and sent by email, processes that can take hours, even days to complete. As a result, the information is outdated before it even enters an executive’s mailbox. With real-time data submitted right after the manager finishes his inspection of the location, executives know exactly what is going on inside their stores and can examine each location in-depth, all on one easy-to-use website. With real-time data, executives can make decisions faster than they would be able to do otherwise.
JG: Which team members are responsible for collecting this data typically?
VR: It is usually a district manager that goes around the stores that he/she is responsible for, captures the data on his/her mobile device and submits it, providing higher-level executives with immediate access to the data. We’ve started seeing some of the smaller chains empower store managers to do the same, thus lowering the travel time for district managers.
JG: How does mobile data collection improve accountability and employees’ strive for excellence?
VR: With the Zenput app, higher-level executives know that the district managers and store employees are doing their jobs. With GPS pinpoint location and automatic time stamp, there can be no question whether an employee was actually at a location at the time he/she had to be at that location. With the knowledge that executives have easy access to all aspects of store-level operation, employees will be more encouraged to perform their duties punctually and meticulously.
JG: Can executives view the same data through the website from any location?
VR: Executives can view data from any computer or tablet, any time. We’ve noticed a tremendous increase in the usage of iPads by executives while they are traveling. Imagine sitting in an airport and being able to browse through a dashboard or hundreds of photos, all at your fingertips.
JG: What benefits does this provide a company with many regional offices?
VR: Instead of receiving hundreds of emails from hundreds of people, the company executives receive all the compiled data all in one place. If an executive wants to see how a particular region is doing, he/she can filter the submitted information by region and see all of the forms that were submitted in that region. This makes finding desired information among thousands of pieces of information a painless and expeditious process.
JG: What regional issues can mobile data tracking bring to light?
VR: In large-scale operations, things go wrong. Products are delivered to the wrong places, employees don’t execute their duties, and the unthinkable becomes reality. With easily-accessible insight into locations, executives can go in and pinpoint problems faster and more efficiently than with any other means of performance-tracking.
JG: How do patterns and correlations emerge from tracking this data?
VR: With detailed insight into locations, executives can determine the causes of a location’s good or bad performance more easily. If, for example, all locations that perform bad always have dirty bathrooms, the executive can filter all the submissions, pull up only the locations with dirty bathrooms, and act accordingly to fix the problem causing the poor performance.
JG: How does Zenput help maintain brand standards and what can this mean for private label brands?
VR: With real-time access to data from all locations, executives can ensure that their brands are being presented in the desired manner. Private label brands can ensure that their products are being placed in the correct locations, that their products are available and in stock, and that the products are in good condition when they arrive at the store. These types of insights help private label companies maintain brand standards across all of the locations in which their product is placed.