Software vendor HighJump rolls out an application for collecting field marketing data.
HighJump Software is looking to help direct-store-delivery companies more
efficiently collect and analyze competitive data from retail locations.
The company's new Survey Management solution, announced March 31, includes a
Web-based server-side product for administering and analyzing competitive
surveys, and a data collection solution that runs on a handheld device.
According to Chad Collins, vice president of global strategy for HighJump
Software, a 3M company, many of his company's DSD clients already have people
running other HighJump supply chain solutions on handheld devices in the field,
and want to enable them to collect information on competing products.
"They want to capture data on the types of products competitors have,
pricing, the amount of available shelf space and competing promotional
materials," Collins said.
Using the solution, he said, a company can create a survey for use in the
field and build questions, responses and rules for it. The survey is then
downloaded to a sales or marketing manager's handheld device as part of its
built-in workflow, and, once collected, survey results are uploaded to the
server-side application for analysis.
"A store manager could also use the handheld to anonymously evaluate
the salesperson, with results visible on the server side only," Collins
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Bill Bittner, president of technology and business process consulting firm
BWH Consulting, said inconsistent data could pose a problem to companies trying
to collect data with Survey Management.
"The biggest challenge I see with something like this is trying to
normalize the data captured about competitors from different companies from
different DSD store personnel," Bittner said. "Category analysis
and promotion evaluation need some consistency on how these characteristics are
classified and recorded. If you are going to try to make comparisons, each
DSD route person has to be trained on how to capture the information and view
it the same way."
Bittner said direct store delivery is an area that is ripe for a solution
that can comprehensively collect and analyze field data.
"In some respects, DSD is the 'last frontier' of retail," he
said. "The fragmented nature of DSD operations and the often
competing goals of route people versus both corporate [headquarters] and the
retailer make understanding what is happening in the field more important than
when dealing with warehoused products. The HighJump solution seems to hold out
the potential for putting some light on the subject."
Dan Berthiaume covers the retail space for eWEEK. For
more industry news, check out eWEEK.com's Retail Site.