Inside the ‘black box’: Crowdsourcing platform allows confectioners to gauge in-store impact

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Thousands of 'Gigwalkers' collect data at individual stores to help companies shore-up merchandising efforts
Thousands of 'Gigwalkers' collect data at individual stores to help companies shore-up merchandising efforts
US confectioners can measure the effectiveness of in-store merchandising and promotions in real-time and quickly correct any issues by drawing on a network of 800,000 contractors, says the founder of start-up Gigwalk.

San-Francisco-based Gigwalk​ has partnered with IRI so food companies can see how merchandising and promotions are really executed in individual stores.

Mobile technology firm Gigwalk has a network of 800,000 independent contractors  - ‘The Gigwalkers’ - that use its app to collect in-store data on elements such as pricing, promotion execution and stock levels. That data is interpreted using IRI’s analytical tools.

‘Literally it’s eyes’

Gigwalk CEO David Hale told ConfectioneryNews the platform gave confectioners visibility on what really happens in-store.

“Companies spend huge amounts of money on promotions then they don’t know what happens in the store itself. What happens in the black box is a mystery.”

Hale said it would allow confectioners to see whether a new line was being executed in store as well as older items.

“Literally it’s eyes – someone with a smartphone snapping a picture,”​ he said.

Gigwalkers take in-store photos so candy makers can assess how their products truly appear on-shelf.

Under current methods most CPG companies send sales or merchandising teams to do in-store spot checks, according to Hale,

“But there’s a big gap in visibility when a sales or merchandising team will get back to you,”​ he said.

“The execution is often very sloppy,”​ he continued. “People shouldn’t accept it.”

Correcting issues quickly with real-time data

IRI helps to interpret data collected by the Gigwalkers through its Liquid Data technology platform, allowing confectioners to assess factors like promotional spend and the overall effectiveness of their merchandising in real-time. The data can be fed to sales teams, helping them to correct promotional or pricing issues quickly.

“The pace of business is changing,”​ said Hale. “People want to be able to order something and get it in an hour. If you have real-time data you should be able to act more quickly.”

“Right now it’s an annual cycle. What companies need to do is to have data from this week and make changes by the weekend,”​ Hale said.

gigwalk how it works
Source: Gigwalk

Candy companies using Gigwalk

The Gigwalk boss said the technology afforded smaller companies the capabilities of large multinationals. He said small confectioners could have access to the Gigwalk platform for thousands rather than hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Two top-10 confectioners are already using the technology, while smaller candy makers such as the Piedmont Candy Company are also on-board.

Mary Cox, VP, sales and marketing at Piedmont Candy, said: “Because of Gigwalk, we were able to compare sell-through and out-of-stock rates, as well as gather competitive analysis in a large wholesaler. These weekly audits resulted in us eventually winning the business and pushing out our competitor.”

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