Your ‘Best in Class’ Retail Execution Vendor

“The focus on providing insights at key stages in the selling process is exceptional.”Promotion Optimization Institute
 

Spring earns top marks in POI’s annual rankings.

Each year, as part of its Vendor Panorama, Promotion Optimization Institute (POI) evaluates key retail execution vendors and awards Best-in-Class distinctions to standout vendors based on key areas of functionality. This year Spring received top marks in 5 overall categories.

  • Guided Selling
  • Analytics Insights
  • Mobile User Experience
  • Social Selling
  • Gamification

2018 POI Vendor Panorama for Retail Execution and Monitoring in Consumer Goods

Spring Mobile Solutions

Customer profile: A global player that has doubled its number of users in the last 2 years. It was an early entrant into SaaS-based solutions and has a global footprint. SAP has a minority ownership position in Spring.

Geographic presence: North America (52%), Europe (9%), Latin America (35%), AsiaPac (3%), and Africa (1%).

Total consumer goods users (seats): 27,400.

Tiers represented: All.

Solution offerings: Distributor management, DSD, merchandising, and van sales.

Major product sub-segments not covered: None.

Analytics: Continue to evolve through collaboration with a global beverage company and other key customers. It combines out-of-the-box functionality through dashboards and views plus reports and third-party analytics tools. All are fully embedded. In particular we like the approach of having analytical elements placed throughout the selling flow, right where they are needed, as opposed to in a single analytical area or cockpit. We find the upgraded analytics to be extremely insightful and action oriented through branching logic. It is known as MobileSellingStories and is focused on customer-specific analytics for product sell-in, secondary displays, and promotions to store managers with store-level data. It includes simulation capabilities that describe scenarios for a store manager (like what will happen if they take a display program based on peer stores). The suggested order capability rolls up to the packing quantities for the entire truck.

We also like the use of Tableau reporting to generate PDF reports and push them to users on a daily basis without having to purchase a license for each user. This offering comes with the service personnel required, if desired, to perform this function. This is further enhanced by the Nielsen relationship to provide additional data elements/insights that are combined with analytics and collateral to deliver a compelling interaction at the store level. Our review of this analytical offering for both field and office-based users found it to be unsurpassed in the industry for the level of insights, actionability, and how they render visually. We rate it as Above Average.

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“The quality of the UX is highly differentiated both on the device and back-office solution.”Promotion Optimization Institute

Spring was one of only two vendors to receive high marks from POI in every business category:

Product Aptness & Flexibility Delivery Flexibility Solution Completeness “Sell More” Capabilities User Experience Analytical Capabilities Product Vision Configurability Company Viability Geographic Strategy Responsiveness & Track Record Deployment Capabilities Market Understanding Vertical/Industry Strategy Partner Leverage Company Vision

Vendor trend: The trend is very positive in growth and strong client retention. The roadmap through 2019 is highly focused on the “sell more” and advanced analytical capabilities in innovative ways that include vocal instructions, visibility into delivery activities, scheduling store visits automatically when certain conditions are met, automatic mileage tracking, in-flight tasking/re-tasking of field personnel by managers, and more ability to capture best practices through expanded social selling. It is an exceptional roadmap.

Strengths: The focus on providing insights at key stages in the selling process is exceptional, whether it is Perfect Store, or just getting the most from a sales visit. The approach to gamification, known as “Top 3 and Me,” offers the ability to view the leaderboard and understand what is needed to close the distance to them and is one of the best we have seen.

The Chatter-based social capability is highly evolved. It can do keyword searches to better share best practices. It also works in off-line mode and the tasking of a peer is an extension of the social, so the insight can lead to an action.

Another strength is the ability to embed itself into its prospects and clients. The company is very high touch in its approach to the sales cycle and subsequent follow up, more so than most vendors we have seen. This service level drives loyalty and retention. Having two global deployment partners as well as some locals is a real plus compared to many peers that only offer a patchwork of local service providers.

Challenges: We don’t see any significant challenges except for those associated with managing very high growth. The high-touch approach to managing clients, along with high-end analytics and UX, will make it very hard to compete with some of the very low-cost solutions.

“The analytics and depth of what we would call a ‘mobile business review’ are beyond anything we have seen … The roadmap is perhaps the best we have seen because of how it focuses on sales efficiency and effectiveness.”Promotion Optimization Institute
Adjacent offerings: Device management and field service (Latin America only). The Distributor insight product for automating the gathering, cleansing, and reporting of distributor sales and customer data.

Key differentiators: The quality of the UX is highly differentiated both on the device and back-office solution. The analytics and depth of what we would call a “mobile business review” are beyond anything we have seen. The strength of the partnership with SAP for integration is also a big plus. The roadmap is perhaps the best we have seen because of how it focuses on sales efficiency and effectiveness, or simply selling more.

Outlook & prognosis: A global leadership role where “sell more” capabilities are required.

Evaluate Spring when: You want a partner that will take the time to understand your processes and work with you to optimize them rather than just sell you software and show you how to use the configuration tools. Also, if you want a global footprint with a single back-end system for all routes to market and ability to create hybrid business processes.

Avoid Spring if: You seek an on-premises solution, are prone to customizing, or just want something inexpensive to meet transactional requirements.

Distinctions: POI Best-in-Class awards for Analytical Insights, Guided Selling, Social Selling, Mobile UX, Gamification.

Configuration/Customization: Primarily configuration. Customization is an option, but not recommended. Spring prefers to build special requirements into the base product instead of as customizations on a customer-by-customer basis.

Technology architecture/delivery options: Cloud-based multitenant SaaS. On-premises is an option if the customer insists.

Service partners: Infosys and Gapgemini (Global strategic partners), YKP (LatAm), Mindtree, Tectura, K2, Unisys (Customer Support in LatAm). Also, AT&T, Amazon, and Microsoft Azure for hosting.

Technology partners: SAP for data model alignment, Nielsen for in-store data, Salesforce.com for off-line mobile chatter and CRM integration, Trax and Planorama for image recognition, Qlikview and Tableau for data visualization, Microsoft for several elements of technology.

User experience: The standout area in UX is the web or HQ version, which fully takes advantage of HTML 5 and is the personification of usability and insight. It is so unlike other back offices systems, which look more industrial and render like Excel. It provides more tools for managers such as seeing an entire list of activities in sequence – and which are not on the list – for visits that are seeking approval and a collateral publishing tool that understands which pieces are not being utilized and actually asks salespeople to provide feedback on them. The field tool is also enhanced with superior gamification that is a part of activities throughout the day as opposed to an afterthought. The dashboard is tile-based on the left with dial-based KPIs on the right based on what is selected on the left and the role for which they are configured. It is graphically rich, ergonomic, and quite pleasing. Action items based on observations or data feeds make for more of a flow than a series of tiles. One can create action items for a peer, and even a manager, to visit a store for a specified task.

The UX is very strong across the board and we continue to rate it as Above Average.