A Consumer’s Fresh Eye on the World of Retail Execution:
Image Recognition


written by Richard Burton, global director of customer success at Exceedra by telus

Consider this – it was only around 20 years ago when cameras were large, clunky, delicate tools that required ‘film’, processing and above all, a lot of patience to get a memory of the moment you were capturing.


At the same time, Apple was starting to see the potential of digital music – the same revolution started with digital image capture.  Whole industries around these two monumental parts of human life (sound + vision = emotions & memories) were turned upside down as the new formats and capabilities quickly took root.  It was not long before our mobile phones, which had also been purely for storing contacts and numbers started to quickly build both advanced sound and camera features.


For Retail Execution, there were huge gains that could be made by moving away from basic manual entry of store audit information to making use of mobile handheld devices with the ability to screen the shelves of a store.

Image Recognition Blog

Minority Report?

Our society is slowly starting to adopt some major enhancements to the way we interact with ‘everything’ – The internet of things (IoT) was the genesis moment for what many are now calling the 4th Industrial Revolution.  Huge segments of business are adopting digital technologies to help improve services, sales, and profits.


I am sure many of you remember the film ‘Minority Report’, where Tom Cruise is walking through a shopping mall being bombarded by advertisements and sales pitches driven through image recognition, in this case of the actors’ face and retina.  We are not quite there yet (at least with the 3D advertising!) but Image Recognition technology is evolving fast.

Stock Out!

What’s the big deal? – literally.  The worst outcome for a retailer or brand is to plan a major promotion to the shopper, supported by the retailer, only to end up with not enough of the product in stock to supply the intended demand that has been forecasted and planned.  This is just one of many examples where Image Recognition technology steps forward to provide a faster and more accurate method of auditing shelf space.


    • Is the shelf full or empty?
    • Is the right product on display?
    • Is the right price being displayed?
    • Is the right promotion and display being activated in the right location?


Taking a big step forward, with the use of Image Recognition, we can speed up the frequency that in-store audits are carried out, the authenticity of the audit (validating the images reflect the information provided) and ensure compliance has been met. Most importantly, the sales rep can take immediate action to correct the issue then and there, with seamless reporting and minimal intervention.


to analyze a photo for actionable insights




reduction of post-visit audits by third parties


The evolution of handheld devices has allowed the first major steps forward to create a digital audit.  Image Recognition software has been enhanced (in part due to the rapid explosion of video calling applications like Skype) to help match images back to brands and products.


But this is only the start.


Technology is pushing things even further – soon we are likely to see small mobile ‘robots’ trundling up and down shop aisles auditing the shelves. This technology is in place in several countries around the world and seems the next logical step, complemented with sales rep intervention at the point of purchase in the race for the perfect store.

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