BrandWorx is a well-established Channel Development enterprise that supports its clients in more than 23 Countries for over 16 Years. BrandWorx helps its clients establish their Sales & Distribution Channels in developing and informal economies via their operational organisation and outsourcing strategies. Such economies offer particular challenges to brands, where wholly-owned, locally-registered businesses represent 80% of the footprint and Pan-African Brands find it extremely difficult to enter the market.
BrandWorx approached Tangent Solutions with a request to build a mobile app to manage the day-to-day aspects of their client's mobile workforce. BrandWorx were keen to improve the way they assist clients in carrying out execution in trade by using marketing intelligence techniques which depend on capturing clean data and to maintain a close relationship with smaller retail outlets.
Specifically, BrandWorx required the functionality from an Android app providing a client-branded interface such as:
- Manage and supply outlet inspection schedules for brand representatives (reps)
- Manage ad hoc rescheduling flows
- Provide questionnaires to the brand reps to enforce data-collection quality
- Support the collection of data (such as uploads of images and stock counts) by the brand reps
- Enforce location analyses to ensure that the brand reps' data remains accurate (i.e. that the data sent comes from the specific, intended outlet)
- Custom reports for a high-level overview of data collected by brand reps
- Deep integration with BrandWorx B.I Platforms to serve real-time marketing intelligence to operational stakeholders.
Tangent Solutions created the Android application using Cross-Platform Xamarin. Development life cycles were supported with full regression testing, and SonarCloud implemented to guarantee code quality. The product is fully documented to support client training.
As Tangent Solutions is a mature service provider, certain future-proofing was incorporated into the app build. For example, the use of Cross-Platform Xamarin means that supporting the app in iOS is also an option.
Tangent Solutions controlled for real-world issues such as network connectivity loss or a temporary loss of available data on the part of the brand rep. When the brand rep is online, submissions are processed asynchronously. Offline capability is supported using a local SQLite database to upload the submissions on reconnection. Push notifications used to manage the brand reps were implemented using Microsoft Firebase.
The data collected is collated into live reports for use by brand managers. The data supporting the reporting and analytics are logged via Azure's App Center, and access to them controlled via user management and client accounts;, administered via a web console.
The app itself is distributed using Microsoft Azure DevOps.
BrandWorx can now empower its clients with an intuitive Android app to manage brand reps, stock, enforce agreements with retail outlets, and collate marketing data via one, unified system.
BrandWorx's clients are now better able to manage their direct relationships with retail outlets. By ensuring that brand managers have a simplified mechanism through which to communicate with brand reps, they can now collect all data required for the entire value chain. Brand managers can quickly and easily:
- add new outlets
- capture information about an outlet
- manage orders (including delivery and remittance)
- run promotions
- automate remedial tasks and triggered actions from intelligence gathered in field
- allow crowd-sourced brand reps to pick up jobs as required
- enforce the quality of data collection and submission
- enforce the location of products as per the outlet's planogram agreement
- navigate the reps to each of their locations scheduled for that specific day
- access reports providing data on stock, outlets, and the brand reps' activity
Tangent Solutions supports clients as their business environment evolves, ensuring top quality and cutting-edge technology, with the most recent libraries and best practices. In the case of the BrandWorx app, extended functionality has already been added in response to a request by one of BrandWorx’'s clients. The interface allows the client's brand reps to sell products, receive, and process cash payments. This, combined with the geolocation data collected by the app, offers huge potential for clients to manage ad hoc sales promotions using temporary staff – all through a single download.