Implemented in a mobile application.
The merchandiser according to the daily plan, which is available on a smartphone with the application, is obliged to pay a visit to a point of sale, carry out routine maintenance, independently create a "new visit" in the system and provide a photo report.
To standardize the work of all field employees, the mobile application was created according to the wizard principle, which forces the user to go through certain mandatory steps and simplifies navigation.
The interface consists of 9 screens.
- User authorization.
- Individual "Work Schedule" of a merchandiser for the day with a list of outlets that he/she needs to visit. Available schedule for the week ahead.
- List of projects (projects relevant to the selected outlet).
- A screen with an option of taking photos of shelves in an outlet and a list of previously taken pictures.
- List of commodity items (from the matrix of the distribution network associated with a selected outlet and project).
- A form for filling out a report on commodity items. The report on commodity items may, by decision of the coordinator, be mandatory, and unless completed in full, the system won't allow further operations.
- A screen with the ability to take a photo after routine maintenance and a list of already taken photos (in fact, this screen is shown twice to create photos of the main album and for photos of an additional point of sale).
- A screen for comments. The merchandiser views customer comments on the previous visit and is required to leave a response, and can also write a comment on the current visit.
- A list of unsent visit reports. This list is necessary because in some cases, due to problems with the Internet connection, it is impossible to send a report right away and one needs to save information for later. This list is generated automatically.
When developing the application, several interesting options were also implemented.
1. The option for a field employee to work offline within 24 hours and send accumulated information in one package when stable connection to the network becomes available.
2. Inability to start using in the application if data for the previous day has not been not sent out.
3. To optimize outgoing traffic when creating a visit report, the application compresses the images and converts them to base64, then marks the photos, "detaches" them from the visit and sends them to the server in the background, where they are automatically attached to a required visit.
4. When a merchandiser works on creation of the next visit, the application automatically determines his/her coordinates and distance from a required point of sale. In the event that this distance is unreasonably large, the employee receives a warning that he is not where he should be, and a corresponding notification is sent to his coordinator.
Functionality for all other user groups is available in Personal Account web application. As mentioned above, interaction with the system occurs through two different interfaces - one for Acosta employees, the other for customers.
Operations in the system are available from any devices, and the frontend is adapted. A large percentage of information is presented in tabular form. Therefore, for convenience purposes when working with mobile phones, special scripts have been written in order to rearrange table rows into consecutive blocks.