Blog Cover ParallelDots announces instant alert notifications with WhatsApp Messenger to aid retail audits

When it comes to digital retail audits powered by Image Recognition, nothing is more powerful than sending a timely alert to the field reps on gaps in shelf execution in the most simple and actionable manner. At ParallelDots, our response to this problem was sending real-time push notifications to the reps within 1-2 minute after he has submitted his store check.

While we continue to enhance our real-time push notification service to deliver shelf insights, we have also launched WhatsApp alerts to deliver this critical information over the world’s most popular messaging platform.

Why the need for a different alert platform was felt to power Retail Audits ?

WhatsApp is a widely popular messaging app that is used across platforms. It provides instant messaging to share content like docs, images, media and is used by over 2 billion people worldwide. Because of its widespread usage, WhatsApp is the most familiar interface for almost any user in the world.

Thus, by providing WhatsApp alerts, we felt that we can reach out to the field reps on a platform which they are very familiar with and would engage the most. In our own internal assessment, we have found that field reps need to familiarise themselves with the user-interface of a new app when trying to comprehend actionable steps from a digital shelf audit report. Complex UI with data and visualisations have low adoption with reps, especially when they are on a sales call and do not have enough time to figure out actionable steps.

With WhatsApp alerts, we wanted to remove any friction between sending a report and reps taking action on it. Whenever a key shelf execution KPI is found to be below the compliance threshold, reps will get an alert message on their WhatsApp in their own language. For example – in one of our project, reps receive out of stock alerts on WhatsApp where they see the outlet name, category name and a list of SKUs that are not available on the shelf. The field reps were getting these alerts within 2 minutes of submitting the checks using ShelfWatch mobile app.

Compared to push notifications, we found that reps were two times more likely to take actions when they receive an easy-to-read message on WhatsApp with a list of SKUs that they need to replenish on the shelf. Buoyed by the success of this project, we are coming out of beta and launching WhatsApp alerts publically!

How WhatsApp Integration will help brands conduct retail audits –

In our experience, we have found better adoption of WhatsApp alerts with the reps. Due to this, reps are more likely to engage with the retail audit reports and take action on them.

Furthermore, these alerts are highly customizable – be it any language or supporting multiple templates for different scenarios as outlined by the customer. Using WhatsApp alerts, CPG customers can quickly create a template and send it to a targeted set of users.

While we explored only one use-case of providing real-time out-of-stock alerts after shelf audits, CPG teams can leverage this for other use-cases such as alerting reps on deployment of new planograms, share ad-hoc tasks and surveys. Similarly, they can use the service to increase the engagement with their field reps by sending them weekly and monthly updates on their performance and the incentives they have achieved.

How WhatsApp Integration will help Merchandising and SFA Companies –

When merchandising and SFA companies integrate their solution with Image Recognition (IR) technology, one of the issues faced by them is to integrate the real-time reports from IR within their SFA application. This would mean they would have to integrate an API from the IR supplier and develop a user-interface to display the response from the API. 

Developing this UI is an exhaustive and time-taking process. With ParallelDots ShelfWatch WhatsApp alert system, this step can be bypassed. Insights generated by our AI can now directly be provided to the WhatsApp accounts of the relevant users in real-time. This would mean that reps can take photos using their existing SFA apps which is then processed by a third-party IR solution like ShelfWatch through backend integration, and they can receive real-time alerts on WhatsApp.

What if your organisation does not allow WhatsApp?

If your organisation’s IT policies does not allow use of WhatsApp for sharing information, we can also send such alerts on your enterprise messaging platform like Microsoft Teams, Slack and Google Chat.

With its history of innovation and customer-centricity, ParallelDots listens to its customers and strives to continually improve and cater to their needs by designing novel updates, making digital transformation of the Consumer Goods industry easy and affordable. WhatsApp alerts is the result of co-development that ParallelDots often undertakes with its customer to ensure that a win-win solution can be created for everyone.

If you are an existing ParallelDots customer or a new customer and interested in trialling this feature, please drop us an email at, and we would be happy to set this up for you.

Liked the blog? Check out our other blogs to see how image recognition technology can help brands improve their execution strategies in retail.

Want to see how your own brand is performing on the shelves? Click here to schedule a free demo for ShelfWatch.

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