Who are Zaptic?
Zaptic is a UK-based SaaS business. We offer a solution for the field marketing industry which has been implemented by brands, retailers and agencies and has attracted investment from Silicon Valley, including former Microsoft executives, responsible for bringing Excel and Word to the world.
Why did the product come to be?
Zaptic started as a digital agency, working on projects for Unilever, Carlsberg and Heineken. This exposed us to a few challenges which we found to be consistent for CPGs and their trading partners:
- Sales and operations departments aiming to digitise frontline procedures across the supply chain were consistently constrained by legacy IT systems, creating delays and dependency on IT and ultimately hindering the agility of these businesses in the face of rapidly changing business requirements.
- Agents in the field were facing ever-growing expectations of achieving more in less time. Crucially, the introduction of data driven operating models (the first steps towards the Uberification of retail’s workforce) imposed new work schedules and requirements which are not easy to adapt to. There were no solutions on the market with the kind of gamified incentive and engagement frameworks required to ease such a transition.
We have responded to these challenges by developing the Zaptic platform, offering configurability and IT flexibility for the business and a millennial, gamified user experience for agents. The platform enables management to set up projects and campaigns, guide field agents through their execution and measure their performance, using data analytics to continuously increase field operations’ efficiency.
Agents in the field are provided with a consumer-grade mobile application, which guides them through the tasks authored in the platform, and provides them with functionalities that enable them to optimise their time and effort in the field such as route optimisation, full offline capabilities, sales stories and other store-level data. In addition, gamification helps to motivate agents to maximise their impact in the field and rewards them for their performance.
Lessons to date from working in field marketing
Working with field marketing agencies such as Advantage Smollan has provided us with invaluable insight into the way technological innovation is dynamically transforming the relationship between agencies and their clients. The commodification of digital data capture has resulted in a certain expectation about mobile capabilities. In fact, consumer goods field marketing is one of the most advanced sectors in terms of mobile technology, so much so that data capture and basic two-way communication is taken for granted in most European and international markets.
Many clients are no longer willing to pay fees for merely using data capture technologies but are rather expecting agencies to provide evidence of tangible improvements in their products’ in-store presence and performance. This highlights the need for solutions to go far beyond basic data capture and field force automation, offering functionalities that enable agencies to optimise field activities and deliver consistent improvement in store standards to clients.
What’s next for Zaptic?
In the short term, we have a number of new and exciting features in the 2018 roadmap that will offer further benefits for our field marketing customers working in the field, so we are very excited about realising the impact of these product enhancements.
We are also not losing sight of our longer-term vision, which is to empower frontline workers for a more automated age. As “Uber-style” algorithmic scheduling of work is spreading beyond the gig economy into traditional low wage jobs, including retail, hospitality and healthcare, there are many challenges and opportunities associated with making sure this innovation benefits both sides – employers and workers. These challenges involve ensuring that the increased flexibility and efficiency offered by a liquid labour market is balanced with the ability for all workers to build long-term, rewarding careers.