Case Study

Seiko’s Proof of Product + Placement Power

Seiko collects comprehensive field data with GoSpotCheck to drive innovative marketing, track execution, and improve profitability.

About the Company

For more than 130 years, the pursuit of perfect has driven the Seiko brand. From its earliest days meticulously crafting pocket watches, Seiko has married innovation with precision. It revolutionized Japan's watchmaking industry when Seiko released the country's first wristwatch in 1913.

Then in 1969, it introduced the world to quartz watches with the Seiko Quartz Astron. More recently, Seiko has continually updated classic models and made forays into newer, more advanced technologies and materials like electrophoretic displays and tourbillon. The company perceptually sits atop the cutting edge without ever losing sight of the importance of clockwork precision in both its products and its operations.

It's only natural that the company demands the same attention to detail from its merchandising activities. We recently had the chance to catch up with members of the Seiko team, specifically Senior Vice President of Business Development, Eric Hofmann, to see how the brand's approach to execution management has changed over the years.

13,000

Employees

1881

First year of operation

80

Field team members

$2.3b

Net sales in 2018

Extensive Brand Presence Presents Merchandising Challenges

A brand of Seiko's stature leaves a large footprint: Seiko products are sold in thousands of retail locations across the U.S., while the company also runs its own branded storefronts — Seiko Flagship Salon and Seiko Boutique — to showcase limited-run and premium collection items to an upscale audience.

The inherent risk of having products appear in many different locations is ensuring the brand is represented correctly at all times:

  • Are marketing and promotional materials arriving at each store on time?
  • Are they placed in the proper locations?
  • Are marketing materials up to date with the latest campaigns?
  • Are products merchandised effectively at jewelers, retailers, and other third-party locations?

Limited visibility into the day-to-day actions of Seiko field agents make it extremely difficult to answer those questions with any degree of certainty.

Seiko gives its field teams, brand representatives, and salespeople a lot of autonomy. They trust their employees to conduct on-site inspections and file merchandising reports efficiently and comprehensively. However, before implementing GoSpotCheck, the brand lacked software that streamlined these tasks and guaranteed real-time reporting. Field employees primarily relied on internal spreadsheets to share information regarding store visits and on-site sales pitches.

One of the downsides to this approach is the increased risk of inconsistent reporting. Sales representatives often wrote out their reports by hand and then entered that information into spreadsheets, leaving a great deal of variability in the information collected and communicated. The reality of the situation was that Seiko did not possess the necessary level of visibility to accurately monitor their field teams. Without repeatable reporting workflows, there was no way to guarantee the consistent delivery of retail data or sales updates.

Brand Compliance Comes into View

After integrating the GoSpotCheck platform into field operations, Seiko quickly realized the breadth of information that had previously slipped through the cracks. Now, the Seiko team can see precisely how often sales representatives visit each retail outlet and receive detailed notes regarding every single visit.

Seiko's advertising and marketing efforts have improved at the ground level as well. Before GoSpotCheck, it was difficult to verify that both retailers and branded stores placed promotional materials in the right locations or used the most recent collateral to align with the latest campaigns. In some cases, Seiko found that stores hadn't used the provided marketing materials at all. Using GoSpotCheck, Seiko representatives can quickly flag stores that are not complying with the brand's marketing guidelines and address the situation without delay.

We turned GoSpotCheck into a full call-report system, so we know how frequently our sales representatives are visiting each location. We know what advertising and promotional materials are being utilized and how they're being utilized, which we did not know before.”

—Eric Hofmann, Senior VP of Business Development

That precision extends to product displays as well. In a market as competitive as Seiko's, product placement is exceptionally important. By integrating planograms into the GoSpotCheck application, brand agents can compare in-store displays to the detailed diagrams on their mobile devices.

In the past, Seiko did not have a crystal-clear view of its presence in all third-party stores, especially jewelers. Brand representatives leverage GoSpotCheck's photo capture capability to gather images of Seiko products in display cases and compare that placement to those of other watchmakers.

Now there’s accountability for both our sales and merchandising teams as far as our brand’s point-of-sale presence: what products are featured, how they’re placed, and what types of accounts we’re actually attached to.”

—Eric Hofmann, Senior VP of Business Development

Holding Sales Associates Accountable

Since launching GoSpotCheck, Seiko has given field agents the autonomy they crave while still closely monitoring performance metrics. GoSpotCheck's geotag and timestamps add information to incoming data from sales representatives out on the road.

Seiko can see not only how many stores were visited but also the amount of time spent at each location and the total number of sales calls made in a given span of time. In this way, the brand can be sure that sales efforts are being fully optimized across every market and region.

The visibility and detailed information GoSpotCheck provides has helped Seiko achieve the same level of precision with its field operations that it demands from its meticulously designed watches. They are now able to monitor and measure sales activities, marketing campaigns, and brand presence at every store and location across the country.

The benefits of this newfound visibility have already begun to emerge: advertising and promotional materials are more effectively disseminated, the brand's point-of-sale presence has improved, and sales teams have increased their call cycles. More advantages and rewards are sure to come as Seiko further explores the GoSpotCheck platform and its extensive list of features.

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