Posted by & filed under Business Operations.

As a store owner, you need to ensure that your retail space is stocked properly and safely so that your team can provide essential products to your customers. Creating a Retail Storage Evaluation for your team to fill out regularly is a great way to ensure efficiency. In this blog post, we are going to outline 4 key elements you need to create a successful Retail Storage Evaluation.

storage area form on phone1) Safety Check
First and foremost, you need to make sure that your storage area is safe. Are boxes stacked biggest to smallest and at a safe height? Are the shelves sturdy? Consistently send out an evaluation with safety checks and standards to your employees. You’ll experience two benefits in doing so. First, your standards for safety will be better understood by your staff; and second, because of clear expectations, your storage area will be much safer.

2) Keep it organized
At one point or another, we’ve all used a quick fix, hoping to appear organized. Whether that’s shoving dirty clothes under your bed, or stuffing your closet with junk. No one is immune. Although the room might look cleaner and more organized, it’s really not sustainable.

The same concept applies for your retail storage area. You could have a wonderfully organized store, but if products are jammed haphazardly in storage, you are not doing anyone a service. Finding products takes longer, which can frustrate both you, your team, and your customers.

So on your evaluation, make sure to include questions that follow your organizational plan. That could be anything from “the shoe boxes are organized from smallest to largest” to “shoes are kept separate from clothing”. Be firm with your plan and expectations.

3) Cleanliness Matters
How you take care of and clean your storage area is directly reflected in your store and products. If your storage area is dirty, smelly, and crammed, your customers will notice. Products on the shelf can be dusty, stinky, or even damaged. You don’t want that!

In order to make sure that the storage area is kept clean, create questions on your survey regarding cleanliness. Is the floor swept? Is there any standing water? Are the shelves dusted? Keep it tidy, and your customers will notice.

4) Pictures
Pictures are the fastest way to see if shelves are safe, organized, and clean. That being said, don’t make your entire form a collage of photos.To really understand the whole story behind your store, we recommend a healthy blend of photos and data-driven questions.

We know running a retail space is difficult, and keeping track of all the details in a storage room can be especially challenging . So keep your life simple! Follow our tips and you’ll find that collecting information about your retail storage space will never been easier.

Posted by & filed under Infographics.

The Mobile Shift best

Gathering data about your company might seem intimidating or even down-right hard. You might have the knowledge of what information would be useful or even profitable to your business but getting a process set up can be intimidating. What vehicle should you use to collect data? It almost always comes down to a battle between the familiarity of paper or the convenience of mobile. Join us in a walk through both scenarios…

 

 

The Paper Route

Let’s say you own a chain of stores all across the country. It is your job to make sure that all locations are properly running promotions, maintaining a high level of service, and simply making money. So how do you ensure brand quality? Most people initially opt for the paper option, and it’s understandable as it’s what we all grew up on. But through our experience it is not always the best method, and let us explain why.

1) Formatting Nightmare
Paper can be a formatting nightmare. Whether you are typing a word doc, spreadsheet, or an email, trying to create a form that has good flow and organization is cumbersome. Changing sections and questions and rearranging wording is not intuitive and eats up time.

2) Juggling Act
It also becomes harder on your team. First they have to find a way to print your form ( if you’ve dealt with printers, you know it’s not always the easiest of tasks). Then, users have to drive to your store locations and juggle their coffee, phones, forms, pens, and keys. That just sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

3) Doing the Job Twice
Oh, and we haven’t even begun to dive into the challenge of getting the information back to you! Once they’ve done the hard work of gathering the data, your team then needs to retype it and email, text, or snail-mail it back to you. This means that the data they collected at your stores is aging before it even get’s to you.

4) YOU Crunch the Numbers
When you finally receive the data, you then have fun task of organizing and analyzing the information. This takes time. Even if you are diligent and speedy with the data, it’s still days, weeks and sometimes months old, depending on the volume. This does nobody a service. You’ve spent most of your time analyzing and then reacting to old data instead of proactively predicting new trends and capturing potential revenue opportunities.

And so the cycle continues…

Instead, try Mobile.

Mobile

Start by looking around next time you are on the bus, walking down the street or even at a bar. You might notice that almost everyone is on their phone, taking photos or texting. So why not keep it simple? When you need to gather information about your business, have your team use the tool they are already equipped with… a mobile device!

Let’s take the same scenario from earlier, but in this instance we are going to explain the benefits of going mobile with Zenput.

1) Simple Form Creation and Distribution
Creating forms in Zenput takes but minutes. All questions and form layouts use drag-and-drop functionality. So when building your form if you need to change the order or add in an extra question or two, no problem!

After you’ve built your form, it takes mere seconds to distribute it to your team. Just enter their email address or phone number and use one click to share!

2) Easy Access
From your team’s side, all they need to do is download the Zenput app and instantly have access to your forms. As you can imagine, this makes “show- time” even easier. Think about it. All your people really need when they travel to your store locations is their phone. With their phones, they can efficiently do their jobs, snap photos and even take videos.

3) Accountability
No more guessing as to whether or not your team was really at the location filling out your forms, or at the beach. There is a time/date stamp as well as GPS loaded directly into the app so that you can make sure that your people are getting their work done when and where they are supposed to.

4) Real-time data that you don’t have to crunch
Remember all the analytic work you were going to have to do if you went the paper route? Yeah, you can say goodbye to all of that. If you go mobile with Zenput, all data and graphs are updated in real-time. This saves you time and allows you to be proactive, rather than reactive with important business decisions.

So we plead with you, don’t settle for sheet. Going mobile will save you money, increase accountability within your organization, and allow you to capture those once hidden economic opportunities.

The Mobile Shift best

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Owning and managing a restaurant is no cake walk. It takes time, practice and the skills to  gather the right information about your business. Let us help! In this blog post we are going to  go  over our favorite tips that will help you create a great audit for your restaurant.

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 4.21.37 PMOrganization
No one wants to read one giant list of questions. Break your form into clear sections or into different forms all together.

So for example if you need to find out all about food storage, cooked ingredients, and how the food is served, break those up into separate sections or forms. Doing so allows your people to be more efficient which means that you get data quicker.


Pictures
Have your team show rather than tell. Using photos saves your users from having to write out a long description. Photos quickly and accurately allow you to evaluate your restaurant, measure progress, and identify when there’s an issue.


Concrete Questions

In the restaurant business it can be easy to ask questions that have “feeling” answers. While these sort of touchy feeling questions do have some value, we recommend that you use them sparingly. Use questions that give you definitive answers. Is it more useful to you to know that your team felt that the food products were “adequately stocked” or that there was exactly “x amount of product b overstocked”? The hard numbers will help you best analyze your business and guide you to make those important decisions.

Rhythm
Require that your team sends in information to you every week. Collecting data in a timely manner will help you best analyze the “health” of your restaurant. If you can see week after week that the signage in the front of your restaurant is dirty or not well-lit you can quickly fix the issue. Use your historical data to be proactive, figure out where your business could still use a little work, and monitor positive changes.

 

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Photos are one of the best tools you can use when collecting data from your team in the field. In seconds you can get an accurate snapshot of what exactly is going on in your store. Is a display set up correctly? Is the backroom organized? Anything that you need to know in a snap is possible if you use images.

That’s why we love the new Zoom View. The Zoom View gives you an up-close look at your images and submission info.

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 11.37.57 AM

 

Here’s how it works. Go to your Gallery View  and click on an image. The photo is immediately enlarged with Submission Info to the right. You can then use the left and right arrow to thumb through other images as you please.

Go ahead and give this new view a test drive… We have a sneaky suspicion you’ll never look at images the same way.

Posted by & filed under How to be Successful with Zenput.

Have you ever caught yourself wishing you had eyes in the back of your head? Or perhaps that you had spies to tell you how your retail space is doing? Yeah, we’ve all been there.

You want to make sure that your retail spaces are being run properly but you can’t possibly be at all places at once. Our view is that you shouldn’t be. Rather you can save time and promote efficiency if you create the “right” form to properly survey your retail spaces. In this blog post we are going to layout three tips for creating a retail form.

1) Use the Right Building Blocks
To start, make your form structurally sound. Making sure your form is structurally sound means that it is both organized and you use a lot of quantitative questions.Organization keeps your people efficient, and allows you gather data quickly. Think about it, if you have a bunch of questions about the exterior of your retail space and then another group all about the interior of your store, keep them separate. Organize the questions so your form submitters and can follow a natural and efficient flow.

Quantitative questions give you measurable and comparable data. This gives a concrete way to track your retail space. How many window displays are there? How many facings of X brand are on the display? These are questions that you can measure and consistently track time after time.

2) Use your Eyes
Do you want to see that a display is set up properly or that your backroom is organized and up to your standards? Of course you do! All you need to do is include photos in your form. Photos are easiest and quickest way for your people to show you that your retail space looks and is operating as it should.

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 11.18.53 AM

 

3) Set a Routine
Creating a form chock-full of organized quantitative questions and photos is all good and well but if your people aren’t filling it out, then it’s rather useless. Set up a clear routine for your people. Let them know the frequency and time that you would like the form submissions every week. This keeps them accountable and makes it easier for you to collect timely and consistent data.

Posted by & filed under How to be Successful with Zenput, Uncategorized.

Here at Zenput we often get asked about data, and we should, it’s our business. The majority of questions, though, tend to boil down to how do we get more meaningful data? In our experience we’ve found that to get better data you simply need to start asking better questions. In this blog post we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 tips to help you start asking questions like a B-O-S-S.

1) What is the goal?

Asking questions just to ask questions is a waste of time. Let’s face it, we’re all getting too old to be wasting time. So to start, think of the reasons WHY you are asking these questions. What data do you want to collect, analyze and share?

2) Types of Questions
We are firm believers that your questions should be structured. Structured questions generate structured responses. To do this use quantitative questions. These include multiple choice, rating, yes/no, checkbox, and number questions.

Asking quantitative questions help you collect accurate and concise data. You will not need to read through and try and guess as to what someone’s written response means. Structured questions are easy to graph and analyze.

Now on to qualitative questions. These types of questions include text/short answer, photos and videos.

As far as qualitative questions go, our favorites have to be photos and videos. Do you want to see if the shelf is stocked, how clean the bathroom is, and if your brand is well-represented? Of course you do! Photos and videos are the quickest way for you to get an accurate story about your business.

So when trying to decide what kind of questions to use, we recommend that you use a good blend of the two question types. Use the quantitative questions for the hard facts (yay graphs!) and then the qualitative questions to back up those facts.

3) Short.
Keep it short. You want your users to be able to answer the questions efficiently and get back to doing their job. Keep your questions specific, pointed, and focused on the data that you want to gather.

4) Keep it Simple
Firstly, be organized. Group your questions by topic or task. So for example, if you have a group of questions that involve the exterior of the store and then a group about the interior of the store, group them accordingly. You don’t want the people walking inside, outside, then inside again. Keep it efficient!

Secondly, don’t ask a “two-fer” (two for one). A two-fer is when you jam multiple questions into one. This not only gets wordy and confusing, but it will make your data skewed. Just keep it simple.

5) Question the Questions
You’ve asked the questions, now evaluate the data! Are you gathering the data you specified in your goal? If not, adjust your questions accordingly.

Asking the hard-hitting, data-gathering, really kick-butt questions takes time and practice but we know you can master it! Just remember have a goal, use the right question type, and keep it short, organized and simple.

 

 

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

We’ve updated the look and feel of Zenput – here’s what’s new.

We’ve given Zenput a more modern look and consistent feel.  All of your existing features still exist, but a few might be in new places.  As a general rule of thumb, the main action button for each page is now in the top right corner.

We’ll show you below.

The Form Builder – New Look, Same Functionality

The form builder has a new look, but it works exactly the same as before.  The only functional difference is that the action buttons are in the top right corner, when you’re ready to Distribute or Preview your form.

Here’s what the new builder looks like:

Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 1.33.04 PM

How to Create New Forms or Edit Existing Forms

There’s a new way to create new forms and edit existing forms.  From any screen, click on the Forms button.

Then, click in the top right corner to create a new form.

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 4.25.05 PM

 

Or, to edit an existing form, find the correct form, and click on Edit (see image below).  The drop-down next to the edit button contains the other options for each form, such as Creating a Copy of the form, or archiving the form so it’s no longer an active form.

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 4.25.42 PM

 

How to View Reports and Create Excel/CSV files

The Reports page has two new features.  First, the Excel icon no longer exists.  Instead, it’s been replaced by the Export button in the top right corner.

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 4.27.04 PM

 

Second, you will notice next to the “Date Submitted” field in the table, there’s a Plus (+) button:

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 4.29.47 PM

 

If you like to view reports within’s Zenput dashboard, this feature allows you to choose which columns appear on screen.  Just click the + button and choose which fields you’d like to view.

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 4.28.23 PM

 

How to Manage Your Teams

There’s a new tab called Users in the top navigation bar.  You can edit your users and manage your teams as before.  If you want to add a new user, or create a new team, click on the button in the top right corner.

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 4.59.23 PM

 

As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions – and please let us know what you think about the re-design!

 

- The Zenput Team

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

We’ve had two articles featured in large publications recently.

First, GigaOM published our article for its 5.5 million tech readers about the future of enterprise mobility. We talked about how mobile devices allow better information exchange and more individualized communication with employees.

Zenput customers, of course, are already doing this.  Our customers are using mobile forms to report from stores, bars and clubs, pharmacies and more.  We’re eliminating the manual data entry associated with collecting data in many locations.  But we’re doing more than that – we’re helping companies identify sales and operations trends in real-time.  They can address issues when they arise, rather than trying to fix things after monthly sales misses.

Second, we had a separate article published in Retail Merchandiser’s blog that drills down on specifically how retailers and suppliers can improve operations and execution using the smartphones of their employees or reps.

Many corporate execs are only now beginning to realize the usefulness of their store managers’ iPhones and Android devices as powerful reporting devices to ensure compliance with company-wide initiatives. Similarly, suppliers can use their reps or contractors’ smartphones to make sure their products end up on the correct shelves, displayed and priced correctly.

Check out our articles and let us know what you think!

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

A template on how to write incident reports

Security guards need to know how to write an incident report or accident report.  This guide is an example of how to capture the most important information:

 

1.   USE NORMAL LANGUAGE

Some people think they should use fancy jargon in  incident reports – the opposite is true!  Use everyday English rather than complicated “police terms.”  Lots of different people may read your report (supervisors, police, juries).  It needs to be understandable to lots of different types of people, so the less jargon the better.

 

2.   REMEMBER THE 5 W’s

A nice way to capture the most important details is to remember the 5 W’s:

  • WHO: Who were the people most involved?  Who else witnessed events? Did you get their contact information and other relevant information about them?  If you didn’t get their names, describe their physical characteristics (but avoid using offensive language to describe people).
  • WHAT: What actions and events happened?  Start from the beginning, and go point-by-point or event-by-event from beginning to end. Include as much detail as possible about how each event unfolded.
  • WHEN: What date and time was the incident?  Depending on the type of incident, it may also be useful to describe the weather, the lighting, or other conditions.
  • WHERE: Where exactly did the incident take place?  Include the address, or use details about nearby objects, buildings, etc., to be as precise as possible.
  • WHY: This is generally not as important.  In fact, unless you heard someone say something explaining their actions, it’s best not to speculate on people’s motivations.  Your job is to stick to clear undisputable facts.

 

3.   ONLY INCLUDE FACTS

As you saw from the “WHY” category above, it is important to be objective.  Do not give your opinion about who was at fault – it will actually make your report weaker.  You must stick to facts – the things you saw with your eyes, heard with your ears, etc.

 

4.   TAKE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS ON YOUR PHONE

If your phone has a camera on it, take as many photos or videos as you can.  They provide additional objective information. Some security companies use mobile report form apps like Zenput, which lets you complete an incident report on your smartphone, including photos and videos in the actual report.

 

5.   BE PROFESSIONAL

Remember lots of people may read the report.   Don’t judge anyone in the report.  Don’t use slang or rude words.  Once you’ve identified people once in the report, refer to them as “Mr.” or “Ms.” when you mention them again.

 

Do you have a smartphone?  Tell your supervisor that you could use mobile forms to complete incident reports quickly and easily from your phone.

 

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

With the integration of Dropbox into Zenput’s mobile data collection services, forms submitted by your mobile users can now instantly appear in your Dropbox account.

A couple of quick notes: (1) For this process to be successful, you must already have a Dropbox account (or sign up for one before beginning this process); (2) only the account owner (the person that signed up your company to use Zenput) can create this Dropbox link.

Set up Dropbox in two simple steps.

1. Link your Zenput and Dropbox accounts

Once you’re logged into Zenput, click on the “Company Settings” drop-down menu item, which you can access by clicking on your username in the top right of the browser window.  Again, note that only the account Owner (the person that signed your company up for Zenput service) will be able do this.

revised company settings

 

Then click on the “Activate” button and follow the Dropbox instructions.

 

3rd party integrations shot

Once you’ve completed the Dropbox instructions, you can select which Zenput forms you want to add to Dropbox.

2.  Select the forms you want to start sending to Dropbox

Open any of your forms (click on “Forms”–>”Open”) and click on the form title.  Then check the Send to Dropbox form.

 

Select option

 

For all forms that your users submit in the future, the submitted form will appear in your dropbox account, in the “Zenput” sub-folder within the “Apps” folder.  Reports will appear within sub-folders with the name of the particular form submitted.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions.

 

-The Zenput Team