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Heat Group Signs O4 Corporation to put Gloss on Australian Cosmetics Retailing

Retailers to benefit from mobile sales force information
  • 04 May, 2009 16:52

<p>O4 Corporation, Australia’s leading provider of mobile sales force automation solutions for retail execution, today announced its solution will be implemented by Melbourne-based company The Heat Group, one of the largest distributors of cosmetics and personal care products in Australia. Working with major retailers and pharmacies like Target, Kmart, Myer, BigW, Coles, Woolworths and Priceline, The Heat Group is responsible for putting top cosmetics brands on shelves including Max Factor, CoverGirl Bourjois, Elite Red Earth and Ulta3. The Heat Group will use the O4 Solution to ensure product availability, and build sales and retail performance across its nationwide sales force through faster, more informed decisions in-store and out in the field.</p>
<p>John Simcocks, Sales Director at The Heat Group said: “O4’s retail execution software means we can assess in-store activities and base sales and relay ‘live’ information to Heat’s marketing teams, sales account managers and display teams in head office for immediate action. By eradicating the time-consuming tasks of writing down and faxing orders, manually capturing display and point of sale information, and hunting through manual files for latest pricing, we can place and process orders within 24hours to ensure in-store activities are generating best revenues.</p>
<p>“Making around five or more store visits each day, each sales team member relies on accurate, efficient, easy-to-use mobile support. We needed to upgrade the system we had, to help minimise the time required in each store. This time can now be spent with retail customers themselves, identifying the correct cosmetics stock, and ensuring the best promotions strategy. O4 is vital in making this all happen.”</p>
<p>As recently as December 2008, IBIS Group estimated the Australian cosmetics and toiletries retail industry to have grown by 4.2 per cent on the previous year with revenues of around AU$2.1billion. However, with the credit crunch hitting Australian retailers hard - retailers experienced a 2 per cent slump this February - promotions, pricing and orders management has become business critical.</p>
<p>Angela Lovegrove, O4 Corporation Managing Director Asia Pacific said: “Stimulus packages come and go in a blink so you only get one chance at making a sale as consumers become increasingly budget conscious. Suppliers must ensure the right product is on the shelf at the right time, with the right promotion and the right price.</p>
<p>“More than ever, the field force is the critical link in the supply chain, and the cosmetics industry is no exception. O4 will enable The Heat Group to be more responsive and sensitive to market fluctuations, competitive pricing, point of sale material and supply chain management by putting the power of information directly into the hands of the field agents.</p>
<p>“O4’s mobile device and software solution enables an agent to access and manage data on-the-ground with optimum impact on the business bottom line,” she added.</p>
<p>The Heat Group had outgrown its previous laptop system that required marketing and promotional CDs to be manually posted to sales teams each month. This will be replaced with O4’s software on personal digital assistant (PDA) devices to enable electronic access to key information when it’s needed in the field.</p>
<p>John Simcocks expects the new campaign management system to have fully recouped its investment within the first year based on productivity savings alone. “At any given time, Heat can be managing 100’s of individual orders each month. Greatly enhanced access to information and significant improvements in promotional campaign performance made O4 a clear winner after what was an intensive due diligence process. We tested O4 against a number of other solutions but none of the others could deliver the return we needed across our 1,000-plus discount department stores and pharmacy customer businesses.”</p>
<p>O4‘s software will be installed alongside Heat’s existing Pronto Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. This will seamlessly integrate field force information with all the back end ordering and invoicing processes to dramatically increase Heat’s ability to manage and despatch orders quickly. In turn, this will ensure optimum return on investment and visibility on in-store activities. Roll-out and training across the entire sales team is expected to be completed by July this year.</p>
<p>About O4 Corporation</p>
<p>Established in 1998, O4 Corporation has international offices and partner networks in the United States, Australia, Asia Pacific, Europe, and South America to deliver its comprehensive solutions. O4 has attracted numerous industry-leading clients including Procter &amp; Gamble, Simplot, Daisy Brand, Reckitt Benckiser, Foster’s Group, Bacardi Lion, Pernod Ricard Pacific, and Suntory. O4 Solutions deliver significant return on investment through efficiency gain and cost reductions. By addressing the needs of both management and mobile workers, they support sound planning and decision making, increased field force effectiveness and excellence in retail execution. The end result is a positive impact on revenue and profits. For more information, visit www.o4corporation.com.</p>
<p>About Heat Group</p>
<p>The Heat Group distributes leading cosmetic and accessory brands, Max Factor, Covergirl, Bourjois, Red Earth, Ulta3 and Elite and is recognised as one of Australia’s most successful emerging companies. Founded in 2000, Heat prides itself on its unique company culture and sums this up in four words given to it by the Heat team: creative, dynamic, passionate, smart. To learn more about Heat go to www.heatgroup.com.au</p>

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