Gigwalk, a “cloud-based work execution platform[i],” is the Brand Manager’s dream alternative to retail point-of-sale systems and auditing of promotional programs through a general distributed workforce.[ii]
Founded in May 2011, Gigwalk has grown into a local visibility software platform that facilitates brand and retailer collaboration with the world’s largest on-demand mobile workforce, also known as Gigwalkers.[iii] With almost one million Gigwalkers on the platform, Gigwalk is able to provide its customers including major CPG companies, Consulting firms, and more[iv]; with real time on the ground data.
Cofounder and CTO of Gigwalk, Matt Crampton, explained “consumer brands spend billions of dollars on in-store trade marketing every year and simple issues, like out-of-stocks, have a huge impact on revenue. Up until now, there was no way to understand where gaps in retail execution existed until it was too late. Now, with mobile devices and an on-demand workforce, consumer brands and retailers can gain real-time intelligence about what is happening on-the-ground and fix it, speeding time to issue resolution and revenue. More and more, companies are becoming reliant on mobile solutions to get work done from anywhere, anytime.”[v]
Gigwalk’s platform provides a space for a company to submit a “Gig,” a task that can take anywhere from 5 minutes to a few hours to complete, and receive timely feedback and responses. The Gig specifies the stores and/or products to view, the questions to answer, any photos/videos to submit, additional actions requested, the price the Gigwalker will be paid upon completion of the Gig, and time to complete the Gig.
Gigwalk value creation allows companies to have on the ground up to the minute visibility into the placement of their products, comparison pricing to competitors, and success of their sales and stores at a very low price point for the execution of these tasks with both a national and increasingly global reach.
Gigwalk requires Gigwalkers to document their work through the Gig’s questionnaire and submitting geo-tagged photos.[viii] Gigwalk ensures easy value capture of information through simple reporting for Gigwalkers – “Everything’s done through the Gigwalk app. No timesheets to fill out. No emails to send. Your mobile phone and the app are all you need.[ix]”
Companies capture value through acting upon the information received from the Gigwalkers such as sending feedback to a retailer on placement of an end cap, sending inventory to a store that is about to face a stock out, updating signage or pricing to compete with competitor products etc.
Managing the Crowd:
Gigwalkers are paid $3 to $100 or more per Gig.[xi] The higher the price offered for a Gig, the higher likelihood it will be completed and quickly.
Additionally, “each Gigwalker has a performance score based on several factors, including such things as successfully completing Gigs and activity level. This score allows Gigwalk to match more complex and higher-paying jobs with more talented Gigwalkers.” [xiii] This performance score incentivizes Gigwalkers to complete their work thoroughly and professionally as companies can tag Gigwalkers to their private workforce, which grants the Gigwalker access to private, often higher paying, Gigs.[xiv]
Challenges for Gigwalk:
As we have seen throughout this course – the challenges for crowd sourcing and platform based business models is accomplishing a high level of participation on both sides of the equation. CEO Bob Bahranipour shared in 2014 that Gigwalk was “focused on getting more customers as the Gigwalker part of the ecosystem is growing just fine on its own.”[xv] However, customers face the challenge of finding the right balance between price offered, time to complete, and selected locations for a Gig. If the price is not enticing, the Gig will not be fulfilled.
One additional challenge for Gigwalk’s customers is that Gigwalkers can only access the same public spaces that a normal customer can access.[xvi] Meaning that Gigs cannot request the violation of intellectual property. Even still, Gigwalkers face the potential to be refused access to a location should they be photographing or researching for a competitor.
Lastly, Gigwalk faces the challenge of potential copycat competitors. This cloud based mobile solution relies on a large network of smartphone users to be successful. It is unlikely that CPG companies would attempt to replicate such a network, even more unlikely that they would be successful. However, if another software company were to replicate, they would need to pay Gigwalkers a more enticing price to switch platforms. This may lead to fewer companies wishing to swap platforms, which in turn would bring Gigwalkers back to the original Gigwalk app.[xvii]