Image Recognition

Frequently Asked Questions

Image Recognition by FORM

General Image Recognition Overview

Image recognition is a subset of AI powered by computer vision that can automatically recognize products from photos captured in retail and hospitality environments. Using state-of-the-art machine learning models, Image Recognition by FORM’s AI is trained to segment, tag, and identify products displayed on cocktail and wine menus, back bars, shelves, and in coolers before delivering SKU-level data for reporting and insights in minutes.

Image Recognition by FORM is a mobile app used by teams in Bev-Alc, Consumer Goods, and Retail to automate account surveys, get visual confirmation of merchandising, and better manage retail execution by eliminating manual data entry and reducing human error.

Bev-Alc, Consumer Goods, and Retail teams use Image Recognition by FORM to automate labor-intensive and human-error-prone processes, such as pricing surveys, merchandising audits, menu analysis, and compliance checks, by using product and object identification technology powered by AI and machine learning.

See “Use Cases” for more details.

Image Recognition is fully-integrated with FORM’s task management and insights platform to provide a turnkey solution for sending, tracking, and reporting on data captured by reps in the field. Leaders use FORM’s task management solution to create, send, and schedule tasks using 12 different task types, including image recognition, unique to location and user. Users receive these tasks by opening the FORM app on their mobile device and viewing which tasks are available for the location they’re visiting.

Tasks that include image recognition will prompt the user to take photos of the displays or menus requested. Once photos are captured, our machine-learning models instantly identify products that appear in the image, and append SKU-level data to each item pictured. In minutes, users will receive reporting on their device after submitting photos, and leaders will receive granular SKU-level reporting to their insights dashboard on desktop for easy viewing, analyzing, and sharing.

Fully-Integrated Tasks & Reporting: Unlike most solutions, Image Recognition by FORM is fully-integrated with our task management, photo reporting, and data insights platform for ultimate efficiency within one app. This provides leaders with the highest level of flexibility in how they manage, track, and report on data from the field, thanks to configurable capabilities like a flexible task engine, filterable photo reporting libraries, and custom business intelligence dashboards. More about Task Management | More about Photo Reporting 

Faster Speed-to-Insights: Image recognition data is available for analysis and sharing within minutes, not days or weeks, after data capture. While reps get instant insights on-device while they’re still at the account, leaders can view data quickly and easily from their reporting dashboards–complete with custom visualizations, which can be filtered, sorted, and shared using custom criteria while still being able to integrate this information into their internal BI tools. Many AI vendors merely provide a spreadsheet with raw data that requires manual sorting, and it arrives weeks after that data has been collected—giving leaders lagging insights that cannot be leveraged to drive the actions that lead to immediate sales. More about Insights 

A Better Rep Experience: Image Recognition by FORM has been extensively tested in the field to provide reps with the most intuitive mobile app on the market. In addition to an easy-to-navigate mobile interface and configurable home screen, FORM’s app also provides reps with on-screen guides when capturing photos, or “Grid Capture,” to ensure the highest-quality results in difficult settings, like narrow aisles, low lighting, or wide back bars. Quality photos provide high-quality data. On the backend, FORM’s Grid Capture automatically corrects and stitches photos together for better insights, and faster, more efficient account visits every time. FORM has also consistently won multiple user awards on G2, including Best Usability, Users Love Us, Most Implementable, and Best Support. Check us out on G2

More Display Types: Capturing data for both on- and off-premise displays has never been easier. Image recognition identifies products and prices for display types including cocktail menus, wine menus, back bars, coolers, cold boxes, shelves, and floor displays to provide the most holistic retail tracking solution for beverage brands and distributors, CPG, and retail.

Flexible Data Structure: Instead of constraining customers to pre-set data categories and syndicated data frameworks, FORM is configured to reflect each customer’s unique data structure so you can capture, analyze, and act on your data, your way. 

FORM is continuously innovating and creating value for our customers. In 2023, our team is exploring Augmented Reality technology for sales reps to make the training and onboarding process for image recognition even easier—and to get leaders optimal insights even faster. We are also further developing our extensive list of display types to include beer taps, POS materials, and beer menus to give beverage brands and distributors more actionable on-premise data.

Some of the world’s leading Consumer Goods and Beverage brands and distributors are currently using Image Recognition to survey accounts 75% faster, increase shelf share by 2%, and grow sales by up to 5%, including PepsiCo, Keurig Dr Pepper, Beam Suntory, and Sleeman Breweries.

When exploring options for AI vendors, we recommend using the following as a checklist to ensure the vendor is providing an accurate, transparent, and economical product: 

  • How long do you have to wait for results from photos? 
      • Many systems can eventually provide high accuracy data from a photo – if given enough time.  But to maximize the impact from AI and ML technology, field reps should be able to review and take action on the results in the moment. Asking the vendor to show you a live demo—in market—is a great way to assess the speed and accuracy of data that come from photos. 
  • Is their model accuracy at or above 95%? 
      • A highly accurate AI means optimal results for your business. Ensure your AI vendor not only shares its model accuracy statistics, but also allows you to test the product for yourself. A free trial is a great way to ensure SKU accuracy before investing in the technology.
  • Is their pricing model clearly-outlined? Is it sustainable?
      • This is a new venture for many organizations and aligning to internal budgets is critical.  FORM’s pricing model provides predictable spend and removes variability (number of photos captured, etc.) seen with other solutions.
      • See “What is FORM’s pricing model” for more details. 
  • Do you own the AI-generated data, or does your vendor? Will they sell it to your competitors for market intelligence? 
      • Many AI vendors rely on syndicated data, or general market data, and will sell customer data to competitors. Determining data ownership early in your search process is a key step in establishing a transparent partnership with your AI vendor. At FORM, you own your data, and we will never use your data without your consent.
      • See “Who owns the data generated using Image Recognition by FORM?” for more details.
  • Do they use machine learning or humans for product tagging?
      • Machine learning is the fastest and most efficient way to tag products submitted using AI, but many vendors rely on human labelers to manually tag images as they’re submitted. Not only is this method significantly slower and error-prone, but it’s also a departure from veritable artificial intelligence. Make sure your vendor has the same understanding of ML and AI as you do.
      • See “How does FORM train its machine learning models?” for more details. 
  • Do they have a track record of meeting delivery dates and making improvements as scoped? 
    • Well-executed AI programs are constantly improving and adjusting to changes—whether those changes are market disruptors or specific customer requests. Some AI vendors may over-promise and under-deliver if they don’t have the bandwidth or resources needed to react quickly, which could put you behind the competition. Ensure your vendor has consistently met customer expectations and flexed to market changes; software review sites like G2 are a good place to start.

Use Cases

Beverage suppliers and distributors use Image Recognition by FORM to understand and share real-time visibility of the quality of execution, which is a leading indicator and driver of sales. With the SKU-level data generated, leaders can identify trends across accounts, markets, and competitors, and initiate data-driven conversations between suppliers, distributors, and retailers to create and maintain alignment on strategy and execution. 

Suppliers get full-market coverage with a single app that allows them to access areas their distributors may not be able to reach, while distributors can survey accounts in a fraction of the time and receive on-device data to take action while on-site. Both suppliers and distributors can drive efficiency and execution at on- and off-premise locations, with an app that identifies products on shelves, coolers, wine menus, cocktail menus, beer menus, tap handles, and back bars to see product, frequency, price, and placement in mere minutes—and to confirm partner compliance in real-time.

FORM’s image recognition and photo reporting technology is the smartest way for Consumer Goods brands to improve merchandising execution across locations. Using the app, brands have reported performing merchandising audits 75% faster than manual methods or home-grown solutions. Customers use FORM to get instant visual confirmation of merchandising with AI-powered photo reporting software, which automatically tags and segments SKUs by location, category, and more. Retail teams can also use Image Recognition to quickly identify out-of-stocks and voids. 

SKU-level reporting automatically attributes products to their position on the shelf, giving leaders visibility into product placement, position, and price at each account. This data enables Consumer Goods brands, distributors, and retailers to understand what should be in place, what is currently in place, and how to optimize it in real-time–ensuring valuable agreements are being upheld and executed with precision for a Perfect Store.

Data & Model Training

Thousands of new images are trained daily in FORM’s machine learning models, and models are reviewed and optimized by our dedicated data science team every two weeks. Each image provides new data for the AI to process and identify, allowing the models to grow smarter over time and identify more items more quickly. FORM’s model uses a “primary image,” or an ideal sample shot, for each new product to compare every photo submitted from the field, ensuring proper placement and tagging in every submission.

Although many image recognition software suppliers use human tagging to manually sort and identify items in each photo, machine learning models are significantly faster and more accurate once the AI is properly-trained. To enable exponentially faster and more accurate product training for our models, FORM created a proprietary product identification system, Image Finder, which filters through thousands of product images in seconds to accelerate model training and recognize products using machine learning. In a recent POC comparing the efficacy of human tagging to Image Finder, it took human labelers eight hours to find 12 images of a new product introduced for model training. For FORM Image Finder, it took 10 seconds to find 250 images in a data set of thousands of photos for the same SKU. Our proprietary technology, paired with an extra QA layer of human review, is the fastest and most efficient method of model training and allows customers to not only implement the technology as quickly as possible, but to also react quickly when new products are added.

Image Recognition by FORM is the fastest and most accurate solution for smarter retail execution, with 97%+ product detection accuracy on each product setting, and a contractual SLA of 95%+ SKU recognition accuracy once the model is trained on new items. See “How does FORM train its machine learning models?” and “Do I need to provide images of my SKUs to train the model?” for greater detail on model training.

Every Image Recognition by FORM customer owns their data and the associated meta-data, including their pricing and their competitors’ pricing. While FORM creates, manages, and owns the intellectual property and process by which the machine learning models improve, we do not share, syndicate, aggregate, or sell the data results. The market intelligence collected by our customers’ reps will not provide market intelligence to your competitors.

After reps capture photos in the field, our AI immediately begins processing each image and tagging products. Reps will receive results on their mobile device within minutes, so they can take action on the insights while they’re still on-site. At the same time, data automatically populates  Insights by FORM reporting dashboards for admins. With Insights by FORM, leaders can view results quickly and easily using custom data visualizations, which can be filtered, sorted, and shared using custom criteria. These data feeds may also be combined with other data sources, like depletion, loyalty, and eCommerce records. FORM provides data insights on demand and replaces spreadsheet-based reporting processes. FORM automatically creates intuitive data visualizations and reporting complete with the most up-to-date results from the field.


Yes. Image Recognition data can be seamlessly integrated with commonly-used BI platforms including Looker, Tableau, Power BI, and others. If you don’t currently have a BI platform, Image Recognition data is available in Looker-powered dashboards with Insights by FORM.

Yes. Image Recognition can be integrated with CRM software including Salesforce (including Salesforce Consumer Goods (CG) Cloud, Microsoft Dynamics, and others. FORM’s open API allows customers to easily integrate our solution with existing systems in their tech stack, and also offers SSO, deep-linking, and SDKs for easy implementation. FORM also integrates with Salesforce via bidirectional sync, allowing customers to write data between Salesforce and FORM.

Display Types

Yes, FORM’s image recognition app can identify price tags in the U.S., and models are actively being trained to recognize other currencies. Our AI recognizes pricing by first identifying the item, then associating that item with the price tag located directly underneath it and assigns the same price to other items on the shelf without a direct linked price tag. Image Recognition can also identify and associate promotional pricing with products captured.

Yes, Image Recognition by FORM can identify products on various off-shelf displays, including rack displays, end caps and floor displays

Yes, Image Recognition by FORM can identify both branded and generic products on wine menus and cocktail menus, including the position of the brand in the drink and the position of the drink on the menu. In addition to products, FORM also identifies pricing, placement, varietal, and cocktail ingredients.

Yes, Image Recognition by FORM can identify products displayed on a back bar, or products on tap. Our proprietary Grid Capture capability ensures quick, easy, and accurate capture of every product displayed on wide-angle or lowly-lit back bars and tap handles by stitching together photos for a full view of every SKU.

Yes, Image Recognition by FORM can identify products displayed on in-set, in-line, on-shelf, and endcap displays, and can identify voids and out of stocks. SKU-level reporting automatically attributes products to their position on the shelf, providing insights into product placement, position, and price.

Yes, Image Recognition by FORM can identify products in coolers and in cold boxes. Grid Capture ensures quick, easy, and accurate capture of every product displayed in coolers of any size by stitching together photos for a full view of every SKU.

Rep Experience

Image Recognition by FORM has been extensively-tested in the field and optimized based on extensive rep feedback from the largest field sales teams in the world to provide reps with the most intuitive mobile app on the market. In addition to an easy-to-navigate mobile interface and configurable homescreen, FORM’s app also provides reps with on-screen guides when capturing photos, or “Grid Capture,” to ensure the highest-quality results in difficult settings, like narrow aisles, low lighting, or wide back bars. Grid Capture automatically corrects and stitches photos together for faster, more efficient account visits every time. Unlike other technologies that only provide results via desktop, FORM provides reps with instant on-device reporting with image tags that can be viewed on mobile, while still on-site—so reps can act quickly without revisiting accounts. Live customer support is available by phone or chat for reps, and comprehensive training pages are available for reps to learn how to capture data for different scene types.

FORM has also consistently won multiple user awards on G2, including Best Usability, Users Love Us, Most Implementable, and Best Support, and has maintained a 98.8% CSAT score in 2022.

Users can access the GoSpotCheck by FORM app and capture images on mobile iOS and Android devices, including tablets.

With FORM, reps receive on-device reporting within minutes of submitting image recognition tasks. This means they can view product tags and insights from each photo, identify issues, and resolve them at the account while they’re still on-site, rather than receiving insights days or weeks after submitting and having to re-visit the account and re-capture data. Thanks to faster information capture and fewer account visits, reps get time back to sell and improve relationships with location managers, and leaders make and save money from improved execution on the first visit.

Implementation & Pricing

Rather than a “one size fits all” approach, we consider all elements of your business and your requirements to design a custom pricing plan that meets your needs. FORM’s annual subscription model is based on the following elements: 

  • Number of user licenses required
  • Display types you’ll be capturing
  • Your product portfolio
  • Annual volume of store visits executed by your field team 

Our pricing model helps you better predict and control your costs throughout the lifecycle of your investment, so there are no surprises.

Yes. FORM partners with Customer Impact, a third-party workforce of 100,00 retail specialists available in 100% of U.S. markets. These teams use the FORM app to collect the data you need, wherever you need it—and they can be deployed immediately. Learn more about Customer Impact.

Yes. During implementation, you will provide packshot links for SKUs that Image Recognition by FORM does not yet recognize. Once provided, FORM uploads these packshots to its proprietary machine learning training technology, Image Finder, which automatically sorts through thousands of product images and correlates matching photos to new SKUs, all in seconds. This allows the model to train significantly faster than human tagging, helping you get up and running with the solution in just a few days. If you need additional resources for capturing photos of your products, you may use FORM’s third-party workforce, Customer Impact, to capture the data you need for model training.

Try Image Recognition for free today.

Test and prove ROI with a free 2-week trial for teams of 20 or more—or take an interactive tour to see the app in action. 

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