Until about a decade ago, local grocery stores, malls, and sales representatives best represented the consumer goods industry. Today, the consumer goods industry is as pervasive as mobile technology.
However, the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry's digitalization push isn't limited to the front end. The US$49 billion industry, as estimated by the India Brand Equity Foundation, is sedulously harnessing the potential of technology to streamline the back end and emerge as more competitive. Field sales agents for FMCG companies serve as a company's and retailers' mouthpieces and thus play a key role in increasing media coverage effectiveness.
They provide essential information to FMCG management about POS issues that affect customer impact while also providing essential product information to retailers. Suppose this knowledge about POS, such as product availability, popularity, and accessibility, can be effectively harvested. In that case, it can greatly aid in understanding the consumer situation and improve market coverage effectiveness.
According to a study released on nielsen.com, “60 percent of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sales can be affected at the store level.” The data demonstrates how FMCG executives can use their field sales tools to influence customer behavior.
When it comes to increasing consumer coverage efficacy, FMCG management's problems have no bounds in today's world.
Challenges Faced by FMCG Firms in Increasing Market Coverage Effectiveness
Over the last two decades, rising disposable incomes and a transition toward a consumption-driven society have aided the FMCG sector in charting new growth paths. Consumer diversification across food and non-food segments, the emergence of lifestyle goods, and greater age and gender segmentation are all notable factors that have led to the sector's transformation. Along with that one important factor that will continue to propel the FMCG sector to higher growth paths in the near future is the increasing use of digital technology.
In addition, one crucial factor that will continue to propel the FMCG sector to higher growth paths in the near future is the increasing use of digital technology.
As people become more aware of the importance of eating nutritious foods, there has been a shift in recent years toward labeling products as "healthier" and "herbal." A growing number of players in the sector are now aggressively adopting digital technologies to drive the next step of growth in the face of intense competition, from increased use of digital marketing to increased customization for eCommerce.
In the Asia-Pacific region, a Fortune 500 company offering a wide range of adhesives, sealants, waterproofing solutions, polymers, and other construction chemicals embarked on its digital transformation journey.
We understood the gaps in their internal and external processes and deployed and automated them with data synchronization. With the help of Heroku, we simplified communication with Salesforce and other frontend applications. We introduced an advanced Geo module, simple architecture, automated loyalty programs, and further enhanced capabilities for increased reach and efficiency for the E-Commerce brand.
Now that the market is booming on competition and innovative innovations are reaching customers' hands, it's more important than ever for FMCG companies to encourage their field sales professionals to help them deliver knowledge more effectively. Failure to do so may result in issues with increasing the efficacy of market coverage, such as:
Lack of Efficiency in Reading the Selling Scenario
As technology empowers customers, the FMCG industry is experiencing a steady shift in consumer behavior. As a result, it’s not enough to be a convincing salesperson. Instead, leaders in the FMCG industry must interpret the current selling situation efficiently and forecast the future trend to make critical decisions on time.
If the right tools and technologies are available, field sales professionals will significantly enhance FMCG management's ability to read the selling situation.
To strengthen their ability to read the sale situation, FMCG executives must invest in software that can assist them in a number of ways, including:
- Identify lost opportunities
- Identify new avenues to target
- Determine the ROI of their field sales strategy
- Provide real-time visibility into the workflow system
- Enhance sales forecasting
- Help analyze the performance of each field sales professional relative to the target
The challenges faced by FMCG management can be mitigated by ensuring that field sales teams and supply chain teams collaborate to monitor stockpiles for retailers and delivery and generate comprehensive market intelligence to aid decision-making.
Providing Relative Servicing
The value given in relation to the competition is referred to as relative servicing. According to an analysis of 155 brands, where servicing levels are lower, brands perform at 81 percent of their average. In contrast, where relative serving is higher than the market, brands perform at 1.2 times the national average.
It is the field sales representative's duty to provide important details about the market's current competitors' strategy. If the company can act on the data at the right time, it will be able to expand its consumer coverage and improve the efficiency of its sales.
Reaching Right Stores at the Right Time
FMCG businesses must reach out to the right stores at the right time with sufficient service levels in order to achieve good in-market results.
“How much and what we put in the right stores is a crucial decision and gives the right outcome in terms of sales increase,” says Vijay Udasi, Executive Director, Sales Effectiveness Practice lead at Nielsen India.
The FMCG management team must develop their decision-making skills in order to pick the best stores and have the right stock precisely.
Again, technology will assist in recognizing consumer demands that can be met by the FMCG business on a timely basis.
No Visibility into Work Order Management
The quality of insight available to the FMCG management team is limited due to a lack of visibility into work order management.
Furthermore, as the number of work orders grows, as does the number of locations and equipment inventories, facility managers will find it challenging to coordinate the task for field-sales professionals using a data-driven approach.
Using work order management software to provide the necessary insight into work order management, which can boost market coverage effectiveness in a number of ways, including:
- Increase the number of jobs handled each day
- Enhance the first-call resolution
- Fewer errors
- Improve customer satisfaction
Brainvire has witnessed such an instance with a food and beverage E-Commerce giant. This retail forerunner acquired several orders but struggled to manage and deliver them on time. Brainvire’s tailored mobile application, Odoo POS and website innovation provided their customers with smooth navigation, checkout process, loyalty rewards, and delivery options. On the other hand, the company witnessed better order management, improved efficiency, and customer satisfaction.
Digitalization is a crucial step every FMCG business must make
Digitalization is all around us. Traditional methods of reaching out to consumers are being mixed with new technology. Face recognition, eye tracking, virtual reality, and algorithms that analyze and monitor customer behavior are all part of everyday life and can be used by FMCG companies or retailers to personalize product offers.
Despite this, several FMCG businesses are still in the early stages of digitalization. And well-known brands are also at a fork in the road when it comes to user interface management.
P&G, for example, spends a great deal of time and money interacting with parents about the use of nappies through the internet! Since launching an advertisement showcasing the cooling effects of the new baby wipes two years ago, Pampers "Swaddlers," a new product for babies with sensitive skin, has earned over 19 million views on Youtube.
Despite this, Quaker Oats continues to invest in characters like Cap'n Crunch, boasting that the downward eye angle of 9.6 degrees catches the attention of small children in the cereal aisle. It ignores the fact that big supermarkets today do their own merchandising rather than allowing producers to choose where their goods are displayed.
Digitalization is the Future!
60% of interviewed sales and marketing executives in a study by Roland Berger believe that Digitalisation of the sales and communication process will be critical to the success of their business. Top sales performers, including brands and retailers around the world, are using Digitalisation and innovation. They show that it results in above-average sales growth and an increase in sales efficiency.
The shopping behavior of customers has changed
B2C: 81% of customers are searching online before making a purchase of non-routine items
B2B: 92% of buying decisions start with a digital search
Millennials are the new business decision-makers. Instead, they would look up information on the internet than look at a catalog or talk with salespeople in person. As a result, before a potential buyer contacts a company, they always conduct preliminary research online.
The secret to success is digital visibility. Cold calling, sending out marketing materials, meetings with prospective clients, personal sales presentations, or assurances of massive advertising campaigns is all part of the traditional model.
The new model has a “pull logic“: the impulse is coming from the customers. They decide when and where sales come into play and how they want to interact. For this, information must be provided upfront and direct to the end consumer.
When a sales manager is approached for the first time in B2B sales, 57 percent of the purchasing decision is already made. As a result, if the brand, service, or goods are not portrayed in a digital format at the outset, they are unlikely to be included in any potential shortlist of suppliers.
“Brainvire Infotech Inc has provided an expanse of expertise to transform and modernize the client's technology stack. In addition, they consistently deliver under strict time constraints and make the transaction seamless by offering a fixed rate of work. All in all, they're a great partner to have.” -Uttam Soni, CTO of Insomnia Cookies
The Path To Digitalisation
Customer determines the direction
The customer journey should be the basis for digitally presented content. They understand the steps a potential customer takes to complete the desired action – such as making a purchase, placing an order, or requesting. On this journey, there are numerous touchpoints with the product, the brand, or the business, which can be online or offline. It is essential to know customer expectations, when and where a brand can succeed at the various stages of the customer journey.
Synchronise sales channels
Distribution networks in FMCG companies are organized separately and are opaque to retailers. Online service offerings and terminology vary from those provided by the Main Account Manager, are not revised on a regular basis, and are difficult to navigate for both users and supply chain professionals.
Users need to see answers to their interests and search missions quickly; as part of the user experience, they should seamlessly transition between relevant channels and be met with a consistent brand presence and message across both on- and offline channels.
Supply chain professionals want to retrieve information about products and services at any time and firstly understand benefits and quickly discuss them with competent partners.
Switching from push to pull logic involves an appreciation of what it entails for FMCG companies. As information about a company's goods and services is available across multiple platforms, the marketing and sales teams' roles must be redefined.
The modern sales world necessitates a structured IT approach and a customer relationship management system that is equally open to all employees. As a result, digitalization often involves the centralization of data processing and internal organizational transformation.
Key Growth Drivers in FMCG
Providing personalized solutions based on previous data
Companies in the FMCG industry should strive to have more customized retail IT solutions rather than standardized solutions. This would assist in widening the consumer base and growing loyalty. Companies should "trap" their customers' purchase habits and create better-tailored solutions to their needs.
By showing relevant and personalized data, would definitely help in increasing the loyal customer base. The companies can create and send highly relevant messages to their loyal customers at the right time.
Better interaction with customers
Interactions with consumers play an important role in both offline and online shopping. Interactions dictate whether or not consumers can “return” to the business in the future. Excellent communication can keep customers longer, while a single bad interaction can cost you all of your customers.
Companies must aim to be engaging during the pre-sales process, assisting consumers with their needs and providing the best product possible. Companies must communicate with their customers about the success of their products during the post-sales period. When a consumer has a problem in the post-sales process, businesses must be interactive. They must come up with the best possible solution and resolve them as early as possible. The customer interactions could take place through online reviews, social media channels, etc.
Improving in-house operations
Digitization can also assist companies in improving the operations that take place on their premises. Digitization can result in innovation, fewer human efforts, errors, and increased automation performance. When manufacturing processes are delegated to automation and robotics, operational efficiency can be increased significantly.
Developing newer business models
Businesses will look to build newer business models focused on particular customer patterns and loyalty programs with the aid of digitization. Businesses should add some exclusive, customized features to their current offerings and models for their loyal customers. These business models can assist businesses in distinguishing themselves from their competitors, ultimately contributing to their success.
Creating a seamless and multi-channel experience
Companies will begin the transition by capturing the channels by which their customers communicate. It may include the computer used to make the transaction and what they buy the most often. Companies should aim to have a more reliable and seamless experience for their customers to address their needs.
An FMCG Enterprise Platform Is The Need Of The Hour
We have looked at the role and importance of digitalization in resolving the challenges faced by the FMCG industry. Brainvire has extensive experience in developing retail IT solutions that assist companies in streamlining processes and business operations. Our enterprise app development sservices can create single or multiple platforms and modules that FMCG companies can use to alleviate the stress of lead generation and sales management. Below are some of the major modules that can transform the workflow and strategic framework of an FMCG company through digitization.
Lead Management System
Lead generation is an integral part of any FMCG company looking to find prospective customers for their products. In most organizations, the lead management, and sales process often goes through a hierarchy where team members are assigned tasks according to either region, location, or specific products. The typical lead generation process involves finding leads, contacting them, setting up a personal meeting, presenting products, and converting those leads into loyal customers.
With a digital lead management platform, a business development executive can manage the lead generation and conversion process online. The lead management system can take care of one-to-one or one-to-many meetings, fix time appointment schedules, and enroll the contractor or vendor onto the platform.
An online lead management system saves time, eliminates miscommunication, and reduces effort on the part of field sales officers who otherwise visit leads physically without knowing the probability of conversion.
Rewards and Loyalty Integration
Companies can integrate a loyalty and rewards program as an incentive for vendors and contractors to use the lead management app. This will allow users to stay motivated to use the app and onboard more customers for their products.
For a loyalty platform, FMCG companies can integrate payment gateways from popular payment solutions. When registered leads or users log in to the app, they can make and receive payments through the platform itself. As an incentive, companies can provide bonus points, rewards, or loyalty points that vendors can redeem in exchange for money, discount offers on their next purchase.
Users can get the option to redeem points in a number of ways. They can opt to get the money equivalent to the value of points transferred directly to their bank accounts. They can get this monetary value sent to their digital wallets or use these points to purchase products from the product catalog on the app. A platform for loyalty or reward points adds a mix of gamification, making it enjoyable for users to use the app.
Site Visit Management
The site management module is basically used for internal tasks management. Here the sales and business teams are responsible for allocating sites to field executives. This allocation can be according to region, area, or product market.
Once the managers allot a site or lead to their field agents, the agents can visit those prospective customers and give them a presentation of their product portfolio. Moreover, if the lead is successfully converted after the meeting, the business executive or field executive can onboard the customer to the platform during the visitation itself.
This saves time and effort on the part of the field agents to complete cumbersome paperwork in the office after onboarding a client.
Different dealers require different product catalogs and portfolios to show their clients. The same pictures and product videos will not be useful for vendors dealing with different crafts.
The product catalog module will have a photo and video gallery that can be edited and managed according to different dealers and their needs.
The Survey module is used to understand the needs and demands of the dealers, vendors, and customers using the platform. Surveys are prepared and sent to dealers asking them questions on their expectations from the platform. Dealers can answer these queries and suggest enhancements, improvements, or changes based on their needs. In addition, they can specify what they are looking for in terms of product pricing, payment, loyalty points redemption, lead management, and more.
Despite challenges, the FMCG industry appears to have a bright future. Higher disposable incomes, an increasing population, increased knowledge, and a consumption-driven culture can all be blamed for this. Leading factors such as retail IT solutions and mobility are important considerations for the FMCG sector's development. Therefore retail players must focus on building capacities in digital marketing and advanced technologies to grow in the business.
To remain competitive in the long run, FMCG businesses must be adaptable to new technologies, proactive in dealing with crisis situations, and versatile in their deployment strategies. As a result, a successful FMCG company would need superior infrastructure support, an effective distribution network, and audacity. An efficient FMCG business will therefore require superior infrastructure support, an effective distribution network, automated sales processes, and efficient supply chain management.