8 Ways How The Rules of Availability Are Changing

by Akshay D'Souza

July 27, 2020 | 03 min read


AVAILABILITY eats brand for breakfast and then some…

This statement may have kicked up a storm before COVID-19 hit us, but now it’s clear as water.  

Consumer goods brands were caught with their pants down. That, by itself, wasn’t bad. After all, nobody estimated the extent of the crisis before it hit us. 

A crisis can bring out the best in us or show how inadequate the systems that we’ve put in place for years and decades. That’s what happened to Consumer goods companies while staring at the lockdown. To ensure you don’t get caught again, here are some things to ensure that tumhara product ‘Dikhega aur bikhega’.

Direct to Retail distribution has become critical

The need to empower retailers is now essential given the inability of brands to reach their retailers for order-taking during the crisis. Over 50 Bizom brands have started aggressively digitizing their retailers to ensure they can order whichever product they want, at any time. It is throwing out unexpected demand for products that were earlier not pushed from the traditional distribution channels. 

Here’s how our Retailer App is helping brands who have gone down this path.

I want Retailer App too!

Traditional brick & mortar stores are going mobile to meet community demand

There is an explosion in physical stores reaching out to communities with their product offerings. Some recent examples that come to mind are multiple fresh food brands, including iD Fresh, A2B, Marriott, Holiday Inn, etc. 

Traditional brick-and-mortar stores like DMart, Nature’s Basket, etc. have enabled deliveries via their app. Pharma services for OTC and prescription medicines have now evolved to address community needs directly.

In servicing general trade, collections of 75% are considered healthy due to the extension of credit to the retailer. However, as iD Fresh has demonstrated, this is in the high 90s when dealing with communities.

It is providing a whole new impetus to addressing demand by reaching out directly to consumers through communities. We do see this space evolving rapidly and becoming a regular activity for brick-and-mortar stores to drive higher demand.

How can Bizom help

Making BRAND availability visible to consumers

All’s not lost for brand building though. We have seen that a key step in building brand preference is to let consumers know where its products are available. 

Among the biggest challenges brands face in the current crisis were: 

a. being able to maintain its supply and 

b. distribute it in a manner that consumers can find their products easily

Breaks in supply or distribution meant that consumers bought whatever was available on the shelf from that category. It means that helping consumers find your brand products would add that extra dimension to growing brand preference. 

To activate StoreFinder for your brand, write to us at marketing@mobisy.com

Shift to large multi-brand distributors

There seems to be a shift in the distribution model. Brands are moving away from distributing through several smaller geo distributors to large multi-brand distributors with bigger geo reach. But is this trend here to stay? The jury is out on this one though there has been an emergence of distributors such as Global Consumer, Khimji Ramdas, TJUK, etc. to drive the product availability mandate with a larger geo spread. It does seem as if emerging brands want to see a specialist drive their product reach and demand fulfillment while they focus on ensuring supply and consumer brand preference.

Preference for digital payments

The prolonged duration of social distancing is further accelerating the move from physical cash to digital payments. 

Numerous outlets are now accepting only digital payments due to the potential risk of dealing with cash from a large number of people. It is getting particularly prominent in regions where there are a higher number of COVID-affected folks. In essence, we do see this becoming the norm, and over the next six months, businesses will accelerate to digital payments as the ‘new normal’ if they haven’t already. 

Delivery partnerships for last-mile delivery

What’s common among Hershey’s, Unibic, Tata Consumer Products, Marico, Godrej Consumer, and ITC foods? All have recently driven partnerships with last-mile delivery providers like Swiggy, Dunzo, Zomato, Domino’s Pizza, Flipkart, etc. to drive consumer fulfillment. Building a D2C model has been a long-standing aspiration for these companies, but little was done before the crisis.

We do see these partnerships evolving to a point where a greater share of consumer demand will be fulfilled through these last-mile delivery channels in the years to come.

Lines between online and offline distribution are blurring

General trade distributors for consumer products are listing aggressively on online marketplaces like Flipkart, IndiaMART, etc. It is to future-proof the business and to be able to manage demand coming from any channel, including online. Brands want to be available at every place where there is consumer demand, and it doesn’t matter if it’s fulfilled by their distributor or through some other channel, as long as it’s their product. 

Leveraging multi-brand digital distributors

Brands are taking the high road to ensure availability for consumer demand from any channel and not just the ones being managed and fulfilled by them. The role of third-party marketplaces such as Shopx, Udaan, etc. is gaining prominence.

This is the BIG BANG for how distribution will evolve. What’s also certain is that it will accelerate the landscape of how products reach consumers and make it easier for them to get their favorite products.

I imagine many of you are down this road of reinventing yourselves. 

We’re with you in this, all the way!

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