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 are 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’.
1.Direct to Retail distribution has become critical
The need to empower retailers is now essential given the inability of brands to reach their retailer 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.
2. 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 addressing 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. Check here
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?
3. 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 faced in the current crisis was:
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 email@example.com
4. 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 fulfilment while they focus on ensuring supply and consumer brand preference.
5. 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.
6. Delivery partnerships for last-mile delivery
What’s common among Hershey’s,Unibic, Tata Consumer product, Marico, Godrej Consumer, ITC foods? All have recently driven partnerships with last-mile delivery providers like Swiggy, Dunzo, Zomato, Domino’s Pizza, Flipkart etc. to drive consumer fulfilment. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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. are 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 favourite products.
I imagine many of you are down this road of reinventing yourselves.
We’re with you in this, all the way!