Bizom Advisory to Brands in the Times of COVID-19

Straight talking

Are these unprecedented times? Yes, they are.

Are our supply chains facing what can only be a war-time strain? Yes, they are.

Is our field force down to a quarter? Yes, they are. Probably, less than a quarter.

But do we have to despair?

My answer is an emphatic “NO.” Over 20 consumer brands have rolled out Bizom’s digital solutions to enable a contactless supply chain in the last week alone. There’s much you can do as a consumer brand to deal with COVID-19 markets.

What can be your response in this singular crisis? 

“Break Bad”

There’s just one way to do it. Raise hell about safeguarding both lives and livelihoods. But be empathetic while you’re at it. Here’s how. 

First and foremost is safety. Safety for everyone – your employees, customers, channel partners, and consumers. That means #StayAtHome. 

Still, your field force has its day jobs. They have to call the retailers, and other channel partners, and ensure stock in stores. Just as our lives were until Jan 2020, the old forms of communication, including phone calls, emails, and WhatsApp messages are history. Also, they’ll create delays and inefficiencies. 

Instead, turn to Bizom’s Retailer App. In the chaos of what supply chains are currently, our Retailer App can enable contactless ordering and direct communication with your key channels like the retailers.

Here’s some context: In under two weeks, over 20 consumer brands have already rolled out Bizom Retailer App. 

Try it out for a month, free of cost. Read our playbook to know how we helped Bausch & Lomb and Pepsi in hearty times. Our systems will hold well in a pandemic too.

Along with the Bizom Retailer application, many brands requested contactless collections. We’re building online payment capability in the retailer application on a war footing. In India, it can integrate with UPI technology and elsewhere it can integrate with Paypal and other online payment gateways.

The second is availability. It goes without saying – ensure the availability of goods across the supply chain, especially for essentials. Despite the lockdowns, border shutdowns or even police take-downs. There might be parts of your supply chain with low visibility. 

Low visibility means that you cannot plan your inventory. Cannot support your channel partners adequately. You cannot ensure availability in such conditions.

You need data to identify the weak links in your supply chain. Only by digitising your supply chain can you accrue the data. Encourage your channel partners to adopt digital solutions. Offer rewards to register and track orders on the mobile DMS.

The third is to manage shock. The consumption demand will drop. As a brand, you have to use your resources (your people, assets, and capital) efficiently. Repurpose 30-50% of your topline revenue that you typically spend on RTM to battle the shock of the erratic demand. 

Help your sales team to meet fulfilment by rethinking trade promotions and giving promos to KROs. Drive stakeholders’ behaviour towards digital adoption. Distributors may not want to comply or share data with channel partners. Offer benefits to condition the digital behaviours you want.

Such an approach will collate the data you need to understand and predict demand. There are also data to predict the graph of the disease. Overlap your data to the demand in the market. Forecast your demand better.

You’ll need to build real-time communication channels for your field sales teams and channel partners. It is more critical when you have to relay health and business-related updates. 

Use Bizom’s alerts and notifications to communicate about the latest health advisory or updates about the lockdown in real time. Avoid email. It will only add to your delays. You can also notify your retailers about schemes and discounts. Or gather data on focus outlets/SKUS and stock levels as they change. 

The fourth is to rebuild. The post-COVID-19 world will require a different strategy. The economy will recover as the disease dies down. In such a scenario, how do you drive ahead to capture what you lost? You can also look at capturing some of your competition’s market share. To make this happen, you’ll need data on the demand and consumption curve of consumers. So what do you need to do now?

Focus on short-term actions for the long-term growth of the business through the adoption of technology. Bizom’s Retail Intelligence platform can help you plug the automation gaps. 

Also, adoption alone might not suffice. You’ll have to invest in training and evangelise to your audience. A refresher training can better prepare your team to deal with the new challenges of a post-Covid-19 world when they return to work. Many brands are accelerating online training during these times. Bizom training teams are ready when you are! 

We’re here to help. Feel free to write back if you need to know more.

Lalit Bhise,
Founder & CEO

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