How can consumer businesses handle COVID-19

How can Consumer Businesses handle COVID-19

What originated as an epidemic in China, has exploded into a full blown pandemic. No governments, economic theories or business models were prepared for the magnitude of the pandemic’s impact. As the world braces for the worst, businesses are desperately turning to technology.

Only technology can withstand the rigors of the safety measures required to fight COVID-19. FMCG and CPG businesses in India know this better than others. They have been hit the worst. How do they keep their supply chains functioning in times of social distancing? Especially when there are fewer field personnel to help service in General Trade.

In the age of social distancing, technology is the answer to the woes of FMCG and CPG brands. Already many of these brands have turned to technology to power their remote teams and supply chain processes. They have quickly realised that COVID-19 is the strategic inflection point for their businesses. Businesses that don’t acknowledge or adapt to the new reality will run out of steam, quickly!

Can technology help consumer businesses to address their challenges of fewer customers walking into their establishments? What can tech to deal with the spikes in consumption of only select product categories? Data shows products of skin care, personal care, homecare and packaged foods are flying off the shelves.

Consumer businesses immediately need to keep their supply chains functioning to meet the consumer demand. They also have to ensure all other functions including collections, trade schemes are revised and active. It can only be done through greater digital transformation. Consumer businesses must implement digital solutions that will bring their retailers and distributors within the technology gambit.

Self-ordering apps for retailers

Self ordering apps empower retailers to order directly from brands. By moving away from the traditional methods of DSRs, phone calls and messages, it cuts down the inefficiencies around ordering and delivering stock. Brands like Bausch & Lomb India which had already implemented the tech in normal times won’t suffer much disruption during the pandemic.

Brands should think about empowering their retailers to self order. In addition to reducing the people touch required for goods to reach retailers from brands, the self-ordering app will also enable brands to:

  • Communicate schemes to retailer through the Retailer app. This diminishes the dependence on the sales team and helps drive faster awareness than if brands reach them through the sales team.
  • Send new product training material sent through the app to ensure that retailers know the latest update about the brand’s offerings.
  • Secondary scheme money transfer done directly to a retailer by knowing what quantities he’s picked up using a GRN (goods received note) capability on his app rather than wait for distributor to put a claim and then again wait for the company to confirm in a month before it gets out.

For Field Force

  • Focus on one-time adoption of the retailer app and not on order taking as is the case today. So they move from being order taking folks to Business Development now handling almost 2-3x the no of outlets than they could earlier.

For Businesses

  • Be always available to retailers
  • Communicate near-real-time with them and drive better awareness of the trade schemes
  • Service retailers better and improve productivity from the field-force

Listen to Sanjay Bhutani, MD Bausch & Lomb India & SAARC talk about driving predictable delivery using a Retailer App which was a game changer for them.

Sanjay Bhutani

If you’d like to know more or read in detail about Bizom’s Retailer App, click here.

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