The downturn, if media reports are to be believed, is a mixed bag. Parle-G’s budget packs are not selling well, but Britannia’s premium biscuits are. Soaps are finding fewer buyers, but lipsticks and makeup continue to defy depressed markets. Rural is slowing down, and so on.
Whatever the impact of the downturn has been on your brand, as we pointed out in our last newsletter, there is no better time than now to look into your operational efficiency.
The game-changer, in this case, is Retail Analytics. However, it will take more than just digitising your sales and supply chains to improve operational efficiency. Here are the secrets of brands that do it well.
HUSTLE your numbers
Very few brands tap into the potential of business intelligence to scale their businesses. After spending millions on fancy automation tools, the data often lies dormant in forgotten drives of MIS personnel.
At best, brands use the data to track attendance of their sales personnel, order management or secondary sales.
Graduate to tracking sales productivity, planning new product launch placement/success, improving schemes efficiency, identifying the right outlets, avoiding duplication of outlets (big hygiene problem across the industry), and increasing outlet coverage and offtake.
Let the numbers speak for your customer
Part of listening to consumers is also to benchmark, analyse and segment the market. In our era of “micro-markets“, to gain dominance, there is no way but to dig deep into the performance of your products and wants of consumers.
In depressed markets, it takes the speed of action to buck the trend of falling sales. Your analytics data can inform these decisions.
If consumption is dropping, work with your distributors and retailers to match customers’ requirements. For instance, use offtake numbers to re-package your SKUs or schemes as per market requirements.
Identify under-penetrated categories
Advanced retail analytics can also help you gain access to newer markets and outlets by identifying the under-penetrated categories. Then forecast your consumer behaviour as B Sumant, executive director of ITC said in a recent Economic Times article:
“FMCG companies are entering into newer outlets to target newer customers, which is leading to growth in the under-penetrated categories. For well-entrenched categories like soaps and biscuits, growth will be impacted unless consumers buy more or upgrade their purchases, which is happening now.”
Evangelise to your community
Work towards broader adoption of the retail tech. Let this tech not remain the sole domain of your sales and marketing departments. Align your company’s culture and operations to the new technology and encourage collaboration between departments.
Organising awareness drives about the tech, and its strategic relevance is one way of going about it. Anticipate resistance to the change. Counter it by conducting training programs and gamify adoption of the tech.
Build your support structure
Develop and execute an organisational structure that can scale the impact of the new tech. This strategy requires you to not only invest in quality talent but also empower the tech teams to execute the organisational goals.