Increasing outlet coverage in COVID-19 times

by Mischelle Rebello

August 17, 2020 | 01 min read


Increasing outlet coverage in COVID-19 times

A serious challenge for most FMCG brands in COVID-19 times is the loss of coverage when outlets are in containment zones. What if brands knew such stores that were still transacting? Or stores in containment zones that have demand for their product categories?  

These questions made us think about brands that did it successfully in non-COVID-19 times and can do so even in pandemic situations. Take, for example, the case of Brand Basmati (a fictional name to protect the identity of the brand). Brand Basmati is one of the world’s leading basmati rice producers with fully integrated operations in the basmati value chain, from seed development to processing to branding and marketing. The company prides itself on consistent quality and hence, consumer preference in the FMCG market. 

Like many of India’s FMCG companies, Brand Basmati faced two significant challenges:

  1. Reaching geographies and markets in which it didn’t have a stronghold, improving visibility.
  2. Tracking its on-field workforce, increasing productivity.

    In India’s multi-layer retail and wholesale market, companies and brands have to manage multiple partners, processes, geographies, and sales reps. To reach every nook and corner of India’s complex retail and distributor ecosystem, it is imperative for enterprises to track and measure the effectiveness of the workforce as well as the performance of products across multiple locations. 

    With quality and consumer preference being its biggest strengths, Brand Basmati wanted to expand its visibility and track its products to uncover gaps as well as new opportunities. Some questions the company needed to answer to streamline sales operations are:

    • How well are its products placed?
    • How far have the products reached?
    • What are the new opportunities for its products?
    • Are product offers performing?
    • How well is the shelf placement of products?
    • How to track on-field workforce performance?

    To answer these questions and more, Brand Basmati embraced the potential of technology to streamline operations and accelerate growth in General Trade and Modern Trade. 

    Like a large number of consumer goods and FMCG businesses in India, the company turned to Bizom’s retail intelligence platform and implemented Sales Force Automation (SFA). 

    Even though Brand Basmati is one of the largest producers and suppliers of rice, it was critical for the company’s growth to get a grip on emerging opportunities in underdeveloped, developing, and complex marketplaces; in short, increase visibility. By utilizing Bizom, it increased the number of outlets in cities and towns in different states in India. Bizom’s category experience in the sector, customized functionalities, and workflows of its intelligence platforms helped the brand fill the gaps missing in its systems. 

    The key to its objective of increasing productivity was in its on-field workforce. Whereas earlier, Brand Basmati’s on-field sales representative team and the company functioned primarily on trust, with Bizom, their relationship became data-driven, structured, tracked, and monitored. 

    With Bizom, the company delegated planned tasks to sales representatives; tracked the number of outlets they reach, the time spent by sales representatives at each outlet, their output, and efficiencies. Whether monitored or not, the sales representatives now gave their best performance in the given timeframe. It resulted in increased productivity of the on-field sales representatives. 

    Moreover, with Bizom’s customized functionalities and workflows, insightful reports from outlets, and product performance reports, among others, Brand Basmati drove necessary changes and solutions to meet its objective of reaching more outlets in a structured way.

    Diving full throttle into technology and its potential to enhance and structure its processes with the help of Bizom, the brand is now looking to tackle its next challenge – managing and tracking its distributors and retailers. The company will leverage Bizom’s Distributor Management System (DMS) to reach its objectives to structure and streamline operations with distributors and retailers.

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