Authored by Mr. Paramdeep Singh- CEO, FieldAssist.
The mobility revolution has now impacted various aspects of human life. One of the game-changing trends in businesses today is to leverage mobility solutions for capturing real-time analytics and derive insights to evaluate trade performance. In a world of all-encompassing emerging technologies, organizations feel the need to get closer to their customers, understanding purchase behaviour and the factors affecting the same. Tech-driven data insights therefore, are directly helping to refine and optimize their business strategies. This is even truer for the Fast Moving Consumer goods (FMCG) industry in India, which has done well till date to embrace technology as a business enabler.
In the last few years, the organized retail sector has seen a notable growth along the rural belt of India owing to increased mobility and internet proliferation. As disposable income levels are rising, we have noticed a surge in the share of non-food expenditure in Indian households. According to reports, FMCG industry is now the fourth largest sector in the Indian economy, growing at an annual rate of 11 per cent over the last decade. This sector is also expected to move up to USD 104 billion net worth by the end of 2020.
With improving awareness about digitization, mobile internet users in rural India are recording a tremendous growth of nearly up to 26%, whereas around 60% of households in urban India already perform daily life activities using internet. In fact, mobile handset penetration in some belts of rural India is much higher than TV. These statistics clearly show why it is a good idea for FMCG brands to make good use of the mobile and online medium to expand reach creatively.
Understanding the Opportunities
In order to increase business efficiency and reduce manufacturing costs, Indian FMCG companies possess a great opportunity of leveraging new technologies. Optimizing on-ground sales force activities, expansion of new products, and real-time data insights to analyse customer preferences—all these aspects can be handled integrating technology, hence answering sustainability challenges for SMEs. Beyond doubt, mobility and analytics will play an instrumental role stimulating long-term growth opportunities in this industry in the near future.
The retail industry is stepping up its digital game by aggressively plugging the existing gaps in the supply chain and distribution channels as well as on the sales front. After implementing tech-monitored systems to manage inventory, many enterprises are now focusing on consolidating their online presence via websites and mobile applications. In addition, investing in state-of-the-art R&D facilities built around new-age mobility solutions has also gained impetus.
FMCG brands have identified automation as a key factor to improve customer experience, and digitization as the most significant organizational tool to ensure repeat buying and brand extension in the market. Trend research in FMCG indicates that consumers are increasingly becoming aware of lifestyle-oriented, premium range products. FMCG companies are therefore constantly focusing on innovating their existing product portfolio and developing new ones. At the same time, they are introducing smaller Stock Keeping Units (SKU) at reduced prices in an attempt maintain adequate stock volumes while expanding consumer base. With granular insights into customer preferences using AI and other predictive business intelligence software, today’s manufacturers are able to develop superior products in a most cost-effective manner.
Having said all that, in order to scale up, FMCG sector must also subsequently invest in new sales technologies such as Sales Force Automation (SFA). Automating and monitoring sales processes can accelerate on-field productivity for executives, capture and document secondary sales data in real time, and even help in mining new strategic pitching opportunities. This way, the consumer value chain in FMCG, retail or e-tail can make become smarter with accurate decisions based on data measured against right KPIs; even the areas of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) have the potential to improve.
A whitepaper from FICCI & PWC points out approximately 77% of CEOs in retail and 73% CEOs in the consumer goods segment around the globe are concerned about the impact of recent shifts in consumer spending and behaviour. Increased number of internet users across the country, higher FMCG consumption and spends in the rural area, cut-throat competition, emergence of modern trade and need for an organized retail distribution system has already prompted leading FMCG players to integrate analytics and mobility solutions in their sales and supply systems. This in turn is expected to create an automated, robust and seamless business environment for organizations, and the industry outlook for this sector looks even more positive after the implementation of GST this fiscal.