GUEST COLUMN: FMCG companies took to apps, bet big on direct-to-consumer reach

Mumbai: The eruption of COVID-19 has left thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of companies scurrying for survival. Although considerably much less affected than some classes, the FMCG companies additionally confronted headwinds for a while. And to counter these headwinds, know-how has been the only most essential intervention that they’ve employed throughout these making an attempt instances. And of the applied sciences, functions enabling a direct route to the buyer in addition to different companies within the worth chain have been most outstanding.
While inserting their religion in these functions, FMCG companies have additionally recast their worth chains hunting down pointless components at varied ranges permitting themselves larger leverage vis-à-vis their vendor companions and establishing a extra direct join with their end-consumers. And amongst FMCG companies, meals companies, or these with outstanding meals product portfolios have been significantly noteworthy for taking the app route.  A step forward of basic commerce, trendy commerce, and even conventional e-commerce channels, these apps have been well-liked but needed go-to modes for these companies.
The big B2C benefit
How does B2C show to be advantageous for FMCG companies? Until now, customer-relationship constructing and buying buyer insights had been largely the protect of the retailer group. However, what B2C apps do is that they facilitate a direct and one-on-one company-to-consumer relationship, with the previous no extra having to make efforts to set up bonding with a faceless shopper. On prime of permitting deeper end-consumer insights for companies and types, they’ll catalyse extra related and individualised product and repair propositions by the model to the buyer thus main to a extra enriching buyer expertise which in flip would drive elevated buyer acquisition, conversion, and retention for the model. And pointless to say, the facility steadiness between the model and the retailer is additional shifted in favour of the model and away from the retailer.
B2B functions not too far-off
However, this taking to functions has not been restricted to B2C channels. FMCG companies have additionally integrated apps of their enterprise processes instantly concentrating on retailers and kirana shops who offload their merchandise and function a last-mile vendor/provider to end-consumers. Identifying and prioritising retailers who delivered prime quantity companies, the companies made positive that the retailers continued to place orders for his or her merchandise, and much more effectively utilizing these functions than they did earlier than. In truth, thanks to Covid, the sooner forecasts projecting a contribution of round 10 per cent digital channels within the whole FMCG market within the subsequent ten years within the nation has been superior to subsequent three to 4 years now. And on the identical time, reducing out or minimising the function of distributors particularly when it comes to collection of stores, the manufacturers have reclaimed their energy vis-à-vis the latter whereas effecting larger streamlining and consolidation of their distribution techniques.
Proliferation of recent merchandise
While pivoting to digital applied sciences, B2C and B2B apps, the FMCG companies have additionally realigned their product portfolios in a serious manner capitalising on the shifting shopper preferences and conduct in instances of the pandemic. And as a part of this realignment, there was a proliferation of recent and progressive merchandise which have been launched to the market in the previous couple of months. With well being and hygiene being a predominant shopper focus, as many as 3,000 merchandise within the well being and hygiene class have been estimated to be launched within the September quarter alone final yr. Earlier, within the April-September quarter, as many as 9,700 new merchandise had been launched by FMCG companies. Mindful of and in response to the country-wide lockdowns in place and prospects being confined to their houses, 125 merchandise had been launched in-home cooking section alone throughout March-August 2020 in classes together with ketchup, jams, cheese, and milk powders.
Exploring different channels of distribution too
Even as D2C apps achieve traction, the FMCG companies are additionally exploring tie-ups with new-age supply startups, food-tech service gamers, meals aggregators, hyper-local apps, and courier companies to have their merchandise delivered to the doorsteps of the end-consumer. In truth, some FMCG companies are additionally making product-specific tie-ups with supply platforms and micro supply platforms.
Digitisation not restricted to distribution: Influencer advertising will get a lift
Rising uptake in apps and the broader digitisation has not solely been confined to retail and distribution but in addition promoting and advertising. And using on the more and more entrenched place of social media and its consumption, influencer advertising has grow to be a big a part of FMCG’s digital advertising technique lately. According to a report, globally, practically a fifth (19 per cent) of FMCG companies have raised their influencer spending considerably as in contrast to pre-COVID-19 ranges. And inside India, throughout the festive season marketing campaign alone, influencer advertising noticed a 20 per cent soar in campaigns. A digital advertising company has estimated India’s influencer market at $75-150 million a yr, as in contrast to the worldwide market of $1.75 billion, which is barely set to get greater within the coming months and years.
Other applied sciences that might assist the B2C momentum
At the identical time, aside from apps, there are a number of associated B2C applied sciences and platforms that might add tooth to the continuing B2C drive. They might vary from buyer knowledge platforms to knowledge administration platforms to advertising automation instruments to enterprise intelligence and knowledge visualization instruments to social listening instruments, amongst others.
So, sooner or later, there is no such thing as a doubt that the B2C apps as a part of an FMCG firm’s digitisation program will purchase a extra everlasting dimension. Notwithstanding a resurgence of Covid in sure states, now with vaccination underway and revival of shopper sentiment in city India, FMCG companies together with meals companies are set to see larger exercise and progress.  
(Manish Aggarwal is director, Bikano, Bikanervala Foods Pvt Ltd. The views expressed within the column are private and might not subscribe to them.)

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