CPG execs hoping tech can improve retail relationships

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) businesses can realise significant gains in cross-channel growth through digital collaboration with retailers and distributors, and better internal integration.

That was a key finding from a new research study from global consultancy Accenture, which questioned CPG executives from around the globe. Industry leaders suggested they are committed to increasing their use of digital technology to improve internal integration across marketing, sales, service, supply chain and research and development, but they feel restrictions in emerging markets and lagging customer analytics may slow the process.

Some 67% of respondents cited moderate or significant potential for digital technologies to amplify sales through traditional channels by improving the allocation of marketing spend to drive mutually beneficial retail relationships.

Meanwhile, three-quarters of all account directors surveyed expect improved collaboration with retailers and distributors through digital transformation to drive the availability of their products and make the best use of shelf space.

Koen Van Bockstaele, managing director for consumer goods & services at Accenture, said: "The vast number of opportunities being created by digital technologies continues to have a profound effect on the CPG sales and trade marketing processes, with the potential for improved sales performance.

"However, to unlock the true potential of digital technologies that CPG executives have committed to, companies should ensure that their investments go beyond the efficiencies created by the digitisation of processes and channels, and enable them to become fully digital organisations. To achieve their growth targets, CPG brands need to deliver and market a consistent, personalised consumer experience across multiple sales channels to reach target consumers around the world and appeal to their anytime, anywhere shopping expectations."

CPG heads of sales taking part in the research predicted that the advent of technology could result in a number of benefits for the industry, including reducing the cost of servicing customers, increasing the chance of consumers trading up and boosting sales through targeted email or personalised content.

"Although most CPG companies acknowledge that the primary value of analytics revolves around obtaining a better view of the shopper to optimise assortment, pricing and promotions, they continue to struggle with the quality and consistency of the data available," explained Van Bockstaele.

"Investing in the right tools and the talent to extract analytic insights that allow companies to take action at the shelf and consistently applying analytics to sales and customer processes and decisions across the company – from the boardroom to sales force – represents the greatest opportunity for improving market performance."

The study also found that while digital engagement and direct selling can offer CPG firms an easier path to consumers in new markets, three-quarters of heads of sales agree that restrictions for selling online in certain markets are a barrier to reaching new consumers via digital channels.

Some 68% of those surveyed agreed that local privacy and promotion legislation makes it challenging to sell directly to consumers through digital channels.

The Accenture research was carried out by Forrester Consulting, which surveyed chief sales officer and VP of sales level, as well as account directors with responsibility for sales strategy and execution. Those responding to the survey represented CPG companies from the US, UK, Canada, China and Germany.

Click below for more information:

Accenture: CPG Sales Leaders Go Multichannel; A Guide To CPG Sales And Channel Management In A Digital World

Forrester Consulting