Consumer Packaged Goods companies, or CPGs, exist in a dynamic market where today’s consumers have much higher expectations than their predecessors in terms of service as well as the quality of products. They know what they want and how to get it. With the rise of technology and especially social media, instant gratification lies at people’s fingertips, but so do a slew of reviews, ratings, and alternatives to just about every service imaginable if their needs aren’t met.
CPGs are no exception.
Effectively, millennials have begun maturing into a fast-paced generation with the desire to obtain goods and services at increasing speeds and through more conventional methods. As such, they can appear to be a challenging demographic to service and to market to, but with the right strategies, they can also offer the greatest opportunities for growth.
Why? Millennials have ditched brand loyalty in favour of convenience, efficiency and better-pointed products that match their tastes. Furthermore, they often use social media to influence others and can serve as voluntary brand ambassadors if they are happy with their experiences and purchases. For legacy and well-established brands, this can pose a challenge, but it also opens up the market for new businesses and increases their potential for growth. It is for this reason that it becomes imperative that CPGs stay aware of the newest trends and respond to consumer’s demands quickly.
In this blog post, we will explore the CPG industry trends in two areas.
- CPG business trends
- CPG technology trends
CPG Business Trends
According to a study conducted by the Food Marketing Institute, almost half of shoppers now report purchasing their CPGs online. Their number is still rising, and omnichannel, where brands offer an online and an offline experience, seems to be especially well received. This trend illustrates that consumers value choice and convenience. They appreciate the speed that the combination of online ordering and store pick up can provide. Companies that can exploit online and offline channels to give shoppers a better service than either can present on its own are experiencing the most growth.
When CPG businesses offer these and can also add home delivery, they manage to please the largest number of customers.
Giant online retailers like Amazon are now offering CPG delivery through online ordering, and the number of users for this service is growing.
Coming in strong and offering great convenience and value to consumers lie the CPG subscription services. These are mostly run online, but still, offer consumers highly customizable experiences and plenty of choices to replace the in-store experience.
Implementing these services has the added benefit that most shoppers who opt-in typically repeat customers, so it can be simpler to retain them and offer them more tailored choices.
While convenience is very important to millennials, so is making healthy choices. Products that cater to health-conscious consumers or shoppers with allergies have been around for a long time. Now, a wide variety of these products, such as sugar-free desserts or gluten-free foods, have cemented themselves in mainstream stores and have become popular with all different kinds of customers. Today’s consumers want products that have a positive impact on their bodies, and they will choose them whenever presented with the opportunity.
The CPG market can be crowded, but consumers are paying more and more attention to the goods they purchase based on their own personal values and beliefs. Sustainability, environmentally friendly products, and a focus on corporate responsibility are now things to consider for all business providing consumer goods. Small changes such as recyclable packaging can boost sales immensely. Alternatively, not being mindful of problems with sourcing goods can upset would-be customers.
In other words, shortages in natural resources, as well as social and political crises, cannot only disrupt the global chains of supply, but also the opinion that consumers have about a company.
Finally, it is important to point out that the new generations have gotten used to acquiring goods with much more ease and at greater frequencies than generations before. Maybe for this exact reason, the impact on happiness that even luxury goods or consumables have is much more toned down.
There is now a shift that looks for experiences and not products to provide greater satisfaction. Marketers should focus on launching goods that grab the attention of consumers, which in turn encourage them to share their experiences through social media or even word of mouth. This helps create a much stronger interest in products and can even provide fantastic opportunities to mine data for future marketing plans and product development.
CPG Technology Trends
CPG Technology Trend #1: Data and Artificial Intelligence
Most of the business trends surrounding the CPG industry have a common goal: bottom-line growth. To achieve growth, a large number of data comprised around consumer preferences, marketing campaign, sales promotions, purchasing choices, reviews, feedback, and expressed interest must be taken into account. Data is the oil of the 21st century.
However, it is impossible for decision-makers to browse and make sense of data. Consumer Goods businesses produce a humongous amount of data and this overwhelms decision-makers as they have to spend scouring through data.
AI harnesses volumes of real-time data and prioritizes and alerts on the relevant KPIs and reports that business experts should review. AI can also prescribe the right business action that needs to be taken for the insight AI provides.
Learn More: Why CPG Business Intelligence Needs AI
CPG Technology Trend #2: CPG Analytics and Trade Promotion Optimization
Trade promotions are the second largest item on the P&L of a CPG business. A mere 15% improvement on Trade Promotion ROI will improve the top line by 10% and operating margins by 3-5%.
However most businesses still struggle with measuring and profitably optimizing promotions. According to Nielsen Holdings, close to 60% of trade promotions don’t break even.
Challenges rise from siloed data, lack of sales forecasting to sole reliance on Trade Promotion Management and ERP systems etc.
Trade Promotion Optimization softwares help you measure and optimize your trade promotions by capturing and analyzing large amounts of data from various internal and external data sources. TPO solutions project the ROI and sales uplift generated by each promotion and recommend the right type of promotion to be run at the right place and time. You’ll have the ability to forecast sales by setting up different promotion combinations, budget constraints and goal (maximize profit or volume or sales) parameters.
Trade Promotion Optimization solutions leverage machine learning and advanced analytics technologies to harness huge volumes of real-time unstructured and structured data. These solutions are built with the sole goal of getting the maximum promotion ROI for a minimum spend.
CPG Technology Trend #3: Business Intelligence Chatbots
AI Chatbots continue to play a huge part in marketing, customer engagement, field sales employee productivity and enabling data-driven decision-making.
These virtual assistants personalize marketing efforts and customer experience. They provide 24/7 customer support, send alerts on new product launches, promotions, etc.
From an employee standpoint, bots will be used to help field sales force stay on track of important metrics and KPIs and alert them in case of any deflection. Our Sales Intelligent Assistant, SIA is one example of an AI chatbot for CPG field sales force.
Bots also boost Business Intelligence adoption among business users and enable a convenient data-driven decision-making. BI chatbots integrate into your existing BI systems like Power BI, SAP, Oracle etc. and resides a contact in your messaging apps like Skype for Business, Slack, Microsoft Teams etc. or virtual assistants like Cortana. Users can access data by having a quick conversation with the BI bot.
CPG Technology Trend #4: Smart Packaging
In 2019 and beyond, Companies looking to drive innovation and technology in-house and this results in rapid prototyping for packaging departments. Brands can upskill their employees at a wider scale and enable them to get hands-on with emerging technologies without any workshops – reducing costs and saving time.