If there’s one thing CGs have learned in 2022, it’s that data has a place across the entire business lifecycle. More and more CGs are leveraging technology that gives them better access to this valuable data, including machine learning and artificial intelligence.
According to the CGT and RIS 2021 Retail and Consumer Goods Study, the top three uses of AI/ML in the industry are supply chain planning and execution (28%), demand planning and forecasting (27%), and marketing/promotion campaign planning and execution (24%). From the supply chain to in-store experiences, businesses need to embrace data, and the tech infrastructure that keeps it flowing in order to increase market visibility, strengthen product innovation, and bolster the consumer experience.
These three brands are investing heavily in the data revolution.
The brand is leveraging interactive experiences to collect valuable consumer data. Coca-Cola launched its Smart Lounge in a souvenir store in Shanghai. Consumers can hang out and purchase beverages while a network of cameras use computer vision and AI to identify the average number of shoppers, purchase routes, interactions, the amount of time spent in the lounge, the space distribution of the areas visited, and more.
The Smart Lounge is also designed to increase operational efficiency by displaying order volume and best-selling items so users can better inform their merchandising strategies and identify areas of improvement.
Additionally, Coca-Cola is investing in data for its Wabi digital ecosystem in order to improve relationships with retailers and bottling partners, all while providing consumer insights.
Wabi is a set of features in a digital ecosystem that allows the company to sell beverage and multi-category orders both direct-to-consumer and B2B. James Quincey, Coca-Cola chairman and CEO, said in an earnings call this last year that the Wabi model has been used in regions with a high density of mom-and-pop shops, such as Latin America. A consumer places an order in the Wabi app, which then shops the order to the independent retailer nearest to the consumer.
The brand recently launched Kraft-O-Matic as part of a partnership with Google Cloud to improve consumer understanding and personalization. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will drive real-time data insights that Kraft Heinz will use to inform new food flavors, formulations, and products. The Kraft-O-Matic data platform will supply information to fuel innovation, product development, and business operations, said the company.
Additionally, the company is using Google’s data and analytics technologies and Google Ads to elevate its e-commerce marketing strategy. It will leverage Google’s first-party data warehousing to personalize consumer experiences and customer service. As part of this strategy, Kraft-Heinz is building a proprietary tech ecosystem.
“The creation of centralized customer development and revenue management team has been a big part of this, and the feedback from our retail partners is encouraging,” said Carlos Abrams-Rivera, president, North America, Kraft-Heinz in an earnings call.
The brand recently partnered with Ahold to add interactive end caps to several Giant Stores in the Washington, D.C. area. The end caps allow consumers to learn more about the products on the shelf via a touch screen with videos. Additionally, they use computer vision and AI to collect valuable consumer data, including total interactions, the most popular products by either touch or pickup, average pickup to screen time, and conversion rate. Unilever launched the partnership with Dove products.
“Historically, this hasn't been done a whole lot in the grocery channel so hopefully this is a great case study to then scale this to other customers and bring awareness of what’s capable in the grocery channel, enabling the shopper to do a kind of a one-stop shop vs going to the different channels,” said Christina DiPietro, Unilever's team lead for Ahold.
With benefits extending from increased collaboration to enhanced safety, more consumer goods companies are investing in digital twins, including Unilever, Mars, Coca-Cola, Kraft Heinz, and Johnson & Johnson.
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