Digital commerce is changing the game for the consumer packaged goods industry. Rising customer expectations are forcing the brands to be accessible to every consumer via both physical and digital platforms in personalized ways.
And with increasing payment flexibility and the availability of same-day delivery, more consumers are purchasing grocery and daily-use products online than ever before: According to BCG, e-commerce now accounts for 40% of the growth in CPG retail sales. Furthermore, the Food Marketing Institute estimates that consumers could be buying $100 billion in online groceries annually by 2022.
The CPG industry needs to build a deeper level of interaction with end-consumers through personalized offerings and improved omnichannel experiences. For this, it needs to create a full-blown digital marketplace ecosystem that leverages mobile, social, web and other touchpoints. But one of the significant challenges for many companies is managing a growing heap of product data, related attributes and customer data. And these challenges cannot be ignored.
The industry also needs to keep a closer eye on delighting digitally savvy consumers and keeping pace with the speed of smarter technologies (like AI, virtual assistants, and wearable devices). It also needs to comply with regulations regarding ingredient sourcing, labeling, and packaging as well. But CPGs are still struggling to keep up with innovation due to a lack of digital maturity, existing manual processes and obsolete back-end systems like spreadsheets and disparate platforms that aren’t sufficient in the current scenario.
Driving success in this competitive landscape demands improved capabilities in organizing product data, digital assets, customer data and others in varied formats, feeds, quality standards across multiple channels. Doing so not only accelerates digital initiatives but also improves overall business performance.
Here are five steps CPGs can take to organize their product information and make it available for every department.
1. Create a single version of truth for product data. From high data accuracy to holistic visibility, CPGs can improve every aspect of product data management with a centralized platform in place. For instance, they can cohesively manage data flowing through independent departments like purchasing, warehousing, and shipping. This would allow information transparency and ultimately maximize productivity.
2. Automate processes. Enhancing data quality by cleansing, normalizing, and validating the data with an automated, collaborative management process. This improves agility for optimizing the global synchronization of product feeds and streamlined supply chain management. CPGs can achieve operational excellence by systematizing the reconciliation of non-standardized information and minimizing the probability of human errors.
3. Provide seamless experiences across all touchpoints. Streamlined product information and digital assets can help CPGs acquire, normalize, enrich and synchronize product content throughout the system.They can effectively influence perceptive shoppers with product attributes, images, videos, reviews, specifications and other assets. Consumers can get accurate, consistent, and dynamically linked product data via platforms such as websites, social channels, mobile apps, and others for an informative, engaging experience.
4. Enable omnichannel delivery. With faster onboarding and updating of product data, it’s possible to drive omnichannel visibility of new and existing products. Firms can integrate and import data from any internal and supplier sources – file systems, cloud storage devices, backend systems, and more. This further improves the quality of insights derived. Using these actionable insights helps deliver the right product to the right customer at the right time.
5. Ensure regulatory compliance. Real-time data synchronization across all channels enables smarter control over brand compliance and standards. This makes it easier for CPGs to become compliant with ever-evolving regulations and different laws of the land.For instance, companies can drive socially conscious consumers closer to purchase by showing compliance with initiatives such as fair-trade manufacturing, while health-conscious buyers can confirm their organic or vegan dietary requirements.
How Does PIM Help? A product information management platform enables cross-channel management and utilization of product data and provides the tool required to succeed in today’s digital marketplace. It resolves omnichannel dilemmas to keep consumers engaged everywhere and improve conversion rates. PIM achieved through an effective platform enables consistent, reliable traceability across all stages of packaged goods, thereby ensuring security, regulatory compliance and timely delivery.
With centralized product data connecting all touchpoints across the value chain, CPGs can have a 360-degree view of the information. This helps in improved product visibility, operational efficiency, new product onboarding, product placement, among other needs. Ultimately, CPGs can achieve true digital transformation with PIM that propels traditional systems into the digital era.
CPGs must keep pace with changing consumer behavior and market trends, with emerging technologies and channels, along with rising costs, price deflation and many other issues. In response, marketing, sales and operations will continue to be move toward digital tools. CPGs must look for savings from emerging technology solutions like prescriptive (versus predictive) maintenance. In such a scenario, the CPG enterprise needs better data insights from every touchpoint and channel.
PIM can assist in implementing this change by putting consumers at the center of everything. It can help deliver an outstanding user experiences across all consumer touchpoints in real time with the help of consistent, accurate and timely data.
About the Author Shashin Shah is chief executive officer of Pimcore, an award-winning software platform that delivers business value through seamless data and customer experience management. He has more than 20 years of industry experience helping large enterprise clients find solutions using various technology platforms and products.