Thriving in the Future of Retail & Consumer Goods

AllCloud Blog:
Cloud Insights and Innovation

The retail industry has been going through massive changes over the last several years. The need to evolve and meet the ever-changing consumer behavior is vital for retailers to not only survive, but succeed and thrive tomorrow. Proactive initiatives like omni-channel eCommerce and communications as well as buy online and pick up in-store (BOPIS), have been gaining traction over the past few years. However, the current environment created by the COVID-19 epidemic is rewriting the ways that the retail industry operates.

Consumers are not only altering what they are buying but also how they’re buying, with quarantine and social distancing guidelines. Over the past few months, retail stores and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies have been forced to lay off employees and to be reactive to the new way consumers are shopping. To survive this crisis, the relationship between retail and CPG companies must evolve. 

Scaling your retail operations

Retail stores and CPG companies will have to adapt and work more closely to meet the changes in consumer shopping behaviors. Historically, CPG companies would ship pallets of products to the retailers’ distribution centers. The retailers would manage their inventory through their POS and ERP systems,  restocking their shelves at each location to promote and sell the goods to the consumer. The shift to online buying began to disrupt this process, but the current crisis has disrupted even further. Now every part of the supply chain must evolve to survive.

CPG companies must look at how to provide more support and involvement in both the physical and digital retail storefronts. To stay competitive and future-proof in today’s market, the entire industry will need to look at how they optimize and invest in delivering an enhanced consumer experience across their whole value chain. This is where Salesforce CG Cloud (Consumer Goods Cloud) fits in the overall strategy for long-term success. By working together, CPG companies and retail stores will share in the customer journey, from inventory and marketing to the in-store or online experience.

Resources to thrive in the future

To meet the ever-changing landscape of retail, CPG companies and manufacturers should embrace true digital transformation that enables operational efficiencies, real-time visibility to the data that drives productivity, and in collaboration with their retail partners a complete view of the consumer experience. This level of transformation is now available through Salesforce’s Consumer Goods Cloud (CG Cloud). Here are three areas CPG companies can benefit from when leveraging Salesforce CG Cloud. 

Engagement planning 

The first step to an increased partnership between CPG companies and retail stores is to implement engagement planning. For CPG companies, this means a further understanding of how retail partners and field sales representatives are performing. Engagement planning will help CPG companies identify which retail partners and/or field reps are performing best and which may need some additional support to get to that next level. Engagement planning focuses on delivering increased revenue per account and obtaining the highest level of productivity per field rep through:

  • Account segmentation including store categorization
  • Account and store type assortment management
  • Consumer Good analytics providing account and field rep performance reporting
  • Ability to plan, schedule, and prioritize field rep routes and store visits based on relevant KPI’s through real-time data capture and analysis  

Retail execution 

Retail execution aims to put the right product on the right shelf at the right time. Through the CG Cloud, CPG companies can decrease margin leakage due to errors while increasing promotional effectiveness, on shelf availability, and merchandising compliance. These benefits are made available through:

  • Account 360’s based on historical data, interactions, and performance tracking via KPI’s
  • The validation of merchandising and promotional execution
  • In-store inventory availability audits
  • Automated planogram compliance through Einstein Vision

Cross channel service and support

Both retail stores and CPG companies will need to each own a part in the customer journey. This means sharing customer data to allow for better customer experiences and offering ongoing communication to the end customer. Ultimately, the ongoing collaboration will lead to improved consumer experiences through:

  • Single threaded case management experiences for the consumer connected account teams 
  • Monitoring social signals, engagements, and sentiments across various channels
  • Monitoring the competition

Moving forward

Consumer goods companies and retailers must continue to adapt and innovate to succeed. Those that adopt technology like Salesforce’s CG Cloud to digitally transform and embrace engagement planning, retail execution, and cross channel service and support will have a headstart and the foundation to experience long term success. Look for future blog posts in this series as we dive deeper into these three areas and how they can impact your business.

To find out more about how to start evaluating how Salesforce Consumer Goods Cloud could fit into your organization and deliver against your long term strategy, check out AllCloud’s 2 week assessment today. 

Daren Tomey

SVP Sales, North America - Salesforce

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