5 Ways Retailers & CPGs Can Adapt and Grow During COVID-19

COVID-19 has ushered in ten years of change in one. For retailers and CPGs, understanding this change is essential.

Before COVID-19, businesses with a loose handle on their business performance might have missed 1-2% of top-line growth opportunities. Now, drastic shifts, stressed processes, and the speed of change have compounded the situation, putting closer to 5-7% of top-line opportunities at risk.

Technology like AI and augmented analytics can help businesses understand performance and identify growth opportunities, mitigating potential losses.

For detailed information on how retailers and CPGs can navigate COVID-19, check out this webinar and whitepaper. Or, keep reading for a preview of the content.

1. Drive cross-functional collaboration and data sharing

With changes affecting every department, CPG and retail leaders must enable collaboration and data sharing.

Yet, centralizing data is easier said than done. Marketing, finance, and supply chain departments often work in silos, making data sharing and quick collaboration difficult. These silos must be removed, however, as informed decisions depend on data sharing. For example, to determine when to start a campaign, teams must know if consumers are overstocked and if production rates can balance the expected demand and cost of goods.

When data is shared, CPGs can create a holistic view of top-line and margin growth drivers and identify demand drivers in light of recent trends.

2. Recover and improve shelf presence

Shelf presence will be more challenging now than ever before.

To recover and improve shelf presence, CPGs and retailers must stay in constant communication.

Timing and speed are key— the faster teams can receive data and insights, the faster they can initiate these discussions. Additionally, real-time insights can help manufacturers prove the importance of their portfolios, an essential advantage when shelf space is on the line.

The question then becomes: which insights are most valuable, and what should teams look for?

3. Closely manage your market share

Unfortunately, market share lost during a crisis or recession is very difficult to recover. However, CPGs and retailers can actually gain market share if they can identify opportunities and avoid losses.

Consumers are participating in “free” product trials that would be difficult to generate in normal circumstances. Even loyal customers are trying new brands. For CPGs, these product trials can be wins; by that same token, CPGs risk losing customers if they can’t manage market share effectively.

Companies who can quickly understand their market share can take faster actions, better positioning themselves for quick recovery and even gains. AI and analytics can aid in these efforts.

4. Adapt to new shopping behaviors

Apart from managing the day to day, CPGs must consider future trends in retail and adjust their plans accordingly.

According to Ulf Mark Schneider, CEO of Nestlė:

“The coronavirus crisis is likely to be a ‘breakthrough event’ for online sales of food and beverages, as people who previously would not have bought groceries online discover how convenient it is.”

Part of the challenge with trends is understanding temporary versus long-lasting change. Some trends may flatten while others may stick. Surveys and quantitative research can help CPGs and retailers understand consumer motivation, providing insight into which trends are here for the long haul.

To build a strong omnichannel strategy and capitalize on opportunities, CPGs can leverage AI and ML to identify behaviour across channels.

5. Plan for the new norm

CPGs and retailers typically have several months of lead time for planning purposes. Planning during COVID-19 requires a different mindset.

Rather, CPGs and retailers must prepare to manage continuous and dynamic change. Teams should aim to work 18-24 months ahead while planning for short term periods to make decisions. How can teams plan successfully with so much uncertainty?

First, taking a “what if” strategy can help CPGs and retailers plan for various plausible scenarios. Second, CPGs can learn from the past. In the short-term, teams can look to countries that are ahead in terms of crisis management as well as past data on economic recessions.

Even in uncertainty, CPGs and retailers can draw realistic conclusions from existing data and adapt accordingly.

Learn More With the Webinar and Whitepaper

Ready to take your knowledge to the next level? Access the following resources:

Webinar: Promise & Peril: How Augmented Analytics Helps CPGs & Retailers Navigate COVID-19

  • Featuring: Ada Gil, Former Unilever Marketing Director
  • You’ll Learn: Detailed, actionable advice in the span of 20 minutes. The points in this blog post are a simplistic preview of the webinar content.

Whitepaper: The State of AI in Analytics and Business Intelligence

  • You’ll Learn: Which AI capabilities are available today and how they can help your business analyze data. This COVID-neutral resource is not speculative. Instead, it foregrounds technology and the capabilities that are essential to ensuring adoption.
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