Opinion may be divided about the exact timescale, but well over half of the consumer goods (CG) leaders we consulted for our recent Consumer Goods and the Battle for B2B and B2C Relationships report are convinced that AI will become a key transformer in connecting shoppers with products within the next five years.

The research illuminated many fascinating statistics about the current state of retail, all pointing to the same conclusion: new technology is revolutionising the way we shop at a dramatic pace. And with consumers holding all the cards when it comes to choosing from an ever-widening variety of purchasing options, CG companies are increasingly looking to support their existing business-to-business (B2B) operations by forging direct relationships with their end customers (B2C). 

Maintaining a balance between the status quo of traditional product sourcing and distribution and the brave new world of ecommerce is one of the major challenges facing CG companies today. As Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh, Executive Vice President of Industries, Salesforce, puts it: “CG companies are at risk of extinction unless they reinvent themselves – and move faster to reach new markets and meet rising consumer expectations. The choice is clear: transform or join the dinosaurs.” 

With this warning in mind, we’ve devised the Consumer Goods Roadmap – a simple yet informative infographic to guide you through the main issues and provide a clear vision of the way ahead. 

 

 

In spite of perceptions to the contrary, online sales still only account for a small fraction of the fast-moving consumer goods market, but – significantly – direct-to-customer (D2C) represents by far the fastest-growing sector overall. It’s vital, therefore, for CG companies to keep ahead of the competition by seizing the initiative and adjusting rapidly to meet new consumer demands. 

Our research tells us that D2C is a major priority for CG leaders, with an overwhelming 99 per cent of respondents committed to investing in this lucrative sales sector. The benefits are clear: to grow revenue, gain consumer insights and first-party data, as well as strengthen consumer relationships. However, it takes a great deal of time and hard work to execute such transformative change, especially for CG companies whose trading practices have historically been based exclusively on a B2B model and may feel daunted at the prospect of playing catch-up to online juggernauts such as Amazon. 

That’s where our Roadmap comes into its own. The guide has been designed by D2C experts to demonstrate the most efficient route to dynamic transition and support CG decision-makers in their search for positive new directions. It’s the perfect supplement to our comprehensive Consumer Goods Cloud and Commerce Cloud, Salesforce’s bespoke solutions to managing eCommerce and creating closer connections across the entire value chain.

Predicting the future is a volatile art, yet in business, staying ahead of the rest of the field can make the difference between success and failure. As we concluded in our Consumer Goods and the Battle for B2B and B2C Relationships report, the best CG brands are optimising for the future and preparing their business plans and investments to stay relevant, competitive and future-proof.