Customer habits are constantly changing. And now, with the current crisis, businesses around the world are rethinking their customer engagement strategy and how to appeal to new-age consumers in the current market. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we gathered key insights, challenges, and priorities from 500 global consumer goods (CG) leaders. For brands investing heavily in in-store merchandising and marketing, we discovered the result is often quite disappointing. Our survey revealed that CG leaders claim 52% of their merchandising and marketing plans are not executed as they intended in stores.

Actions taken in-store are designed to capture customers’ interest in the few seconds that they have in front of the shelf. To assist businesses of all types and sizes, Salesforce created Consumer Goods Cloud. It's a new industry cloud dedicated to helping field representatives and account managers make better and faster decisions.

Below, we explore how Consumer Goods Cloud works and what it can do for your business:

 

Challenges for the Consumer Goods Industry

We uncovered several emerging trends in the Consumer Goods industry. One of them reflects today's current market better than the rest: In more and more product categories, purchases are taking place on online channels, rather than in physical stores.

Organic growth for CG businesses is also decreasing. Growth decreased from 3% in 2016 to 2.5% in 2017 across the industry and 40% of consumer business leaders don’t think their business is adapting to survive. 

If Consumer Goods companies want to survive and thrive, they need to reinvent themselves. Consumer needs and shopping habits are becoming increasingly polarised, so companies need to determine which consumer segments are best served and which retail channels to prioritise. 

The entire industry is undergoing a shift as well. Digitisation and the pursuit of cost leadership from large companies are changing the landscape of the industry. Companies looking to future-proof their business need to adopt new digital and technological approaches to consumer interactions. Implementing an SEO strategy can help you reach consumers in the small segments and tap potential growth markets. 

 

What is Consumer Goods Cloud?

Consumer Goods Cloud is a new industry product from Salesforce that enables Consumer Goods Companies (CGC) to drive revenue growth through retail execution capabilities. It provides field representatives with a powerful and intelligent solution to improve in-store experiences and streamline operations. 

“As part of our Consumer Goods Cloud, we are developing technology that can help analyse what products are selling well, and provide insights into what’s popular among similar retailers," states Jujhar Sing, EVP and General Manager, Salesforce Industries.

Consumer Goods Cloud is part of the Salesforce Customer 360 Platform. This robust solution is great for all kinds of CGC-level decision makers in a variety of industries.

Here’s how Consumer Goods Cloud helps Consumer Goods Companies:

 

Retail Execution

Retail Execution is getting the right products to the right stores at the right times. The practice is crucial to the success of CGC, as 95% of consumer goods products are sold in physical stores.

“Retail execution remains one of the most important pieces of a consumer goods brands strategy, but so much opportunity is wasted if the field rep doesn’t have the data and technology needed to make smart decisions," says John Strain, GM and SVP for Retail and Consumer Goods at Salesforce.

With Consumer Goods Cloud, brands can create closer connections across the entire value chain, starting with Retail Execution. This will put the power of data in the hands of customers and field sales representatives, resulting in streamlined operations, and elevating in-store experiences for the end consumer. 

Field reps can also benefit from the Consumer Goods Cloud. It improves efficiency and collaboration with their retail partners to get ideal Retail Execution. Reps can prioritise and schedule store visits depending on the needs of each store. The CG Cloud provides all the necessary information, such as site location, hours and estimated visit time, right in their mobile app.

“Consumer Goods Cloud provides these field reps with the tools they need to be successful on the ground while helping build both business opportunities and stronger relationships with their retail partners," claims Strain. 

While in-store, reps can spend less time auditing and more time building relationships with retailers. The AI helps ensure the accuracy of inventory, planogram, and merchandising compliance. With this tool, they can build a stronger feedback loop with data collection and real-time collaboration within one platform.

 

Einstein AI technology

Consumer Goods Cloud has many benefits on its own, but it’s enhanced by the addition of Einstein AI technology. This technology offers business intelligence to find simple answers to complex questions from data analysis in transparent, user-friendly AI models. The analytics can be tailored to your business as well, so you’ll have precise recommendations and guidance within a single platform.

For example, rather than having to manually check the number of products on a shelf, reps can use Einstein Vision to take a photo of the shelf, and automatically identify the specific products on it and collect important data such as category, product, pricing, and quantity. With reps spending less time on auditing, they have more time for building relationships with retailers and driving sales.

 

Get started with Consumer Goods Cloud

With the shifting state of the Consumer Goods industry, the most successful businesses adapt to change. If you’re ready to streamline and accelerate your business, check out Consumer Goods Cloud to see how we can help you future-proof your business!

We also understand that businesses usually operate at different paces and growth speeds. While some CG leaders are excelling amid the global pandemic, others need adaptable solutions to stabilise their business. This is why we've created a list of resources for small businesses in the EU facing the COVID-19 pandemic, the Leading Through Change series, and other Consumers Goods solutions to keep goods flowing to stores during this challenging time.