Historically, consumer goods companies have been at the leading edge of innovation, but we are seeing a tidal wave of smaller players, who were born digital, coming to market, creating an urgency to keep pace with change or risk getting left behind.
The “I want it now” generation of tech-savvy consumers — seeking instant gratification and demanding same-day delivery of purchases — is placing pressure on consumer-goods companies to work with ecosystem partners to create better experiences, as well as fast sales and delivery through an omnichannel operation.
What’s the right play for established consumer goods companies? The answer: relevance. It all comes down to ensuring brands stay on the pulse of today’s tech-savvy consumers. It means crafting hyper-personalized user experiences that truly resonate with individuals. It means acquiring the agility to flex the business quickly and responsively to shifting consumer behaviors. And it means capturing the value in the ongoing explosion of digital technologies.
Just look at the fashion industry. We have seen brands reinvent the mass clothing market by moving from pre-planned and seasonal clothing lines to fast and trend-led fashion.
A close relation to fast fashion is the cosmetics industry, where brands are really getting the importance of moving quickly. They’re inventing products much faster and bringing them to market through a carefully constructed network of channels, and then tying them onto trends or celebrities to help them sell.
A leading example of consumer relevance and the power of influence is Ipsy, the beauty platform launched by Michelle Phan, who turned her social media stardom into a profitable startup beauty and makeup subscription business.
In the same way the fashion and cosmetics industries have reinvented how they create relevance and appeal, we can expect to see consumer goods companies move to become “Fast CPGs” by bringing more tailored products and services to market quickly.
To do so, companies must seek to develop a sophisticated understanding of the specific consumer, geographical, and product opportunities available — and move with new precision-targeted strategies and business models to capture them.
They will need to draw on vast amounts of consumer data and unlock the analytics insights to boost sales and strengthen omnichannel capabilities, so consumers receive the same levels of personalized convenience however they choose to shop.
Importantly, they must seek to connect with those consumers through creative user experiences crafted via modern, data-driven marketing propositions, using a whole ecosystem of services, technologies and partners.
One thing is certain, there will be more disruption ahead. That’s why having a business that can sense and respond to market conditions and consumer behavior has become so important. More than anything, it’s about developing the capability to move quickly to capture market growth, while creating relevancy and appeal by committing to relationships that meet consumers on their terms.