Commentary

Building A Modern Relationship With Digital Consumers

It’s no secret that consumer goods companies are searching for new ways to unleash growth and scale at speed. Consumers are in control and accelerating the pace of change. They are shopping across channels at a time that is convenient to them and expect their needs to be anticipated, their issues resolved, and their shopping experiences personalized -- all at hyper-speed.

Digitally born disruptors are here to give them what they want, and in doing so, are steadily chipping away at market share.

The 2018 Accenture Tech Vision for Consumer Goods and Services highlights the following critical technology trends that have changed the rules of the game for CPGs.

Frictionless business.  Outdated systems are major obstacles to growth and requires organizations to take a totally different approach in developing an architecture that can sense, respond to -- and even predict -- market demands quickly and at scale.

Successful CPGs will have the ability to compete by providing a seamless consumer experience through technology-based partnerships to increase their channels, reach and speed as well as being a source of innovation for new products, services and experiences.

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Those partnerships will become increasingly diverse and specialized across every facet of the CPG value chain. For example, a customs organization has successfully tested a blockchain solution that can eliminate the need for printed shipping documents, with the potential to save the freight and logistics industry hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Data veracity.  To operate as a truly modern and connected enterprise, CPGs need to treat data as an asset to share across their organization and externally with ecosystem partners. Doing so requires a reciprocal responsibility to manage and maintain the data as a reliable and accurate asset.

There is a way forward to address the challenge of making sure data is accurate and trustworthy. Some of the most basic steps include ramping up existing efforts: embedding and enforcing data integrity and security throughout the organization, while adapting existing investments in cybersecurity and data science to address data veracity issues.

Citizen AI. CPGs seeking to capitalize on the potential  AI offers in enabling personalization, responsiveness and agility, will need to take responsibility for how AI will behave in the real world and ensure accurate data is used to train it.

More than any other area, CPGs plan to use AI solutions for consumer support. And 72% of executives seek to gain greater consumer trust and confidence through transparency in their AI-based decisions and actions.

Coffee business Illy has joined forces with OrderGroove to create a coffee subscription service. It uses data and OrderGroove’s Anticipate AI engine to ensure consumers only receive what they need, when they need it. Illy claims that increased customer satisfaction is boosting loyalty and driving life-time value. In other words, it’s building trust. And in a world where trust is the currency of business, using AI to act responsibly is critical.

Move to become a modern and connected enterprise. The one thing we can all be sure about is that there’ll be more disruption ahead. That’s why CPGs must move to become modern and connected enterprises. Doing so will enable them to innovate at speed, effectively partner throughout their ecosystems to deliver differentiated products and services and become agile enough to respond to fast-changing consumer expectations.

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