The Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry is constantly evolving, adopting technological advancements across all sections of their value chain. There’s no doubt that FMCG companies embracing technology in their sales, inventory, warehouse management, and distributor systems can significantly boost revenue and productivity over the long term.
The adoption of cloud-managed services is one of the necessary advancements that is accelerating technology adoption in the FMCG industry. Cloud enables FMCG companies to streamline their retail operations, enhance the customer experience, and improve profitability. Cloud-based field sales software, for instance, is also becoming increasingly popular among FMCG companies, for its real-time visibility into sales data and field sales capabilities.
In this blog, we will explore the impact of the FMCG on cloud, the concept of smart stores, strategies for building smart stores, and how Cloud4C's managed cloud services and hybrid cloud solutions can help support the growth of the FMCG industry. So let us dive in!
The Impact of Cloud on the FMCG Industry
Cloud managed services have revolutionized the way FMCG retailers operate, providing efficient solutions for inventory management, data security, enhanced user experience, profitability, and disaster management. Here are some strong impacts of the cloud you see on the FMCG industry:
- Improved Field Sales Capabilities: Cloud field sales software guarantees an upper hand to FMCG companies by providing real-time visibility into sales data, improved field sales capabilities, and better efficiency in sales teams.
- Real-time Visibility into Inventory Levels: A cloud-based distribution management system provides real-time visibility into inventory levels, sales data, and distribution metrics. This enables FMCG retailers to optimize supply chain management and reduce costs.
- Data Analysis and Customer Engagement: Cloud in FMCG has helped improve business operations, such as data analysis and customer engagement. This has helped retailers gain insights into customer behavior and preferences, enabling them to offer personalized recommendations and improve the overall customer experience.
Understanding the Smart Store Concept
Stores Don’t Matter? Think Again!
The COVID pandemic resulted in a significant surge in e-commerce sales, particularly in specific FMCG sectors like groceries. However, brick-and-mortar stores continue to account for approximately 80% of total sales for retailers. This is primarily due to the fact that physical stores offer shoppers an experiential destination, allowing them to explore, research, interact with, and purchase products by seeing and touching them firsthand.
The concept of a smart store is gaining popularity in the FMCG industry. These “stores of the future” have been able to stand ground surprisingly, amidst the significant shift towards online shopping. Physical brick-and-mortar stores still play a central role in delivering unified commerce. But what is a Smart Store?
A smart store is a brick-and-mortar digital store that is technology focused, broadly connected, and equipped with intelligence to enhance the customer experience. In the dynamic relationship between online and physical stores, neglecting long-term investments in in-store technology could prove harmful to retailers. To thrive in the evolving retail landscape, companies must move away from viewing online and offline, digital and physical, and ecommerce and brick-and-mortar as competing forces. A siloed approach is no longer viable. Instead, FMCG retailers must swiftly embrace the integration of physical stores into their customer engagement ecosystem.
For example, FMCG retailers can work on bringing an in-store feel to the digital experience by offering virtual appointments and personalized attention through their platforms. They can also redefine the role of physical stores by creating an immersive experience to drive foot traffic and strategically positioning stores based on customer behaviors and preferences.
Here is where Cloud technologies play a crucial role!
Smart Store Experience Powered by Cloud
As we understand now, a smart store is a retail store that leverages technology to enhance the customer experience, improve operational efficiency, and drive sales growth. Here are some of the ways in which cloud technologies can enhance the smart store experience for FMCG retailers:
Real-Time Data Access
Cloud-based solutions enable FMCG retailers to access real-time operational and inventory data. This allows them to make informed decisions regarding stock levels, optimize supply chain management, and improve overall inventory management. With accurate and up-to-date information, retailers can avoid stockouts and ensure that popular products are always available.
Enhanced Retail Experience
Cloud technologies enable FMCG retailers to deliver a personalized and seamless shopping experience to customers. By leveraging machine learning and computer vision platforms, retailers can track customer traffic flow, analyze shopping behavior, and gain insights into customer preferences. This data can be used to optimize store layouts, improve product placement, and offer personalized recommendations, ultimately enhancing the overall customer experience.
Improved Store Revenue Management
Cloud-based solutions streamline various retail operations, such as point-of-sale (POS) systems, inventory management, and supply chain processes. By migrating store systems to the cloud, retailers can centralize data management, synchronize and share data across multiple locations, and automate manual tasks to improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and increase productivity.
Improved Data Security and Privacy
Cloud technologies ensure the secure handling of business-sensitive data generated by FMCG retailers. Cloud solutions come with robust security measures in place to protect data from cyber threats. FMCG retailers can leverage cloud solutions to ensure that their data is secure and compliant with industry regulations.
Enhancing In-store Visibility
Smart stores benefit from real-time visibility into store operations and customer interactions. Utilizing machine learning/computer vision platforms to track customer traffic flow, queue depth, and detect defective products on shelves to help FMCG retailers improve their in-store visibility. This further helps them optimize their store layouts, reduce wait times, and also improve the overall shopping experience for their customers.
Leveraging Shopper Tracking
Cloud-based solutions enable FMCG retailers to gain valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. By integrating data from various touchpoints, such as mobile apps, beacons, and in-store cameras, retailers can create personalized shopping experiences. Targeted promotions and recommendations digitally (via Call/SMS etc.) based on individual preferences can be delivered to customers in real-time, enhancing engagement and fostering loyalty.
Frictionless Payment Solutions
Smart store embraces frictionless payment technologies to streamline the checkout process. Cloud-powered mobile payment systems and contactless payment options provide customers with a convenient and seamless purchasing experience. It also helps reduce checkout time, which can lead to shorter queues, improved customer satisfaction, and increased sales.
Focus on Data Security and Privacy
As smart stores collect and process vast amounts of customer data, ensuring data security and privacy is paramount. FMCG retailers must partner with trusted cloud service providers that implement robust security measures and comply with relevant regulations.
Strategies for Building Smart Stores in the FMCG Industry
Building smart stores in the FMCG industry requires. Modern cloud technologies that drive agility and Operational efficiencies. Here are some strategies to follow:
Migrate Store Systems to the Cloud
Migrating store technologies to the cloud is the first step in creating a smart store strategy. FMCG retailers can migrate systems like POS, ERP, inventory management, payment gateway, loyalty software, and more to the cloud. Cloud migration enables retailers to manage these systems more efficiently and synchronize and share data easily. By leveraging cloud technologies, retailers can gain elastic scalability to add resources as store processing requirements increase, like during the holiday shopping season.
One of the most significant and intricate cloud migrations in the FMCG industry has been successfully completed by Unilever. This migration has marked a momentous achievement for Unilever, a company with over 400 brands, as it has now transformed into a cloud-only enterprise.
Utilize Smart Technologies
Starting from the customer and working backward by answering questions like, “Who is my customer?” and “What are their biggest pain points as they shop in my store?” can be a great strategy. FMCG retailers can then embrace smart technologies, and further improve the experience with advancements such as smart mirrors or smart packaging within the store environment. This would turn the store into a self-sufficient system and help FMCG retailers to automate their operations.
Integrate Online and Offline Channels
For smart stores to work, FMCG retailers must seamlessly integrate online and offline channels to create an omnichannel experience. In this, cloud technologies play a critical role in synchronizing data and customer interactions across various touchpoints, ensuring consistency and personalization throughout the customer journey. For instance, customers can access loyalty points earned in-store through online accounts, encouraging repeat purchases.
Focus on Customer-Centricity
FMCG retailers should focus on evolving the role of physical stores as a core component of their customer engagement ecosystem. This involves leveraging technology to enhance the in-store experience, such as implementing smart shelves, interactive displays, and mobile point-of-sale systems.
Cloud4C's Managed Cloud Services and Hybrid Cloud Solutions for the FMCG Industry
The adoption of cloud managed services is transforming the FMCG industry, enabling FMCG companies to streamline their retail operations, enhance the customer experience, and improve profitability.
How Cloud4C fits in this mix? Here’s how:
Cloud4C's managed cloud services and hybrid cloud services can benefit FMCG retailers in their cloud journey by migrating and modernizing mission-critical store IT systems on a cloud mix. This includes systems like POS, ERP, inventory management, payment gateway, loyalty software, and more. Cloud4C's hybrid cloud services enable FMCG companies to create a hybrid cloud architecture, combining public clouds with private and edge cloud environments, and seamlessly integrating all the above technologies.
With certified expertise in leading cloud platforms like AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure, Cloud4C ensures that FMCG companies' data and applications are protected with robust security measures and compliance standards. Cloud4C's fully managed cloud services form the foundation for technology transformation of the in-store experience, optimizing operations, improving efficiency, and staying competitive in a rapidly evolving market. Wish to know more? Contact us today!