The world’s major consumer goods manufacturers are currently mired in a phase of weak growth. There are four reasons for this: the emergence of innovative start-ups, retail brands permeating the market, radical changes in consumer behavior and an economic slump in many emerging markets. However, the disruptive power of digitalization could help liberate them from the chains of their dilemma. This is explained in the following analysis carried out by Bain and Google of the most important digital technologies, processes and applications along the value chain of the retail brand manufacturers. The spectrum ranges from the use of industrial robots and 3D printing in production to the use of virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) in marketing.
Digitalization - the driver of growth
In the consumer goods sector, digitalization could be the starting point of a renaissance for the established companies. Significant financial advantages are to be gained for these so-called incumbents, particularly in the operational area as well as in distribution and marketing.
However, for producers to reap the rewards of this potential growth spurt, they must bid farewell to digital pilot projects and make digitalization their number one priority on a grand scale. Automation and robotics will play as important a role as online communication, advanced analytics and machine learning. Other key factors are the Internet of Things (IoT), VR/AR, blockchains and the cloud.
Greater use of digital technologies, processes and applications boosts value chain efficiency, shortens development times and enables targeted sales pitches. This transformation will be most noticeable in sales and marketing. Until now, a large share of expenditure here was earmarked for financing retailers, thus representing an only indirect channel to the customer. Smart shopper marketing, i.e. direct communication with consumers primarily via mobile devices, is now empowering consumer goods producers to tap new growth potentials.