If I could sum up “success” in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry in one word, that word would be SPEED —the speed at which the best companies take advantage of the latest consumer trends and defend their market share against the competition.
Quickly changing consumer tastes are just one example. Coffee is good for you, then it’s not, then it is again. Consumers want zero trans-fat foods, no-fat cookies and no-sugar sweets, and then decide to forget it and go back to the “good stuff.” On top of that, companies operate in a fierce marketplace with the need to monitor and respond to competitive promotions and pricing changes, and constantly deliver new product innovations and product line extensions. Few industries exist in such a dynamic environment.
To succeed in any business you must have a good product. But in the CPG industry, it is absolutely vital to keep a close eye on consumers, the competition and your own business to stay on top of results today and ensure you are positioned to win the battle for the consumer’s business tomorrow, next week and next month.
Many people have been talking about the “velocity” aspect of Big Data and how it might help businesses, but if you are wondering who is actually doing it, look to CPG companies. They are early innovators who have jumped on the opportunity to use Big Data and analytics tools to accelerate the speed of their business.
The War in the Grocery Store
Big Data and specifically the ability to analyze vast amounts of data instantly is a key weapon in helping CPG companies win the battle for retail shelf space and ultimately customer sales. Accurate sales forecasts from distributors and retailers, as well as actual point-of-sale (POS) data, are critical in helping determine production volumes, distribution, and fine-tuning pricing and promotion strategy.