With the Covid-19 pandemic having led to a change in buying patterns, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) value chain solutions provider MACmobile MD Andrew Dawson suggests that the FMCG industry will have to use intelligent digital technology data to curb the negative impact this could have on the sector.
“The change in buying patterns will have a lasting impact on the industry, which will begin to reveal itself in the next six to twelve months. “What could additionally heighten this impact for many companies is the lack of historical data about the kind of economic impact the pandemic could have.”
Dawson highlights the importance of intelligent digital technology data that provides retailers with real-time information, which includes live streaming data. Such data will provide vital market- and sales-related information for retailers.
Dawson emphasises that, with the local economy suffering because of Covid-19, profit margins are even thinner, which will encourage retailers to use more up-to-date information from live streaming data to make immediate business decisions to ensure profitability.
Having more up-to-date information, combined with artificial intelligence, will also enable retailers to make market predictions. This can assist companies in deciding on appropriate market strategies and key performance indicators.
Consequently, scenario planning services provided by consultants and specialists, such as MACmobile, will become an important and in-demand service, adds Dawson.
MACmobile is supporting independent distributors and wholesalers active in the FMCG and retail industries. This includes assisting them in preparing for changes to global market trends caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as improving logistical processes such as warehousing, logistical deliveries and retail trade.
Further, Dawson says MACmobile has focused on and allocated resources to two significant aspects with regard to scenario planning.
The first aspect is to “put power in the hands of end-retailers”, such as spaza shop owners and other micro-market members, by enabling them to make orders of stock from their mobile device.
This has led to the development and deployment of the STOREApp application, which includes a platform referred to as FIELDForce. FIELDForce enables end-retailers to generate their order of stock directly from the end-retailer’s preferred manufacturer, through the app.
He adds that the FIELDForce platform will be integrated with the preferred manufacturer. This will ensure that rates and prices, which were previously available between the manufacturer and end-retailer, are still available and integrated into the app.
MACmobile has also focused on the addition of a call centre module with FIELDForce. The app will enable end-retailers to generate their own orders, with a call centre agent checking where the orders were generated. The agent will then contact the end-retailer to assist them in placing the order, and help with other related queries.
“This is going to be a strong strategic driver for MACmobile in the next six to nine months as we start managing the ‘no-touch’ market that Covid-19 has brought about.”
The STOREApp was launched in the local market in August. The call centre module is an optional built into the FIELDForce platform.
The app was also launched simultaneously in Kenya and Angola, as these two countries and South Africa serve as MACmobile’s launch points for the app.