Why collaborative intelligence will determine the winners in consumer goods retail

Why collaborative intelligence will determine the winners in consumer goods retail

Data Analytics may still be an essential tool for those working within the Grocery Retail space but there’s a growing frustration in the limitations which exist and the long-endured errors which can hinder the achievement of truly effective planning. The answer, we believe, lies in the approach to Data Analytics and here’s why we’re convinced that a new way of working is long overdue…

Unpredictable chopping and changing is the only new predictable trend.

Change in consumer behaviour over the last few years has been immense. Consumers have no fear. They’ve not only learned to roll with the punches, but they’re also actually quite enjoying their new-found agility. On-line shopping with no brand loyalty? Why not. Home baking for the family like a pro? No problem. Witnessing resilience in challenging times may not be unusual, but this level of adaptability is off-the-scale and shoppers show little interest in returning to ‘the norm’.

How can FMCG companies keep pace with these new, fearless consumers who aren’t following the rules like they used to? They can stay one step ahead by working smarter; embracing a new way of making the now-readily-available reams of data really work for them.

Change itself has changed.

In these most peculiar of times, change has taken a new form. The rate of change has been fast, and its magnitude enormous. The word ‘unprecedented’ has been used an unprecedented number of times for good reason. Covid, Brexit, the cost of living squeeze, and the supply chain restraints resulting from the situation in Ukraine, have collectively introduced a series of never-before-imagined volatilities which manufacturers and retailers have to contend with on a daily, almost hourly, basis. It’s the clichéd ‘perfect storm’ which has produced far-from-perfect trading conditions for every sector. And this means that a whole new magnitude of change is now required to those widely used commercial processes which have stood manufacturers in reasonably good stead up to now.

“We have access to all the information we need but unlocked only a fraction of its power.”

For a significant number of years there has been a frustrating air of futility in trying the same approach and predictably achieving very little in the way of progress – and that was before the hitherto ‘dynamic’ field of consumer behaviour went supersonic!

The emphasis has tended to be on hitting 100% accuracy; bringing all datasets together in a perfectly aligned way to find the ‘one single truth’. With so many different perspectives across the business this task has been a mammoth one, in some cases never-ending. In reality, the search for this ultimate analytical Nirvana has distracted our attention and effort away from the most important point – that data is primarily meant to provide insights and it is from this gained intelligence that co-ordinated actions can be directed, and positive results driven.

This conventional style of working (which, let’s face it, isn’t working) sees teams pulling in slightly different directions, each concentrating on their own particular area of interest. At best this results in a dilution of success; at worst it jeopardises, if not destroys, any real chance of success.

Now, imagine Finance, Supply Chain, Commercial and Field Marketing teams coming together to share the most valuable data points along the whole customer and consumer journey, instead of working in isolation within their own separate silos (and juggling hundreds upon hundreds of spreadsheets in the process). Envisage a sharing of information, a sharing of workings, a sharing of learning and, ultimately, the formation of a combined intelligence which is much greater than the sum of its individual parts…

At Clear Box we call it Collaborative Intelligence.

Our approach is a way of gaining a new perspective, by sharing the kind of information that is valuable to everyone within the organisation and collaborating in a way that drives one, highly effective, co-ordinated set of actions.

It’s entirely about winning – be that in terms of revenue, profit or market share. We are enabling our clients to make better business decisions, negotiate smarter with retailers, spend more wisely for highest impact and truly understand their customers and consumers.

If your business is ready to shake the current frustrations and try a different approach – one which has already been proven to improve outcomes – Clear Box are ready to assist. What’s more, there’s no need to write off the cool tools you’ve already invested in or start again from scratch, this technology is about optimising what you’ve already got and realising the combined power of what your teams can already do.