SINGAPORE, 14th June 2018 – Following the second day of presentations at The Consumer Goods Forum’s Global Summit in Singapore, we learn how companies are embracing change and creating new values for consumers.
Stay relevant through consumer centricity
James Quincey, CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, took the stage for the opening keynote. He said that Coca-Cola’s strategy is centred on creating a very consumer-centric portfolio and building a ‘route to me lifestyle’ with digital as a catalyst to win with new consumers. Ian McLeod, Dairy Farm CEO, remarked that companies need to transform and stay relevant by understanding shoppers and adapting value and quality to each market in which they operate.
As the millennials become the core consumer segment, John Ross, CEO of IGA, noted that acknowledgement is important for millennials, while Kevin Lee, COO of China Youthology added that acknowledgement only matters when it comes to their social networks. Trust and fragmentation are also key characteristics of millennials that retailers and manufacturers need to be aware of.
Spotlight on the physical stores
Quincey from Coca-Cola said that even in an online world, businesses need to build a physical presence and consider the channels holistically. It was echoed by Alibaba Group’s Chief Executive, Daniel Zhang, saying bricks and mortar stores offer huge value, but their models need to be upgraded, and Alibaba is enabling the stores to be more efficient with data and technology.
The topic was discussed further by a panel of retail leaders, who shared their views on how the online and offline channels could provide better experience for shoppers through partnership. Nicolo Galante, CEO of Central Retail, said the omnichannel race is not a technology race. Shopping is about experience, being socially recognised and capturing the moment. Thierry Garnier, CEO of Carrefour China, stated that convenience stores are a key format for China, and to deliver online orders, ‘you need to have a store’. Shafie Shamsuddin, CEO of Transmart, drew the audience’s attention to general trade, which still accounts for 80% of retail sales in Indonesia. And Winston Cheng, President of International, JD.com, said that for categories such as fresh, consumers still want to touch and feel, and that’s why JD.com opened its own supermarket to provide better experience with fresh categories.
To help physical stores remain relevant for shoppers in an increasingly digital age, IGD and CGF recently published the 10 areas consumer goods companies must focus on.
Data as an enabler
Zhang from Alibaba Group emphasised the importance of data, saying that ‘We have a lot of business, but the core is data.’ He went on to say that because of the power of the data, Alibaba can enable its partners to succeed. Cheng from JD.com, said JD.com is driving efficiency, using Tencent’s social data, JD.com’s transaction data and offline transaction data from its partners. With the data, it can predict demand, allocate resources more effectively and make more efficient deliveries.
From a bricks and mortar retailer’s perspective, McLeod from Dairy Farm said businesses need to use the data more effectively, understand their customers with a great deal of details and personalise their services.
Leadership in a digital era
Shamsuddin from Transmart highlighted that leadership and role modelling will need to change in the time of digitisation and automation. Reminding the audience not to forget about the ‘human touch’ in services, and this is what makes the difference. Win Win Tint, City Mart CEO identified gender equality, training and development, and providing a fulfilling career in retail as the key elements to form a ‘people development culture’. David Taylor, CEO of Procter & Gamble closed the day with his advice to young leaders that they should stay curious, be willing to fail and keep a passion to make a difference in the world.
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