Suppliers: survive the recession by mastering three trends

Don’t allow the pessimism around a new ‘recession’ to drag you into defensive mode. There are many opportunities, and those presented by three trends in particular will make you future fit, or set you on a tragic trajectory, depending on how you embrace them.

Retail media, artificial intelligence and sustainability: all demand a coherent strategy now. Whilst these trends are not new to anyone, it is important to act now and stop watching them unfold from the sidelines. Over the next three years, they will shape a new grocery sector, and mismanaging them could see you on a failing pathway.

The rise of retail media requires a mindset change in marketing functions. Shake off the legacy of buyers pushing you into overpaying for a half-page in an in-store mag that no one reads. Now, from a consumer and shopper point of view, ‘new’ retail media cannot be underestimated. It gets the most relevant information, about shoppers’ most relevant interests, at the exact times they are likely to be thinking about them. Plus, shoppers get an offer to take advantage of too.

Together, sales and marketing have to strategically evaluate where their investments are placed in this new light. Retailers are driving this to realise incremental investment from suppliers – it’s a hotbed of negotiation with many facets. So don’t just accept the first offer, and be ready in advance to make comparative evaluations of what you buy.

Tech-enabled solutions will be vital to suppliers and retailers to create efficiencies as, simultaneously, investments are made to drive the consumer experience through AI. When shoppers walk in-store or place an online order, they can now get the ‘tech teams’ expertise.

With this demand-driven retail, the consumer is even more in charge than they were before. Remember category management 20 years ago, when the smarter suppliers became category captains? This has happened again with major blue-chip suppliers giving advice to retailers on algorithms. Be aware of how AI works and how algorithms favour or disadvantage your products.

Finally, the ‘green conscience’ of grocery is an area where we need to stop making excuses. Over the past five years I’ve seen many examples of doing the ‘right thing’ wrong across packaging, food technology, sourcing raw materials and carbon footprinting. The need for low cost has seen fictional stories of compliance and qualification being waved through half-hearted retailer checks. The industry will become much more stringent, so shortcut to the best solutions now. Battling over prices in the current climate prevents the collaboration needed for the food industry to lead. Instead, drive improved efficiency to keep prices down. Doing the ‘right thing’ right on sustainability is not a choice.

‘Illiterate’ is the term used for people who can’t read and write, but forget that. Going forward, if you’re not tech and digital media-savvy, then you are the new illiterate.

Source : The Grocer

Sentinel Management Consultants deliver sales, negotiation, planning and finance training courses for our clients worldwide.