Consumer Goods Cos. Need Deeper, Multi-Dimensional Understanding Of Customers

NEW YORK, June 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Consumer goods companies are transforming themselves into fully integrated, omni-businesses in order to respond to the needs of customers across all channels and at any point during the shopping process. A survey of 400 consumer goods retail and manufacturing executives from 27 countries reveals that companies are taking these steps to stay ahead of change and secure competitive advantages.

By 2018, 32 percent of the executives responding to the Global Consumer Executive Top of Mind survey conducted by KPMG International and The Consumer Goods Forum say they plan to evolve beyond their current single-, multi- or omni-channel retail operations into omni businesses, where their business becomes completely integrated—including sales channels, manufacturing, inventory, marketing, payments and distribution. In correlation, 42 percent of the executives say their customers – especially the millennial demographic – already expect a seamless experience across sales channels.

“The most critical focus for these companies is, and always should be, the customer and the customer experience,” said Mark Larson, KPMG’s National Line of Business Leader for Consumer Markets and Global and U.S. Sector Leader for Retail. “Consumer demands and expectations change rapidly, and companies must continue to adopt a highly ‘customer-centric’ mind-set and leverage new, disruptive technologies to ensure they can understand, meet and even predict their customers’ behavior.”

Investing in customer analytics while overlooking basic customer expectations
To gain greater customer knowledge, the executives surveyed say they are investing significantly in smarter analytics and technologies. The use of predictive analytics, customer path-to-purchase analytics, and artificial intelligence are also expected to double over the next two years, to 59 percent, 54 percent and 43 percent, respectively. Other analytical technologies targeted for fast growth include real-time tracking systems, scenario modelling and stress testing, and micro targeting. 

However, comparative research with 7,100 consumers across 19 countries shows that despite investments in sophisticated customer analytics technologies, a majority of consumer goods retailers and manufacturers are overlooking basic customer expectations.

According to the Global Consumer Executive Top of Mind survey, consumers rank companies’ return policies and payment options as two of their three top considerations (number one was competitive pricing) when deciding where to shop. However, the executives say they thought returns and payment options were the two least important considerations for their customers.

“Customer service is the dominant player in the industry. The key to success is to provide a highly personalized experience for each consumer, regardless of the interaction or point of sale. To do that, companies better know their customers,” says Larson.

About KPMG International
KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. KPMG operates in 155 countries and has 174,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

About The Consumer Goods Forum
The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 2.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises 50 manufacturer and retailer CEOs.

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