The digital commerce opportunity for CPG companies in Africa
However rapidly the market’s being transformed by digital, it’s clear from our research that consumers are still not satisfied with their purchase journeys. Today’s top ‘ask’, according to our online consumer communities,17 is for a single platform where they can search, buy, share experiences and be rewarded. In other words, seamless shopping experiences are still in short supply.
This represents an outstanding opportunity for traditional CPG companies. The objective? Focus on using digital commerce technologies to bridge existing gaps in consumers’ purchase journeys and provide the seamless shopping experiences they’re looking for.
We know that the battle for consumers is already being fought in the micromoments that make up each purchase journey. The priority for CPG companies is to expand their view of digital channels beyond the ‘buy’ button so they can begin to harness new opportunities for driving sales and measuring success in as many of these situations as possible (see Figure 11).
Digital changes everything…and there’s tough competition
Up to now, CPG companies across Asia have focused on building their brands and business value in a linear way (see Figure 7 below): But just as the path to purchase has become less linear and more convoluted, so has the operating environment for CPG companies. There’s increasingly fierce online competition for shoppers’ hearts and minds from the same disruptive digital platforms that have enabled the upsurge in connected commerce across Asia. And with the region’s digital infrastructure growing more developed (and more pervasive) all the time, this competitive threat can only escalate.
Asia is seeing a fast-growing population of connected consumers – and a vibrant new ecosystem of suppliers and vendors with strong footholds in the digital space (see Figure 8 below).
Looking ahead, projected growth in digital technologies – from connected devices, wearables,5 and virtual reality6 to 3-D printing7 and advanced machine learning8 – will empower consumers to seek even greater control along the path to purchase. Companies that are ahead of the curve in Asia realize this. They’re using these technologies to influence purchase decisions and capture a greater share of the marketplace (see Figure 9 below).
Technological advances are derailing traditional CPG ways of thinking. The shift to how consumers will shop and buy in future has already begun. And driven by early adopters in this space, it’s gathering momentum. Companies like Amazon, FedEx and Google are using drones to speed delivery times way beyond their competitors.9 With augmented reality, Ikea’s customers can see products in their homes before they buy them.10 Consumers can watch the ‘Hilfiger Collection’ runway via 360-degree 3D virtual reality, before shopping the collection online.11 And Mondelez stores can now display products on smart shelves with sensors that analyse faces and behavioural characteristics for consumer profiling.