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Route to Market & Supply Chain Blog

Xray Your Route to Market and Uncover the Emerging Trends to Win in a COVID-19 World

Posted by Ross Marie on Tue, Apr 28, 2020

In my last post we explored ways that you can ‘Reinforce Your Route to Market During These Unprecedented Times’ while working from home. I also provided a list of questions you could use, to allow you to review current RtM performance post COVID-19. The goal is twofold, firstly to adapt during any lockdown or restrictions, and secondly, to prepare to lead in the new normal as restrictions are lifted.

Understand Consumer Trends in RtM Strategy post covid19

I would now like to be more specific. Using our 20 Steps to Route to Market Excellence model, let’s consider Step 2 Consumer & Market Mapping.

Consumer & Market Mapping is where you review how you are reaching all the potential places from which your consumers or customers are buying. You need to map out all the potential points of sale in your marketplace, including new or emerging channels, regardless of your presence in them. You then measure your trade coverage to see where you are currently sitting. In other words, what is my presence in all of these outlets as a percentage of the total number.

You need to examine the realities of your marketplace and how your consumers are behaving in this new reality. You also need to look at the current or new trends in buying behaviour, even if they are emerging or changing daily, and see how your Route to Market is set up to tackle and capitalise on them. Then you will need to look at and map out the potential changes now and post lockdown/ restrictions.

Now the world has changed, you need to understand the impact of the pandemic. Here are some examples of questions you can ask under Step 2 – Consumer & Market Mapping in a post COVID-19 world:

Points of Sale:

  • Do I know how many retail outlets/ points of sale there are in my geography? Do I know how many are still open since COVID-19? If they are open, have their hours changed? What impact might those changes in opening hours have? If they are closed, how many are likely to survive and reopen? What does that mean for my organisation?
  • How are these outlets currently serviced? Has this changed since COVID-19? Does it need to? Are they serviced directly by my organisation or indirectly through distributors? If they are serviced through distributors? How are the distributors managing their businesses during COVID-19? How many of these distributors will be able to weather the storm? Do I have clear and consistent messaging in place for my customers?

Market Map:

  • Do I have a market map that shows all the points of sale and the distribution centres or distributors? Does this include, for example, cash & carry’s, wholesalers, retailers, Horeca outlets, open windows, mobile vendors, etc.? Have I looked at where we are present now and where we will need to be? Where are the gaps? What is the size of the opportunity? How could we capitalise on this during lockdown and afterword’s?
  • Have we assigned territories or areas to each distributor or internal warehouses / distribution centres? Will these need to change in light of current restrictions or for the new reality afterword? What would this look like?

Consumer Trends:

  • Do we know where our customer/consumers are shopping now? Can they still access the retail environment during COVID-19 restrictions? If not, what are they doing and where are they shopping?
  • Is there an online offer for my consumers? Have they moved over to it? Is my portfolio set up to capitalise on this? What will this mean for my organisation now and in the new normal when restrictions are lifted?
  • Do we understand the recent trends? Have they changed in light of the current reality? Have we mapped out potential scenarios, including our ability to compete and win in each?
  • Are we seeing changes that we believe are likely to shape future shopping behaviour? How could we adapt to these and how are we set up to do so?

Data & Information:

  • My organisation uses IT Systems, for example the ERP system, sales system, CRM system, IT tools, etc. To what extent do I have full access to this data and how can it help me to answer these questions? How can I use this data to improve our competitive position now and get us ready for the new normal?
  • Do we get Neilson or other form of industry data? If so, what has a detailed analysis revealed? If not, should we invest in such data? Do we get distributor sales data? If not, why not? Can we get it now? What does this show? What are the emerging trends?

This list is by no means exhaustive. But it is designed to help your thinking and planning during these difficult times. It should also begin to focus your mind on the level of analysis and detail that it is possible while working remotely.

To clients who say to me that they are too busy to be looking at strategy at a time like this, my answer is simple. What happens if your competitors are? If you are too busy, get help!

I hope you find this useful and your views and comments are welcome. If you need more specific assistance or help during these challenging times, please reach out to me directly.

Tags: Brewing & Beverages, FMCG, Route to Market, Traditional Trade, Sales, Distribution, RTM, Promotions, Ross Marie, RtM Strategy, 20 Steps to RtM Excellence

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