B2B Customer Engagement for FMCG
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Digital B2B Customer Engagement with Retailers for FMCG brands

FMCG market in India is projected to grow at a rate of 14.9% to reach $220 billion by 2025, according to IBEF. Out of this huge market potential, FMCG brands of India get 60-90% of business from B2B channels. This means that 35000+ FMCG companies in India are in the competition to gain a major share of that projected value.

What can make your company stand out of the rest? Is it better SFA, sales strategy, automation or is there something more to it? Most of the leading FMCG brands have embedded all these technologies in their sales operations, but have you geared them towards customer engagement, especially in B2B channels?

In the words of Tara-Nicholle Nelson ” You cannot buy engagement, you have to build Engagement.”

This article will answer your question – how to build B2B Customer Engagement? We are going to talk about B2B customer engagement for FMCG between a Company and their customers such as kirana stores, modern trade stores, hotels, canteens, restaurants, etc. Further you will realize the challenges of the present engagement model and know the innovative solution for it.

What is Customer Engagement for Consumer Goods Brands?

B2B Customer Engagement

B2B customer engagement is to cultivate a customer-centric relationship between a company and its retailers that goes beyond transaction, it’s personal. It is not just about new sales but to provide value to the customers in every interaction to improve customer experience. When you build relationships with your customers personally, they can rely on you. They know that your schemes, offers, and products give profit to them more than the competitors. And they stick with you. The beauty of B2B engagement is – It runs long and strong.

How FMCG brands engage with their customers presently?

Consumer Goods companies majorly rely on the sales reps to visit the stores for order taking, promoting schemes, displaying new products etc.

However, that gives a limited time window to build a relationship apart from transactional conversations around order inventory, collections, and more. It is also difficult to reach all the retail stores manually, probably that’s the reason brands have not been able to connect with retailers across classes.   Surely, there are challenges of B2B engagement in the FMCG industry which is limiting company’s personal reach.

Challenges faced by FMCG brands in B2B Customer Relationship?

Most of the brands run customer relationship programs in a conventional manner i.e. sales reps led visits to their b2b customers/partners. A territory sales reps visit approximately 30-40 stores on a beat day and spend around 10-15 minutes directly. They interact with the customer primarily focused around order collection. This is quite a short time frame to shift around the conversation from transactional level to that of relationship building, given competitors are doing the same. Consequently, companies limit their per store sales potential, incurring  losses in the long run.

i)  With limited face to face interaction, there is less emotional connection with the brand.
ii)  New launches or Focus SKU’s of your brand are not promoted well, hence their reception is low.
iii) Education on schemes, promotional offers and mutual benefits is also limited to small windows of conversation.
iv)  If customers run out of the stock between beat schedules, they end up buying fewer than what they can sell.
v) It becomes easier for the competitor brands to lure with their offers and customers may shift loyalty.

Overall, these do not aid you in achieving your company goal. These goals can be higher customer retention, higher sales, onboarding new customers or better ROI every quarter. If your competitors are building an emotional connection with customers and are catering to their needs on time and you are not! Then you are risking valuable customers. Now the next obvious question is how do we do B2B customer engagement for FMCG efficiently?

How can FMCG companies improve their Retail Customer Engagement?

Consumer goods companies run a race in a highly competitive ecosystem. And they cannot rely on conventional methods to grow their business in future. Henceforth, the solution has to be innovative, adaptable and usable. We need to narrow down what we want from the customer engagement solution for their satisfaction.

Retailer or customer engagements can be improved if:

i)  The solution enables the company to connect directly to their customer for any query. 
ii) Helps the company to market their new products, schemes, offers for up-selling and cross-selling.
iii) Customers can reach the company through a channel easily in case of fresh orders, track dispatches or manage loyalty.
iv) Customers could get personalized offers that can boost their sales knowing the order history and the range of SKUs they buy. 

In short, your business needs relationships that add business value. It happens when customers and companies grow their businesses mutually. Also, a study by Gallop revealed that when companies started to influence the customers by engagement programs. They reported 63% lower customer attrition, 55% higher wallet share, and overall performed 23% better than their competitors. It is visible that there are enormous benefits of competitive advantage just by taking a step ahead towards building relationships with your customers.

Digitally Engaging with B2B Customers

Consumer Goods Companies have innovated  many ways to reach out to their customers and establish a one to one connect over time. Some have launched telephone services or dedicated apps for retailers to boost customer centricity. Brands have created a dedicated app for your retailer, however we know retailers don’t deal with just one brand. So, they would end up having multiple apps and  it won’t solve the purpose of strengthening customer relationships. Instead the channel of connection should be easy to use with no effort for going through any app or website. On the other hand, telephone services are helpful but they are subject to customer’s availability, call waiting time and needs.

The solution- Retailer BOT

We advise shifting to Digital Transformation for Engagement as a leading solution for your customers. At BeatRoute, we call it Retailer Bot which you can run on WhatsApp, Viber or Messenger. Here are some features that helps you overcome the challenges:

  1. A better way of engaging with the customer is through social media platforms like WhatsApp, Viber or Messenger. These global platforms are common for easy communication and companies can digitize their Customer Engagement tasks by simple automation. 
  2. Order placement and Incremental Order Nudges was never this easy. Brand set up the catalog, promotion engine and infused AI recommendation for incremental  order nudges. The distributors receive the order on email or web panel and the sales team has complete order visibility.
  3. Prime your channel with new product multimedia videos, your schemes, offers before the product hits the distribution network and sales rep proposes to a retail outlet.
  4. Order Fulfillment and Visibility makes it seamless for retailers to know about their deliveries and gives the brand an opportunity to engage further.
  5. When companies connect with retailers, distributors and sales reps on a personal level, these customers see the business value in the relationship. They can get notifications of expiring schemes or upcoming schemes, status of recent dispatch and it boosts brand connect through customer engagement. 
  6. Companies can reward their loyal B2B customers with our very unique digital redemption system that integrates with direct bank transfer, flipkart and amazon vouchers and 100s of other options with no fulfillment challenge.

Conclusion

It is important for decision makers of growing brands to focus on digital B2B customer engagement for the FMCG industries. This shifts your engagement from mere transactional conversations to building personal relationships. The FMCG retailers who are using the WhatsApp BOT for digital engagement solution, report better adoption rate, quick order taking and smooth interaction. From business point of view, human touch is irreplaceable but equivalent solution can be provided to customers with this tool. So, if your business is in need of a solution like this, you can request a demo or read more, and get the best for your business.

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