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Unconventional, agile, and tech-driven strategies to help REBOOT the consumer industry: FICCI-Deloitte report on FMCG and Retail (e-commerce)

Oct 28, 2020

  • Phygital and sustainability approaches to yield new growth avenues for the retail-FMCG sector
  • Reducing the digital divide to help expand rural demand and consumption
  • Technology and sustainability need to be integrated across the supply chain
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning need to be used for enhancing customer experience, and to improve partner and workforce engagement
  • Hyperlocal distribution model, distribution alliances and an omnichannel strategy will be key to business growth


NEW DELHI, 28 October 2020FICCI and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP (DTTILLP) today launched the fourth edition of their joint report called REBOOT in the annual edition of MASSMERIZE 2020, FICCI's flagship annual Retail, e-Commerce and FMCG conference by FICCI/s Consumer committee that works towards collaborating with leaders and stakeholders from the industry.   

Built on a six-step approach, this report emphasises the need for consumer brands to R-E-B-O-O-T their businesses in view of the disruption and the changing consumer behaviour.  As businesses need to 'Realign' their business models and partnerships, 

Enhance� consumer experience through technology and Analytics, 'Build' resilient distribution, develop their 'Omni-channel' presence, 'Operate' efficiently, and 'Thrive' by focusing on sustainability. 

Mr Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI said, �India has emerged as one of the most attractive investment destinations with the increasing disposable income, rapid industrialisation, and a shift in the demographic pattern. Amongst the significant contributors to this growth story have been the consumer-centric sectors, such as retail, FMCG, and e-Commerce.� India is one of the world's fastest-growing major economies and has immense potential. �Increased involvement and participation of businesses with the help of supportive policy measures will help capitalise on this potential and achieve the societal goals of inclusive growth and empowerment of the people,� Mr Chenoy added. 

Speaking on the launch of the report, Mr Rajat Wahi, Partner, Deloitte India, said, �While the pandemic brought massive disruptions across the value chain of the consumer sector, most companies adapted by building agile business models and innovative marketing strategies, along with expanding their presence through the online platforms to reach their consumers. The prolonged lockdowns have also dramatically transformed consumer buying behaviour while making them more health and socially conscious.�  

This has created new opportunities for businesses to develop hyper-local delivery models, use conversational AI, build omnichannel retail, etc. to acquire and serve customers.  

�As brands adapt to the new normal', the key to sustenance and growth is likely to be an agile business model that minimises disruptions in the future,� Mr Wahi further added. 


Trends/lessons learnt from COVID-19  

1.      Acceleration in e-commerce sales as stay-home phenomena drove significant purchases through e-commerce. 

2.      Increased demand from rural: COVID-19 has led to massive reverse migration, which in turn has driven up rural demand, favouring companies with strong rural distribution 

3.      Focus on health, hygiene, and nutrition: Health concerns and the need to build immunity has led consumers to buy home sanitation and immunity-boosting products.  As a result, these categories have seen major growth since March '20 and this is likely to continue into 2021.  

4.      Reconfigure distribution to explore omnichannel models: The pandemic, with frequent lockdowns, compelled companies to re-configure their distribution models within a short period, even forging new partnerships and alliances to achieve that.  

 Case study 

For instance, a known global retail giant saw 141 per cent digital sales through innovative channels, such as s-commerce, despite majority stores having remained open. Companies using digital channels, such as e-commerce, omnichannel, and direct-to-consumer were able to adapt and recover faster during the pandemic. 


5.      Existence through phygital approach: As digital-savvy consumers look for a mix of digital and physical engagements, it has led to retailers building an omnichannel presence to provide best-in-class customer experience.  

6.      The COVID-19 crisis has put sustainability in the spotlight and companies are now seeing sustainability through the lens of growth as well as bottom line and using their sustainability initiatives to better engage with their customers. 

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