Dubai – MENA Herald: A survey of over 400 consumer goods retail and manufacturing executives from 27 countries, including executives from the UAE, reveals that companies who want to keep in front of change and secure competitive advantage are transforming themselves into fully integrated omni businesses.
For the first time this year, 7100 consumers from 19 countries – including the UAE – were surveyed online to compare executive objectives with fundamental customer expectations in the Global Consumer Executive Top of Mind survey. The survey was conducted by KPMG International and the Consumer Goods Forum.
90 percent of UAE firms surveyed – compared to a global response of 77 percent – believed that they would be at an advanced level of digital maturity in marketing and promotion by 2018, compared to 50 percent of UAE respondents now (and 57 percent of global respondents).
Procurement was generally seen as a challenge, with only 44 percent of UAE respondents – and 60 percent of global respondents – believing that they would be at an advanced level of digital maturity by 2018.
By 2018, 32 percent of the executives responding to the survey say they plan to evolve beyond their current single-, multi- or omni-channel retail operations into “omni businesses”.
This means a completely digitally integrated business — including not just sales channels, but also manufacturing, inventory, marketing, sales, payments and distribution.
Anurag Bajpai, partner with KPMG in the Lower Gulf and Head of Retail, comments: “Our survey suggests that unless consumer businesses are laser-focused on the consumer, using data and analytics and technology to target, serve and customize products and experiences for a highly segmented customer base, they will fail. The customer has to be the point of sale. Digital channels are already replacing bricks and mortar outlets – both here in the UAE and globally.
“To compete in a global, digital marketplace with shifting demographics, even today’s best-in-class consumer goods retailers and manufacturers require a deeper, multidimensional understanding of their customers.”
The executives surveyed say they are investing significantly in smarter analytics and technologies. While 29 percent say they are currently using data analytics; that proportion will double to 58 percent in the next two years.
Usage of techniques such as 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.
The survey also found that , consumers rank return policies and payment options as two of their top three considerations when choosing which brand or retailer to buy from (number one was competitive pricing).
According to this report, over 75 percent of shoppers now say their top buying criterion is detailed and transparent product information – yet only 42 percent of industry executives think transparency is important. And over half of consumers rate environmental and ethical considerations as very important to their purchase decision, a proportion underestimated by industry executives.