As recruiters for the FMCG industry, we at Vertex feel it's important to fathom the impact coronavirus has had, and now that the country is entering back into some form of normality, it's time for a spot of reflection. I know I know, nobody wants to relive it all.
Consumer habits were already ever changing, and this has only accelerated since the beginning of the pandemic. We've all had to adapt and evolve in line with numerous lockdowns and on-going social distancing restrictions since March 2020, and the way customers now interact with brands and even each other might never be the same. I mean, everyone's been too scared to even go near each other and have ended up preferring the comfort of their own home.
But what has this meant for the trade of fast moving consumer goods?
Well, it really depends. Some areas have flourished whilst others have declined. For example, home baking already became a popular trend within the first week of the pandemic, which saw the sales of ingredients SOAR across the country. People also had more free time to spend cooking delicious meals rather than ordering out or sticking a poxy ready meal in the microwave. And, of course, hygiene products were flying off the shelves. I couldn't get my hands on toilet paper, soap or sanitiser for weeks at first. Nightmare.
On the other hand, everyone seemed to take the opportunity to get on a health kick, which saw the sales of alcohol decrease by 10%. People also weren't as concerned with the way they looked, being stuck inside and all, which saw the beauty industry take a hit - the sales of razors even went down 38%... take that as you will.
So, has the FMCG industry suffered or not?
Surprisingly, since the emergence of COVID-19 the FMCG industry as a whole has seen a 32% growth increase - one of the few industries to actually see a positive impact during such a crisis. Of course, a lot of this growth can be attributed to brands and consumer goods that have an online advantage due to their presence in the world of e-commerce. Others have had to remodel and establish themselves online to keep up and retain consumer interest.
The pandemic truly gave society a shove up the backside into hurrying the development of the digital world and economy...
Create a 10/10 in-store experience
We know that for a lot of customers e-commerce is now the new norm. Not just because of the pandemic but because of the ease of shopping with the click of a button. Whilst this benefits a lot of industries and businesses out there, some may be at a disadvantage. For example, local small businesses who don't have an online presence and rely solely on a loyal in-store customer base.
The best way we feel FMCG companies can overcome this is by hiring to meet demand. Employing a modern workforce, and hiring and training employees who represent the community to provide a stellar customer experience to drive customers and sales.
Supermarkets will continue to thrive through both in-store shopping, and efficient delivery services.
All FMCG businesses, if they haven't already, should position themselves in a way that makes them flexible to the uncertainty of the pandemic. This includes ensuring they keep product stocked and systems in place. In doing so, they'll be protecting their workers, their financial prosperity and overall existence.
Keep an eye on customers
Finally, businesses should be keeping an eye on their consumers and their shopping behaviours. They're the people that keep a business running, and this way you can keep up with them, accommodate to their preferences and ensure 100% customer satisfaction.
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