Most growth-oriented consumer goods brands and retailers are aware of the huge commercial opportunities that lie in emerging markets. Their dense populations speak volumes: in China there are 1.3 billion people, followed closely by India at 1.2 billion.
Other populous countries currently being eyed-up as hot targets by the industry include Indonesia (238 million) and Brazil (194 million). Combined, these four largest emerging markets contain a staggering three billion potential customers.
Invariably, seizing opportunities of this scale is a less than straightforward process for consumer goods businesses and requires adapting marketing and operations to a whole host of complex factors. The potential changes needed may relate, for instance, to language, culture, buying habits, supply chain sophistication, regulatory environments, available transport infrastructure and price sensitivity within each market.
Here, technology can play a crucial role in enabling firms to adapt their strategies. For example, big data analytics tools can be used to mine fragmented data from sources such as social media, focusing resources on the most lucrative micro-markets and guiding market entry strategies.
To overcome poor logistics infrastructures and often highly fragmented supply chains, the use of wireless track-and-trace solutions can allow manufacturers and retailers to follow their goods throughout the supply chain. As well as guarding against loss and theft, this can also ensure provenance, monitor the condition of perishable and fragile goods and improve stock planning.
In countries such as India and Nigeria – where small shops account for 97% of the retail market, it’s also crucial not to underestimate the potential that intelligent in-store connected technologies such as connected chiller cabinets may offer.
Meanwhile, for brand-representatives on the ground, specially-configured mobile devices can enable field workers to instantly check warehouse stock, take orders and collect payments while at the store. Mobility and collaboration tools such as videoconferencing can also help empower workers to stay connected and productive, keeping field and office-based staff in touch with colleagues at HQ and with each other.
To find out more about how technology could help your business to succeed in high-growth markets, download our insights guide: Emerging Markets, Evolving Approaches.