Tech trends: how consumer goods companies reach customers directly

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When it comes to global technology trends, a new wave is spreading across the consumer goods industry.

The first trend is the Internet of Things, connecting consumers directly to brands – and discovering where those brands can be found when merchandised on retail assets.  We are seeing solutions like digital price tags, connected shelving, and even connected vending machines and soda fountains.

The second trend is mobility, where consumers are driving demand for direct links to, and in some cases a “relationship” with, consumer goods and brands through their mobile identity.

It’s all about mobile – and listening to the consumer

The ubiquity of mobile devices has reversed one of the fundamental lessons that used to be taught to all marketing students: brands should try to convince consumers to want their product.

The mobile era brings data that demonstrates that it’s really more about listening to the interests of consumers and adapting product features to those consumer interests. Consumers want choices and personalization.

In what’s a definitive shift, consumers are now able to make their preferences known, driving demand and even dictating what products a manufacturer or retailer sells, and also whether they avail that product in store or online and, in particular, with customizable elements.

Many consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are responding by designing small-but-strategic characteristics to differentiate themselves in the consumer’s path to purchase. They are turning to e-commerce to engage directly, using social media and loyalty. They are also offering customized products such as personalized M&M candies, and creating an interaction with the product itself through smart/connected interfaces and appliances.

As consumers demand more ingredient, handling, and price transparency in the products they purchase, mobility is playing a vital role in accessing and delivering that information, if not enabling the desired “relationship.”

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Technology is the backbone

Innovative technologies are helping CPG companies communicate and engage directly and securely with consumers. These same solutions are enabling CPG companies to ensure they are delivering the desired message to specific consumers, thanks to keener real-time insights into demographics and other analytics.

Understanding preferences, respecting privacy boundaries, and communicating with your customer – while providing the product flexibility consumers expect – are not only critical for growing future shares, they are all fully dependent on integrated and connected technology.

To that end, we offer solutions designed to provide:

Solutions at work

So how are we working with CPG customers to leverage technology and consulting services? And how are we helping them meet these shifting consumer demands?

We’re teaming with a beverage company to roll out a new program that enables it to connect its refrigerated cooler fleet via AT&T IoT technology in near real time to meet service levels with retail partners. The company also wants to ensure the availability of cold beverages for shoppers worldwide by identifying issues as they occur, if not before.

The solution for monitoring beverage coolers includes AT&T Global SIM, Control Center platform, and IoT services.

We’ve also been consulting with an innovative worldwide appliance manufacturer to develop a holistic plan to optimize the digitally oriented customer journey. The project includes analytics that develop increased CAPEX and OPEX savings for the justified adoption of new contact center technology.

Michael Colaneri Sales Vice President of Retail and Restaurant and Consumer Packaged Goods AT&T About Michael