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Why consumer preferences have changed now – Aromesule

In the face of the challenges posed by the impact of coronavirus, businesses are adversely affected as many companies are now struggling to stay afloat after the lockdown.

However, Tess Aromesule, a certified business and leadership coach/trainer, is proffering solutions on effective ways to re-strategise for improved business, especially in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector.

Speaking in an interview, Aromesule, who has over 18 years professional experience from several multinational companies across account & brand management, sales, marketing communication, supply chain & distribution, revealed that in this post pandemic era, consumer preferences have changed as buying choices are now driven by necessity for everyday essentials.

The development, which companies must take seriously, according to her, implies that companies must respond by re-strategising their sales and marketing approach and operations generally.

“FMCG companies need to move away from transactional selling to a more  empathic and relationship-based way of selling”, she advised.

“More than ever, empathy must begin to feature in the core values of any FMCG company that wants to retain or increase market share. They should

strive to first win the ‘heart share’ before they can secure the mindshare and

subsequently the pocket share of the average consumer’.

The certified business coach, who has helped launch some brands in Nigeria, and grew global brands across sub-Saharan Africa, Europe & America, decried the current disruption in the supply chain of FMCGs, but maintained that there is hope for the sector.

“FMCG businesses are driven by volume, and with the current disruption, which translates to lower disposable income, we are bound to see a dip in this segment, although not as dire as other segments considering that this segment covers the basic essentials of living.

Disposable income is also shrinking for a lot of consumers so the winner in this market is the one who is able to draw the correlation and see beyond the consumer into the effect of the current season on the psychology and mindset of the consumer”, she explained.

While many think the food industry is booming now and fear that manufacturers may not be able to meet the huge demand, Aromesule noted

that manufacturers  are rising to the current challenge but more needs to be

done especially in the area of food processing and quality assurance.

“There are many issues in the manufacturing sector today, especially within FMCG that hinder operation including; high cost of production, operational cost, logistics, distribution, low sales margin/profit, access to fund to scale operation among others. So, it is a two-way street in my mind’s eye. If we want more from the manufacturers, we should invest more in that segment”, she advised.

Going forward, she thinks that FMCGs should be mindful of the segment of the socio-economy their products are targeted at and the size of that market to enable them meet the right demands.

Reacting to the restriction on importation amid the inability of farmers to meet local demand, she said farmers can produce enough to feed the nation without importation, but that many farmers are still in medium-sized subsistence farming.

“When you look at farming alone without value addition there is so much you can do. The winning model would be to go beyond just farming corn or cassava for instance to also making garri or cornmeal from the produce, that is value addition via processing. Logistics is another one, the cost of moving produce is still relatively high, and most times the extra cost is passed on to the consumers. I would also say closely tied to logistics is insufficient channels of distribution. We need to explore possibilities of logistics hub driven by technology”, she concluded.

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