Recently, I wrote about how retailers and suppliers are adjusting in this new CPG environment where consumers have 24/7 access to goods and services. It’s a new world of CPG out there, and adapting to the new environment is no easy feat. Nicolaj Siggelkow and Christian Terwiesch sum up the constant need for connection between supplier and consumer well in a Harvard Business Review article: 

Thanks to new technologies that enable frequent, low-friction, customized digital interactions, companies today are building much deeper ties with customers than ever before. Instead of waiting for customers to come to them, firms are addressing customers’ needs the moment they arise—and sometimes even earlier. It’s a win-win: Through what we call connected strategies, customers get a dramatically improved experience, and companies boost operational efficiencies and lower costs.

They go on to describe the “connected strategies,” they’ve developed, which are no doubt quite useful for brands in this new digital age. And while I gave you my opinion in the last post on what suppliers need to remember (creativity!) to be successful, it’s imperative that we also hear from the suppliers themselves on what they’ve experienced.

So, I asked. Specifically, I wanted to know what, as a supplier, has been their biggest challenge in a 24/7 access world. And boy did they have something to say. Here, two suppliers share a little bit of what they’re facing in this new era of CPG.

Tim Mark, CMO of Active Wow, producers of charcoal health and beauty products, says that his biggest challenge in the 24/7 access world is staying consistent across your brands. When your consumer has on-demand access to ordering your products anytime, anywhere, it’s essential the message you’re communicating to your consumers is not only heard, but the same no matter where you say it. “We have seen that this digitally savvy consumer is influenced by a wider variety of purchase influences than previous generations,” says Mark. “As we expand our channels of communication with our customers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to build cohesive messages across platforms between the ‘walled garden’ advertisers we work with.”

Michael Jiang is the chief scientific officer at Nerv, makers of Nerv Shots, the “anti-energy drink” that promotes mindfulness and calm. He sees one of their biggest challenges adapting to a bigger audience. “It’s one thing when you’re small to be shipping out X number of orders and then suddenly, when things ramp up, you have to adapt not just to the new volume, but to whole new systems of how you handle the orders,” he explains.

Jiang adds that the 24/7 access world has also created a demand for fidelity, pushed heavily by Amazon. “Their customers expect that when they make an order, it’s shipping out that day, whether it’s a Saturday or Sunday, any time of the day.” And that puts pressure on all online retailers, as consumers come to expect their orders to arrive at the speed of light.

Speaking of consumers, it’s no secret that their shopping behaviors are changing the way retailers and suppliers are doing business these days. A lot of it has to do with the rise of Amazon, once a place to get cheaper textbooks, but now a behemoth to be reckoned with. Bezos & company has essentially shaped the way ecommerce is done these days, and they’re reshaping how in-store shopping is done as well as they launch brick and mortar Amazon stores. They dominate most industries they touch, as far as selling, and their ability to give consumers just about ANY product they could ever desire has set the stage a standard for other retailers and their suppliers when it comes to product offering, shipping, and delivery, as Jiang mentioned. 

What’s more, the world is at consumer fingertips, with ubiquitous mobile devices, which is further changing how omnichannels function. One in three people will look up information about a product on their phone rather than ask a store associate, and 32 percent of consumers want the conveniences they can get online available in stores. 

Connecting online and offline behaviors in today’s CPG world is yet another challenge suppliers are experiencing. And you can bet they have something to say about that, too. But that’s another post for another day. For now, I’d like to hear from more of you!

Are you a supplier? A retailer? What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in the world of 24/7 access?

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