Retailing is reputedly the fourth largest business sector in India and also the fastest growing. A more popular terminology that is commonly used in business for retailing is FMCG meaning Fast Moving Consumer Goods. In recent years, there has been a few major shifts in the ways FMCG companies are establishing themselves and most notable of all is the entry of multinational retailing outfits and a few home-grown big businesses that had traditionally stayed away from this sector for too long.
The business competition in FMCG is heating up and retailers are using every trick up the sleeve to corner as much market share as they can. As you would have expected the liquid detergent manufacturing industry too, being a large volume business is facing competition on a major scale. In short the business competition is heading for a showdown with a lot of mergers and repositioning to beat the competition.
FMCG – a brief overview
The advent of major players in the FMCG sector is a recent phenomenon in India with a history of less than two decades. This sector was mostly protected by the government’s policy to not allow entry to global players, but things started to roll out faster than expected. Until this, most retailing was in the hands of small businesses that operated with fewer than couple stores in the local neighbourhood. Even today it is common to see smaller home-grown retail stores competing with larger bigger chain stores successfully.
Staying in the FMCG business, more particularly in products such as liquid detergent manufacturing is a tough job though not insurmountable. With a little foresight and smart approach it is still possible to beat the competition out and carve a niche clientele. This is the ground reality in a country like India with a huge rural population that is sensitive to pricing and product packaging.
Staying in Business: a Few Tips
For smaller FMCG businesses staying in business and competing with larger established enterprises with money power is a matter of providing services that are , and make a mark on the consumers’ psyche.
- Understand your customers and their needs. As a small retailer around the block, you should be in a position to know what consumers prefer in your locality. Let’s for example take the case of cleaning products market. Cleaning products manufacturers in India produce multiple ranges of liquid detergents but not all will fit the needs of your customers when it comes to proper packing sizes or quality. As a local vendor you will know from your experience the best fit – make best use of this market knowledge to beat the competition.
- Understanding your competitors is as important as understanding your patrons. If consumers are walking out of your store and into your competitors shop, then it is time to sit up and examine the reasons. Ask yourselves a few questions: Am I giving value for money? Do I have products that my customers are demanding? Am I meeting customer needs in full? Is my store open at the right hours? Your answers are certain to throw light on how to improve sales and increase profits.
- Put the social media to best use. No business is too small to ignore the social media or stay out of the internet. When you are in the social media, your store is discussed and positive reporting is transported across a wide range of consumers at zero cost to you. It is no secret that social media is more like a word-of-mouth approach to multiplying footfall in your store. There are even a few search engines that provide local listing; make best use of those.
- Co-opt your suppliers and provide a few market insights for replenishing supplies. If for example your cleaning products manufacturer in India is not supplying the right packaging, talk to them and share information, however insignificant. Chances are your vendor will choose to repackage a product or provide a coupon code that consumers can redeem for a future purchase. It incentivises walking in to your store.