The age of the Customer power – FMCG

The age of the Customer power – FMCG

(by Eugenio Proietti | Part-time MBA)


Participating in a round table with high-level managers coming from one of the most attractive Industries is a great opportunity. Having the awareness that behind those important names there are people with solid values and boundless passion for their job is a personal and professional enrichment.

The age of the Customer power – FMCG Let’s start with skills. What struck me most was the definition of a successful manager’s, which is the ability to adapt and to learn, that is, what we have learnt in the MBA vocabulary as “the basics”. You could have expected a more articulated answer like the market knowledge or financial and negotiation skills.

The answer from the experts, instead, was simply the ability to adapt and to continue to learn, with the awareness that doing the best you can is the key to great result and that the relentless grow at all costs must not be the mantra of our generation.

Reflecting on the Industry complexity, on the other hand, the most important contribution to my professional growth is having understood what is behind the thousands brands we see on supermarkets’ shelves. The importance of marketing and brand recognition, the strength of the supply chain and the continuous effort to ship the goods on time, the strategic importance of the selling process and customers’ loyalty.

I found interesting the complex dynamics between suppliers and distributors and how it has changed over the time. From small point of sales with limited bargaining power that filled Italian cities in the Sixties, to the huge Hypermarket that gained ground on distribution in the Nineties and nowadays there are multinationals with higher turnovers than the manufacturers themselves and that can influence selling strategies with their huge bargaining power. However, this is an ever-changing model thanks to innovation and social networks that are shaping the costumer 2.0, that has the instrument to consciously and autonomously decide what buy and from who. The industry that does not keep up with ecommerce will have to adequate rapidly before other players (e.g. Amazon) can enter and revolutionize the market. 

The inevitable conclusion in terms of possible future Industry development is that after the 60’s-80’s decades, “the age of the supplier power”, and the current “age of Retail power”, the innovative tools available will put the consumers at the center of the system once more. This can create a relaunch opportunity for proximity Point of Sales, going beyond the big shopping center model, favoring a 2.0 version of the capillary distribution paradigm used during the post-war economic growth.

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