Having survived a purchasing slowdown like no other, consumer product companies now find themselves navigating changing customer spending habits and uncertain economic times. To thrive, the consumer product industry needs to drive every advantage it can—and that includes a much more purposeful and targeted use of digital and cloud computing.
With the acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines by the wider population, economic activity and expanding consumer spending are likely to pick up considerably in 2022. But that doesn’t mean consumer product companies can return to business as usual. The pandemic has brought about a tangible shift in consumer spending. This includes a rebalance of services versus goods, an increase in at-home consumption and working-from-home, and purchases being driven more and more by health, safety, trust, and quality.
Cloud computing and digital technologies can help consumer product companies capitalize on new post-pandemic trends. Already a proven asset, cloud produces results in four key areas: scalability, analytics, technology on demand, and global reach. Consider the following:
To gain the most from cloud, consumer product companies should focus their efforts on domains where they can have the most impact. This includes the post-pandemic consumer experience, evolving workplace trends, and optimizing supply chains.
Cloud and the consumer
With the demands of consumers shifting as the world recovers from COVID-19, consumer product companies need high-quality customer insights now more than ever. These can help companies provide differentiated product offerings, enable them to enhance their direct-to-customer channels and offer a unified commerce experience—all consumer trends intensified by the pandemic.
Cloud can unify customer data sources in a single environment, with data captured in a cloud platform that can then be used by other applications. Cloud-based platforms can also drive targeted advertisements and automate processes to measure their effectiveness. At the same time, cloud serves as a link between platforms, ensuring that customer interactions are saved and leveraged.
Cloud and work
With markets still unpredictable due to the pandemic, flexibility and adaptability will be critical when it comes to the workplace. Organizations need the ability to mobilize their workforce through multidisciplinary teams to accommodate rapid change, all while keeping the customer experience optimized. They also need leaders who can adjust their priorities if circumstances shift and an underlying digital infrastructure that can seamlessly connect employees virtually across global networks.
Cloud can meet these workplace needs by enabling organizations to swiftly anticipate new marketplace demands. The on-demand nature of cloud also accommodates rapid responses to the dynamic business environment that organizations now find themselves in. There are a range of tools and services cloud can provide that can enhance agility in today’s uncertain markets. Many of these tools can also reduce silos and promote collaboration and communication across the organization as well as support leadership and empower talent.
Cloud and supply chains
Suppliers, partners, and customers are placing increased pressure on supply chains to be nimbler and more responsive than ever before. Consumers want to be served faster and more locally, requiring supply chain acceleration. To that end, today’s supply networks consist of multiple connected supply chains. Different products and consumers have different needs that require a differentiated supply chain setup, making optimization across these networks increasingly complex.
To manage that complexity, cloud can help consumer product companies create transparent supply chains using real-time intelligence collected digitally from across the network. This information can be dispersed via a digital platform built for data sharing and collaboration, making a supply chain that’s optimized and data-driven. Cloud also offers the ability to connect markets, operations, and network intelligence to drive supply chain optimization and the computing power to provide instant insights and outcomes to queries.
A competitive edge
By combining advanced computing and data analytics supported by cloud, consumer product companies can make disruptive moves that can gain them a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Taken together they can:
Cloud technology has always had the potential to bring about profound changes to the enterprise and offer unprecedented opportunities to capture value. Now, with the global pandemic prompting significant shifts in consumer behavior, deploying cloud has taken on new urgency. And only by fully understanding cloud’s potential can business leaders unlock its tangible benefits.
2 Harvard Business Review, Real-time analytics: The key to customer insights & driving the customer experience, 2018.
3 Amazon Web Services (AWS), “Cloud computing with AWS,” accessed November 30, 2021.
4 AWS, “McDonald’s case study,” 2016.