The painting experience
The painting experience

The product category is fast moving towards offering services and experience to customers. Service is what people seek today. Paint is one such industry where a consumer’s mind has always been dominated or influenced by a contractor’s thought. Earlier, it was rare that the consumer would walk into a paint store and buy it. But now the paint manufacturers are evolving their stores to attract a customer to walk in and get an experience of painting their house. The concept of experience centres is being followed by almost all the leading manufacturers including Akzonobel, Jotun, Berger, Nerolac and others.

Need of the hour

Today a customer is well traveled and very aware of what goes around not just in their city but throughout the country and the globe.  Internationally, it has been understood that experience is what creates a consumer forever. The paint retail scenario in India has been concentrated and confined to the B2B sector where the contractor does all the paint shopping. The practice has been such that consumer is unaware of the products being used.  

“Experience centers offer a tremendous opportunity to provide the Indian consumers world-class shopping versus a regular shopping which is limited to colour selection through usage of conventional tools and the shopper does not go beyond the dealer counter. Also, consumers need to be made aware of the different products offered and their benefits”, says Amit Arora, Business Manager, Decorative Paints, Akzo Nobel India.

Entry of standalones

Standalone stores have become a prime concept for the retail industry where brands are no more relying on multi brand retail stores to generate sales. The brands now want to give special and unified attention to consumers and offer them exclusive services. Same is happening in the paints arena as well.

Percy Jijina, Sales Director – Decorative, Jotun India, says, “At Jotun’s experience centres, it’s about personalising the choice of the consumers and also engaging them into the product which is of their importance.”

“Keeping our primary target i.e., consumers in mind, our experience centre provides an opportunity to the entire family to come together and take an informed decision by providing an inspirational ambience at the point-of-sale. The Dulux Decorator Centre provides benefits to other stakeholders as well. For instance, the DDC becomes a hub for upgrading of skills of core group of painting contractors, which is essential, since they provide the delivery of the painting experience to consumers,” says Arora.

“The centre is a complete one- stop shop that fulfills all painting related needs of consumers. It provides a spacious and well-lit shopping environment, complete with state-of-the-art colour tools such as Margherita Display and colour visualisation software. The colour consultants help the consumers in getting the right contractor to get their home painted,” he adds.


What experience centres offer

  • Exclusivity for brands
  • Getting to the consumers directly
  • Upgradation for the dealer
  • Complete service for customers: from selection, to product and labour, all are provided by experience centres
  • Variety to choose from

 

Target cites

Paint manufacturers are looking forward to initially catering to the markets that are high on incomes and are prominent in terms of growing property. The target regions for Akzonobel is towns which have high per capita consumption such as Delhi, Mumbai, Surat, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Calcutta, etc while Jotun with its brigade of 330 dealers of which 70 per cent are experience centres now looks at penetrating further into markets in South and West India along with the Northern region. “We want to grow stronger in these areas and look to other places later. We plan to add 50-60 stores in a year of which most would be experience centres,” adds Jijina.

Experience centres are the way ahead for this industry as well and will take it to greater heights as more and more people engage in experiencing colours for their homes.  

 
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Role of AI in Reshaping the FMCG Sector
Role of AI in Reshaping the FMCG Sector
 

New technological advancements and the growth of the digital space have led various sectors to embrace innovation and adaptation. The fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector, in particular, has rapidly shifted in that direction by joining hands with the e-commerce industry. McKinsey reveals that e-commerce sales in the consumer goods industry are projected to reach $1.8 trillion by 2025, a fourfold increase from the last decade. In the face of intense competition and a high turnover volume in the sector, Artificial Intelligence emerges as a crucial differentiator in helping brands stay ahead of the curve. 

Crucial Role of AI

Artificial Intelligence plays a vital role in bringing consumers closer to the brand. An ongoing challenge within the FMCG industry is for accurate consumer insights to enhance data-backed decision-making. Insights AI combines advanced AI technologies like Emotion AI, Behavior AI, and Generative AI, to ensure brands get in-depth consumer behavior data. These technologies help brands understand the expectations and preferences of target audiences and provide accurate data for efficient decision-making.

As with any other industry, consumer needs and expectations in the FMCG sector are ever-evolving. AI's ability to access and process vast data sets allows brands to tailor their marketing strategies quickly and effectively in line with the requirements of the target audience. With the inclusion of Insights AI, the Indian FMCG industry could witness a significant improvement in the cost and quality of products and services.

Insights AI’s Role in Gauging User Emotions and Behaviors

One of the most crucial aspects of any FMCG product lies in its ability to resonate with the consumer. Here is where understanding the emotions and behaviors of the consumer towards the product becomes important. Insights AI plays a vital role in bringing these insights closer to the brand in several ways. 

Emotion AI for Capturing Sentiments

  • Utilizes Facial Coding and Voice AI to measure and quantify human emotions while interacting with a product.
  • Enables brands to measure and quantify human emotions by capturing facial expressions using webcams and smartphone cameras.
  • Provides nuanced insights into consumer sentiments through tone, pitch, and speech patterns

Behavior AI for Enhanced Engagement

  • Incorporates mouse-tracking and eye-tracking technology for eye-pupil movement and mouse click data.
  • Get metrics on where and how long users looked and interacted with your product to understand their preferences.
  • Invaluable for optimizing interfaces, content placement, and overall user experiences.

Gen AI for Data Analysis

  • Capability to read data and perform comprehensive analysis within a given workspace.
  • Allow users to ask queries about research data available within a repository and obtain rapid insights.

Insights AI in FMCG

Insights AI can create exceptional value for the FMCG brands thriving in e-commerce. 29.1 percent of consumers believe that AI can be better utilized in providing personalized product recommendations, while 33 percent agree on its function to provide optimized search results. It can decode an individual’s purchase history and demographic information to create personalized shopping experiences for its consumers.

Applications of Insights AI in FMCG

As one of the industries undergoing a major change due to Insights AI technologies, let us look at some of the ways it is creating a difference today.

1) Consumer Research: Insights AI can gather data and feedback on the path to consumers' purchase journeys- from looking at a product ad to completing a purchase on a website. It helps provide deep, unbiased insights, which ultimately provide a seamless shopping experience.

2) Marketing Communications: FMCG can benefit immensely in creating targeted and personalized campaigns that truly resonate with their target audience by understanding what consumers like and dislike.

3) Content and Media Testing: Brands can optimize the visual appeal and engagement across various content formats, such as ads, videos, social media posts, etc., by testing content and media pre and post-launch.

4) Pack Design and Shelf Placement Testing: FMCG brands can test their pack designs and shelf placements using Insights AI, which analyzes the shopper’s purchase intent, stopping, holding, and closing powers to make products stand out.

5) New Product Development: Validate your concepts, opinions, and ideas before a new product is developed to ensure that you are not completely relying on your gut instinct and guesswork.

While AI has a huge potential for FMCG brands to scale and improve, its widespread adoption also raises concerns about data privacy and ethical considerations. The heavy reliance on consumer data for insights also means transparency is a key priority in AI. 

AI-led disruption in the FMCG sector is not just a possibility- it is already happening. From optimizing strategies to personalized recommendations, AI is leading the way for the FMCG sector to thrive- in the e-commerce space and beyond. With the continuous evolution of technology and fierce competition in the market, the need for products and brands to stand out is imperative, especially among FMCG players. As such, brands must remain agile, adaptive, and customer-centric in their approach toward AI to deliver meaningful experiences for the end consumers.

Ranjan Kumar, Co-founder & CEO, Entropik

Ranjan Kumar, Founder & CEO, Entropik

Ranjan Kumar is the Founder and CEO of Entropik – research integrated platform powered by AI. He is an engineer from IIT Kharagpur, has invested most of his time working with soft computing, neural computing, and deep learning. Ranjan has worked with distinctive firms like ONGC Ltd and ITC Ltd, after which he turned an entrepreneur with Oyeparty.com in 2012. He has also headed business at Citrus Payments, a fintech company, giving the division exponential growth under his leadership.

 

 

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