Emerging markets are a veritable gold mine for global consumer brands that face slowing growth in the developed markets. Mining that gold profitably, however, is no walk in the park. These markets present significant challenges to brands.
Emerging markets are a complex maze of traditional retail structure dominated by millions of small retailers (India alone has 12 million). Due to the high costs and logistical nightmare involved in reaching these retailers, brands depend on thousands of independent distributors to connect them with retailers and customers. They also provide local market intelligence to complement sales and marketing efforts of the brand. However most of these distributors are not technology enabled, have no standard way of maintaining sales and demand data and, more often than not, fail to share vital information with brands. Due to this lack of visibility brands don't know what is selling, where it is sold, what customers are buying, whether product quality is being maintained, and how much inventory is present and at what locations. This drastically reduces their ability to sense and respond to market demand.