Venky Ramesh

CPG/Retail enthusiast, blogger and a couch potato warrior

Venky has over two decades of multi-disciplinary experience in the consumer goods and retail industry spanning across corporate strategy, supply chain, and sales. During his career, he has worked with 20+ CPG/Retail companies across home and personal care; health and beauty; food and beverage; pet care; and specialty segments, helping them win in the digital world through innovation strategy, experience design, design-led product engineering, digital consumer engagement, insights and so on. He closely follows, and actively writes about the digital trends disrupting the consumer industry.

  • Posted on: 09/27/2022

    What are the most important roles for IT to play in day-to-day marketing?

    For me, the logic is simple - look consumer-backward. The role of marketing is to reach the target audience to create awareness, drive consideration, and create demand and loyalty for the product. The target audience can be reached less and less through print newspapers, cable channels, and print magazines - they are surrounded by technology (smartphones, smart watches, smart cameras, CTV, gaming platforms, metaverse, so on and so forth) through which they are passively or actively sharing information about themselves, their likes, dislikes, needs, wants, frustrations, and anxieties. Marketing needs to be able to harness the omnipresent consumer data effectively to reach the target audience at the right moment with the right offer to drive awareness through sales. It cannot happen unless marketing and IT come together as MarkITing.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2022

    Should CPG brands cast their DTC businesses in a supporting role to stores?

    DTC strategy for CPGs is most conducive to and hence designed to drive engagement with the cohort of most brand loyal consumers - leveraging their loyalty to drive new product testing at low risk, brand engagement to gain valuable consumer insights, look-alike modeling to target similar consumers in the traditional channels, and driving subscription sales (albeit low scale) of curated or personalized boxes of cross-category products (also a source of consumer info). Therefore, while DTC sites may not be a big source of revenue, it's an excellent way for CPGs to bridge the gap with their consumers. To increase visits, brands should be able to identify their most loyal customers and introduce effective initiatives to engage them.
  • Posted on: 11/24/2021

    Glossier puts the experience first expecting sales to follow

    DTC brands, beyond their phase of initial growth spurt, face the challenge of increasing incremental cost of customer acquisition triggering them to look to physical channel to drive brand discovery and engagement. For example, Harrys started selling shaving kit at Costco expecting to sell replenishment blades online on a subscription. Others like Glossier are doing it through their own experience stores to create emotional bonding with their customers. We will continue to see more instances of online DTC companies marrying offline with newer and more interesting ways of driving discoverability and engagement.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2021

    What’s driving shoppers to Amazon?

    You are not alone, Dave :-). As per Statista, 38 percent of people, when searching for products, start their search at Amazon (search engines like google stand at 40 percent). While Google may be a de facto leader for all types of searches, Amazon has carved out a niche at product search and they are undoubtedly number one in that niche. As for choice overload, I am not sure what stops them from understanding their consumers better to provide them a curation option in a separate tab (e.g. all options on one tab and curated ones on another).
  • Posted on: 11/19/2021

    Will Macy’s curated marketplace distinguish it from online rivals?

    Adding a marketplace itself is undifferentiated given so many competitors are way ahead of them and undoubtedly way better. However, the keyword might be "curated." If Macy's can pull off a curation process that leverages customer insights to have a pre-selected assortment for the right occasion and right moment, they could differentiate themselves better.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2021

    Starbucks and Amazon open first joint concept store with more to come

    I am sure there are a lot of customers (like me) who like to order the "the usual" every day. For them, the ability to walk in the store, pick up their usual, and just walk out - seems like a gift from heaven. Perhaps Starbucks could partner with with Amazon to launch a just drive-out tech as well that QSRs can use.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2021

    Kroger’s Home Chef meal kit biz joins the billion dollar sales club

    Last year, as the away-from-home food consumption went down due to lockdowns, restaurant closures and general consumer nervousness to venture out, Kroger and other grocers benefited from it in a big way. Meal kits are a great strategic lever for them to continue to keep those eat-at-home consumers while providing them an alternative way to experience restaurant quality meal with their families without having to go out.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2021

    Is it time for retailers to hop on the cryptocurrencies trend?

    What I am realizing with owning cryptocurrencies is that, with the same amount of investment, one day it can buy me a can of Coke and another day it can buy me their bottling plant. I am exaggerating of course, but that is exactly what I feel cryptocurrencies are as a form of payment - an exaggeration.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2021

    Target doubles down on Apple shop-in-shop ‘experiences’

    Target, based on its partnerships with Ulta, Disney, Levi's, Apple, etc. is on its way to becoming a mall within a store driving experiential retailing. Apple, on the other hand, especially due to the pandemic, is losing its experiential touch within its own stores, oftentimes resulting in a lot of wait times. I think it just makes a lot of sense for Target to elevate their profile to attract more experience-seeking customers and for Apple to gain from that.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2021

    Walmart says Amazon’s grocery delivery fee will put a ‘Whole’ in customers’ wallets

    I recently signed up for Walmart+ on a two-week trial just to realize they don't have a ship-from-store option in my area. Whole Foods does.
  • Posted on: 10/22/2021

    Could Crocs’ supply chain mitigation steps work for others?

    Production diversification seems to be the most popular measure these days, with IKEA, Benetton, and now Crocs resorting to that strategy. Another example that comes to mind is how Conagra worked its way around lack of driver availability by shipping products directly from their plants to the customers.
  • Posted on: 10/22/2021

    Amazon rolls out in-store pickup and local delivery for marketplace sellers

    The local pick-up will be a great service for those customers who are increasingly buying multiple categories of products online and yet want to support local independent stores.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2021

    Your next c-store online order may be delivered by a robot

    Does it matter if I am ordering online from a convenience store vs. a mass merchandiser if I am ordering online from my couch and getting the order delivered to my doorstep within the same time frame? The channel itself becomes immaterial in that case, and price probably will take the front seat.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2021

    Should retailers be looking to leverage free return shipping?

    In light of the wider supply chain disruption which is coming in the way of timely availability of products during the holiday season, I think retailers need to consolidate returns by way of a fourth model (by employing the services of firms like Happy Returns). That will hopefully ease some pain around forward shipments.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2021

    Will Taco Bell lovers sign up for a taco a day?

    Absolutely, Taco Bell is definitely thinking outside the bun. More than people buying a taco subscription for themselves, Taco Bell should position this as a gift option to give to your loved ones who love tacos. That, IMO, will drive higher sales. Not just for tacos but everything else a customer is tempted to buy when they are at the restaurant.

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