Business How aiSight helped the world's largest consumer companies navigate...

How aiSight helped the world’s largest consumer companies navigate emerging markets

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The world’s largest companies know that fast-growing emerging markets offer exciting opportunities in the coming years. But they have a problem: Securing the data needed to run a modern consumer business — from market size to sales and inventory levels — is a huge challenge in these markets. Enter aiSighta start-up supported by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which believes it has the answer.

Founder and CEO Umar Saif originally launched aiSight to work on health issues in developing countries, where a lack of basic data about who lives and works where, as well as the health treatments they use, makes planning ahead very difficult. Saif thought that using satellite imagery and combining it with advanced analysis tools would allow him to identify and map population centers in much more detail than ever before – and therefore predict the spread of disease before it spread.

That work led to remarkable advances in health care planning in countries such as Saif’s native Pakistan, where officials have been able to use the system’s results to intervene in disease outbreaks with hugely positive outcomes. Meanwhile, aiSight has also leveraged its technology for commercial customers to solve the data problem of consumer companies.

“These companies have little to do when they operate in many emerging markets,” explains Saif. “They rely on monthly data collected by on-site researchers, which is often patchy and outdated.” Many companies have pulled out of markets where they recognize huge growth potential simply because they have been stifled by this lack of visibility, he adds.

According to Saif, the solution is aiSight’s technology. It works with satellite imagery to create remarkably detailed data on the number of houses, shops and other buildings in almost any location. The company’s data also enables it to predict with great accuracy how many people live and work in these locations, as well as the demographic profile of this population. When a large consumer company connects its own data to a particular location — for example, the stores it works with and the products it supplies — aiSight’s predictive analytics engine can deliver the advanced business intelligence work they depend on in more developed economies.

The goal is to track millions of products in every store in a country to generate real-time recommendations for the consumer business. As soon as aiSight’s technology identifies an opportunity to increase sales, for example by expanding distribution, improving sales targets, optimizing trade promotions, minimizing store sales or refining the assortment, the company is notified so that it can can act quickly.

“Think of aiSight as a fully automated command and control center that generates population and socioeconomic profiles using satellite imagery for every neighborhood in a country,” explains Saif. “It continuously monitors every store, product, channel, distributor, brand, customer profile and trade promotion, generating actionable alerts as soon as it discovers an opportunity to optimize sales, trade or marketing functions to maximize revenue.”

That’s quite a promise, but a growing number of large multinational consumer companies are signing up. Major clients at aiSight include Unilever, PepsiCo, Red Bull, Reckitt, British American Tobacco and Phillip Morris International, all of whom are using their technology to execute much more data-driven sales strategies in key emerging markets.

That is potentially significant for these very large companies, many of which are now struggling to generate growth in their traditional markets. Emerging economies already account for 55% of global consumer spending at the large FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) companies. But over the next five years, consumer spending in these markets is expected to grow three times faster than in developed economies, with aggregate spending exceeding $6 trillion.

aiSight’s ability to give the FMCG giants greater access to that growth is driving the company to grow rapidly, as is the demand for it to offer its services in more markets. The company already offers analysis of countries in Asia and the Middle East, but is expanding its coverage almost constantly. This week it will announce a major new push in Africa.

The company operates on a software-as-a-service model, where subscription costs depend on the product ranges and countries the company wants to track.

Experienced retail analytics consultant Jason Elliot thinks it’s a winning formula. “Such a platform is the holy grail of the FMCG industry, which is still bogged down in monthly retail audit slides, Excel sheets, and basic PowerBI charts created by armies of sales analysts,” he says.

Shreya Christinahttps://ukbusinessupdates.com
Shreya has been with ukbusinessupdates.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider ukbusinessupdates.com team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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