BAYONLE OSENI currently the Account Director and Head of the Retail and Shopper Department in Kantar TNS Nigeria has 8 years of Research experience working and analyzing multiple forms of data to provide Clients with relevant insights required to make business decisions. Bayo started his research experience as a Client Service Executive with Nielsen in 2010, where he managed FMCG Clients and successfully used Product research and data to support Client strategies. His special accomplishments in Nielsen include being recognized as a West Africa Top talent in 2013/14 and a Simply Excellent Gold Award in 2015 for business development. He spoke with Research Intelligence
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR NEW JOB?
I feel great, wonderful and excited about the opportunity given to help build the retail arm of Kantar, TNS in Nigeria.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR BACKGROUND AND CURRENT ROLE AS THE HEAD OF KANTAR RETAIL?
I started my career in research with Nielsen as client sales executive in 2010. I managed several accounts including British American Tobacco, Diageo, Philip Morris International, Pfizer, GSK, PZ Cussons, Johnson Wax, Arla Foods, Power Horse, Red Bull, Colgate
and others. I worked mostly with the Research, Marketing and Brand teams. I did that for a couple of years before I was moved to the role of a Senior Business Development Executive. After this I was seconded to South Africa for New Business Development training by Nielsen, where I honed my Consultative selling skills. I did this for a couple of months and was again promoted to the role of a Client Service Manager. My role as a Client Service Manager involved my dealing directly with C-Suite stakeholders, providing data or information that can help drive their long-term strategies. As one of the most experienced Client Service and Research Managers in Nielsen, I was involved in building capability, mentoring associates and building the business in all ramifications. I did this for about two and half years before I joined Kantar TNS. I will like to point out that I got into research by stroke of luck. I won’t say it’s by mistake but by luck. Let me just put it that way. Leaving the University, it was my dream to work in the Banking sector and I had one Bank in mind – Oceanic Bank. On leaving the university that opportunity didn’t come, I was around for a couple of years before I got into the research industry; research was a new field to me. Unlike now, awareness about market research business is catching on in Nigeria, it was a small industry then. That’s a bit about me and my career in a nut shell. After 7 to 8 years, I am here as the head of Kantar Retail in Nigeria.
WHILE YOU WERE IN NIELSEN, DID YOU WORK WITH THE RETAIL AUDIT DATA?
Yes, that was part of my Job in Nielsen. We had a lot of clients that subscribed to retail audit data- all the major multinationals in Nigeria, in fact 95% of fast moving consumer goods companies in Nigeria buy into retail audit data and it’s a lot of money if you think about it. Nielsen is the only Market Research business that has enjoyed the monopoly of doing continuous retail audit in Nigeria for a very long time. Over the years they have invested in building capability, resources, and teams, they have auditors who are out there collating data monthly. With the arrival of Kantar Retail, a refreshed and new approach has been brought into Retail and Execution Research. We are focused and determined to give client value for money.
WHAT IS IT THAT YOU FIND CHALLENGING IN ENGAGING WITH CLIENTS?
One thing I find most challenging with some clients is that when you give recommendations based on research findings they sometimes do not go with these recommendations and that can be frustrating. One thing I also find challenging is that clients do not see research agencies as partners, gone are the days where Research agencies are just data providers, we have moved into the consulting space and need to be respected for that. It will be disastrous for any company, local or multinational to make decisions without receiving inputs from their Research partners. Companies, especially Multinationals also need to adopt the concept of Glocalization, this is where you include local context in Global strategies. What happens most times is companies are so stuck on their Global brand strategies that executing these strategies locally becomes a challenge and even when they seek to get approval from their Global or Regional Offices to launch a local brand strategy, you will find out that the consumer trend may have moved on before they are able to conclude on the process of obtaining approval.
DO THEY CONSIDER COST OF BUYING RESEARCH AS A CHALLENGE?
Are you talking about the local research industry or the local manufacturers? If anybody thinks the cost of buying research or information is expensive he/she should consider the implications of making decisions on speculations and gut feelings.
WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU THINK YOU CAN DO DIFFERENTLY GOING BY YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE INDUSTRY?
One thing I will like to do differently is to create awareness for businesses to buy more into research or to use more of research in making business decisions. In Nigeria, a lot of local businesses just rely on their instincts and go blind into the market without having the necessary information which is very bad. That is why you see a lot of product failures in the market place. You need to understand the market; It will also be great to see Manufacturers and Service providers in Nigeria make use of research more. It is very important otherwise you just continue to make avoidable mistakes.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE NIGERIAN RETAIL MARKET AND WHAT ARE YOUR MOST RECENT FINDINGS ABOUT THE RETAIL LANDSCAPE?
We talked about it earlier. I think retail is an important interface between the manufacturer and the consumer. Manufacturers need to understand what is going on in the retail market. What is the use of making a product when it does not get to the consumer? There is a need to understand the trends in the retail space. There are a lot of findings within Retail in Nigeria. I will give you an example right now; Before this time, most households when buying products in bulk prefer to do so through the Open market while the Neighborhood convenience stores were used for home top-ups. In recent times, we see more people doing bulk buying in Neighborhood groceries and supermarkets compared to the Open Market due to the cost of transportation. We have also noticed a reduction in the consumer shopping trips, they seem to be buying lesser volumes because of economic challenges. In addition to this, many manufacturers are starting to come up with smaller product pack sizes, which are easily affordable to Consumers. We also see a lot of locally produced goods really doing well due to existing Government policies such as the ban placed on some imported food items.
HOW RECESSION HAS IMPACTED BUSINESSES AND CONSUMERS IN NIGERIA?
Recession has really impacted on Nigerian businesses and consumers. I mentioned that during the recession we saw fewer shopping trips and consumers buying in lesser volumes. Consumers rationalized their spend. In 2018 we are likely going to see some level of growth from Manufacturers that source raw materials and produce locally due to the recent Government policies. Post recession, we will also see that Consumers are not likely to go back on their buying habits because of product relationships formed during the recession, it is like saying “Consumers have learnt some lessons and are starting to cut their cloth according to their size” We should not expect so much in terms of consumer spend in 2018, most especially as elections are around the corner in 2019. Premium brands will need to do a lot to justify why Consumers should spend extra on their products.
DO YOU THINK THAT NIGERIA RETAIL MARKET IS ORGANIZED?
No, it’s not. 95% of Nigerian retail business is traditional trade, less than 5% is modern trade. The modern trade sector is dominated by multinationals like Shoprite etc. This is not to say that Modern trade in Nigeria is not growing.
SHARE WITH US HOW YOU ARE DIFFERENT FROM COMPETITION?
Our offers can be customized to meet the Client’s needs, unlike that of competition which is quite rigid.We are very flexible and our ability to customize is our value proposition. So, for a client that cannot afford the full retail package, we have other solutions that are available that can also be used to guide and make informed business decisions. In addition to our retail offers we also help Brands understand their Shoppers; why do shoppers buy what they buy? What are those touch points that affect the shoppers’ behavior in the store? What kind of store types do shoppers prefer to shop? How does the arrangement of my product affect instore behavior? What is my return on investment on POS advertising and Merchandising Materials? etc.
WHAT ARE YOUR FLAGSHIP PRODUCTS AND SERVICES IN A NUTSHELL?
I will like to break them down into five different products; Retail Census: A detailed count of outlets within a specified Geographic Region. We have handled Retail Censuses for Clients such as Diageo, MTN and BAT in Nigeria and across East Africa. With a Retail Census in place, Manufacturers can understand whitespace opportunities especially when it comes to distribution. Also depending on the methodology used to collate information during a Census Manufacturers are also able to understand high weighted outlets that contribute huge volumes to their categories, this is especially good for Manufacturers who are looking to efficiently distribute their products without incurring so much cost. The Route to Market Consultancy is also borne out of a detailed Retail Census result, here we can help Clients develop a sustainable Route-to-Market strategy. Retail audit: A panel of outlets chosen to represent the pre-determined total retail trade. The good thing about our Retail audit is that we are flexible and can customize it to meet the Client’s needs. We make our sample robust enough for Clients to really drill down, and immediately identify issues in specific areas thereby making our audit data more actionable. We also conduct Retailer satisfaction surveys as value-add to our Retail Audit Clients Execution Audit: This is used to measure the effectiveness of sales teams in trade executions and standards required to generate potential sales. For example, a manufacturer who has just rolled out a promotion and activation drive will like to understand; If this activation or promotion is properly executed?; Are retailers price compliant?; Understand
the kind of margins retailers are making on products by comparing buy-in prices with sell-out prices?; Are POS and Merchandising materials properly displayed? And are in what condition?; Are products available in shelf and in store? What are the Out of stock levels for my products? etc. Trade Scans: This is a one-off Retail performance check in a randomly selected sample which can be transformed into a tracker. This product can be designed for Clients who are unable to bear the cost of a full retail audit and for clients that have identified their issue areas and would like to understand more in those areas. Shopper Research: I did talk about this earlier, we help Clients understand their shoppers in knowing where they shop, how they shop, touchpoints that affect their shopping behavior in store, Clients return on investment on Merchandising and POS materials, placement of products in shelf and how they affect product purchase etc.
WHAT’S YOUR IMPRESSION ABOUT THE MANY MALLS SPRINGING UP ALL OVER THE PLACE?
Well, I think it’s a good thing that we have a lot of malls coming up here in Nigeria, apart from helping to create Jobs they also help with growing the economy. I also think for now, focus of the big retailers coming into the country are the core markets like Lagos, Port- Harcourt and Abuja due to population and commercial activities in these areas. We see a few of them going to places like Oyo and Ogun State. In future, we expect more investments coming from Global retailers because we have the population, it has been projected that by 2030 Nigeria will be one of the highest populated countries in the world.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THINGS THAT PLAY AGAINST THESE RETAILERS?
Number one problem is space. Apart from this; lots of these retailers are known to have paid and are still paying huge taxes to the government. Social infrastructure that is needed for retail business to thrive are either lean on ground or not available at all.
HOW DO YOU MAKE THE RETAIL BUSINESS ATTRACTIVE?
We need to talk to government to come down on taxes and provide space for constructing big Retail infrastructures. Taking examples from the first world countries, malls are not built in residential areas but are built in town outskirts because of the kind of traffic they generate. Consumer goods items will become cheaper in the long run if government cuts down on taxes and rent. Provision of solid social infrastructure will also ensure that these malls benefit from social and facility upgrade especially power and good roads.
WHAT IS YOUR THOUGHT ON ONLINE SHOPPING?
Online shopping is quite small and green in Nigeria. Between 2011 and 2015 it grew by over 1000%. I believe that it will continue to grow. Right now, we have Konga coming up with grocery division which is different from their computer and hardware arm. In future I also see the growth of online groceries who will be attending to the needs of busy executives. To drive this home, I have a friend that has an online business where people that are unable to visit the markets on weekends shop for food, meat and pepper etc. and delivers to them at a reasonable price.
THERE ARE STILL SOME FACTORS THAT PLAY AGAINST SHOPPING ONLINE
Yes, security is one of them and even trust. We have a lot of suppliers that don’t deliver on time or what they deliver at the end of the day is inferior and different from what you see online. This case is particularly common to Clothing, Computer, Electronics and Hardware Products. These are just some of the problems which I see balancing out in future.
SHARE WITH US POSITIVE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RETAIL MARKET LANDSCAPE?
In the retail market landscape, something positive I see is a lot of Global retailers investing more in this Market because we have the potential, population and are growing; this will also ensure that our market will be more organized. A good number of manufacturers are now aware of it and are beginning to seek to understand retail more, they also see the need to invest more in retail. Retail is starting to gain online traction with the likes of Jumia, Konga, Kara.com, Deal dey, Yudala etc. In terms of Retail Research, we see lots of agencies coming into this space by helping Clients understand the Retail environment. Before now it used to be just Nielsen but we now have the likes of Kantar TNS coming into the space as well. A lot of interesting things are happening in retail.
WHY IS IT THAT NINETY PERCENT OF THE RETAIL INDUSTRY BUSINESS IS DOMINATED BY FOREIGNERS?
Our business owners or promoters have not been encouraged in the past and sometimes if you are looking to start a business, you do not have to start big, look at a Supermarket like Ebe ano when did they start? Look at The Prince Supermarkets also coming up. It’s a matter of time.
Thank you very much.