Welcome to another informative episode of the Data Gurus Podcast! Sima is excited to have Veena Giridhar Gopal, the Co-founder, and CEO of Salesbeat, joining her on the show today!
Salesbeat started in March 2019, and when Covid hit early in 2020, Veena and her partner pivoted the business.
Salesbeat has software that processes many different data points, including sales data from supermarkets and external data points, like weather forecasts, to predict how much a supermarket will sell any product for a specific period in the future. The purpose is to eliminate sales losses due to under or overstocking.
Overstocking has become a big issue since Covid because people have changed how they live. So supermarkets are buying the wrong stocks.
Too much stock
Veena has worked for companies in the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) industry since 2007, so she knows the area well. She has also been in FMCG sales. So she knew that when Covid happened in March 2020, and people started buying things and stockpiling, it would cause a blip in historical sales numbers the following year. Supermarkets would then place their orders based on those numbers and end up with too much stock.
A problem already existed due to climate change, so beverage companies and personal care companies would not know how much stock to order for some weather conditions, like heat waves. The industry lost up to 30% of its total revenue annually because nobody tracked the lost sales.
Recent studies show that lost sales increased due to supply chain issues.
What they do at Salesbeat
On a live basis, Salesbeat looks at how much stock is in the warehouse and whether orders get done regularly. They calculate in theory if orders get issued when they run out of stock. They also look for reasons if they have not placed the orders or made the sales.
Factors considered in the Salesbeat model
In the Salesbeat pitch, they say that they look at both micro and macro factors.
Macro factors include things like demographics.
Certain items do very well on promotions in middle or lower class areas, whereas they could cause money losses in affluent areas. The same thing applies to people from different backgrounds or ethnic groups. Salesbeat looks at those factors and others to advise supermarkets on what and how much to stock.
The micro factors they look at include social media. Although influencers increase sales, when regular people rave about a product, and it goes viral, there is even more of an uplift in sales.
Weather patterns have been unusual recently. That can upset retailers purchasing decisions. To fix it, Salesbeat looks at daily weather forecasts for the next few weeks and makes predictions based on that.
Supermarkets need the service provided by Salesbeat a lot more than brands do. So they now offer their service to supermarkets.
Two different views
Salesbeat provides two views: They have an automated system for sending orders to supermarket suppliers, and they also offer brands a view of similar data but in a different format. They tell brands which orders to expect from a supermarket at any point so they can plan their inventories properly.
An early adopter program
They are busy setting up an early adopter program for major supermarkets to try their solution out.
How Salesbeat differs from other supply chain solutions
Other supply chain solutions differ from that of Salesbeat in that they do not take the daily weather forecasts or social media into account. Also, other supply chain solutions do their forecasts at a national account level rather than looking at specific stores.
Veena has noticed that e-commerce sales increase when the weather is cold and rainy. People also tend to do bigger shops when they know their purchases will get delivered.
Salesbeat currently focuses on the retail launch of its product. After the launch, the roadmap for the future of the company will be about setting up a version of their product for collaborative use.
Before starting her company, Veena heard that entrepreneurship was very tough and stressful. She loves being an entrepreneur, however! She has found the stress much more manageable than working for someone else.
Veena is the co-founder & CEO of Salesbeat. She is from India and now lives in London, UK. She has previously lived in Gaborone, Botswana, and Fontainebleau, France. She is an accountant by qualification and has an MBA from INSEAD. Veena has worked in advisory (clients included retailers & FMCG distributors) as well as in a range of roles in the packaged Food & Beverage industry. She has 20+ years of experience and has worked across finance, strategy, corporate development, and sales at companies like PepsiCo & Diageo.
Outside of work, she enjoys the outdoors and is an avid scuba diver and hiker. She also enjoys painting and has successfully exhibited her art in Gaborone, Botswana, and London, UK. Her most recent exhibition explored matriarchy and matriarchal tribes around the world. Her art can be found on her Instagram account – @veenaspaintbrush
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