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Kimberly Clark Hopes To Connect Fijians Via Digital Platform

  Kimberly Clark Corporation, commonly known for its baby care and feminine care products, is looking at improving shopping experience for Fijians. A senior representative from Kimberly Clark Corporation from
18 May 2016 14:18
Kimberly Clark Hopes To Connect Fijians Via Digital Platform
fijisun.com.fj

 

Kimberly Clark Corporation, commonly known for its baby care and feminine care products, is looking at improving shopping experience for Fijians.

A senior representative from Kimberly Clark Corporation from USA, Tony Palmer, was recently in the country looking at the opportunities here and the region.

Mr Palmer, the President Global Brands and Innovations from Kimberly Clark, visited its distributors, CJ Patel.

He was here to also spend time with Darren Smith, Manager Pacific Islands Development, Kimberly Clark Australia and to understand how Mr Smith works in the Pacific.

Kimberly Clark is commonly known for its brands such as Huggies diapers, Kleenax facial tissues, Delsey toilet paper and Kotex feminine care.

Mr Palmer said their ultimate aim is to improve shopping experience, improve communication and engage better with consumers.

One of the ways Mr Palmer said they are looking at improving these is by utilising the very good digital connectivity Fiji and the Fijians have.

He said they hope to take advantage of the digital platform such as smartphone usage to connect their products with consumers and build an understanding for expecting mothers.

How will they do this? Mr Palmer indicated, say for instance there are 15,000 expecting mums at any point in time.

“They need information and they want to consume information. So it is better to send them information via email as at that time they are nesting,” he said.

“So by the time the baby comes along – they are so busy and you want them to be able to send you questions on social media and you connect immediately.”

He said it is critical to understanding which tools to use to give the consumer the best experience. Thus, Kimberly Clark is looking at using the digital connectivity.

 

Significance of Fiji

Kimberly Clark is a multinational company with a US$20 billion annual turnover. One might think so how will Fiji, such a small market, be of any importance to them.

Mr Palmer explained: “There is a tendency for the big companies to go to the bigger markets. For us, our big markets are USA, Korea, Brazil, China and Russia.”

But, he stressed if you don’t come to some of the smaller countries, you never understand the innovations that happen in the market.

“One of the other things is you end up with unintended consequences lie for example, our packaging hasn’t been historically aligned globally,” he said.

“And then you get to a small market like Fiji who might be sourcing from eight difference countries all with different packaging.

“When you get it on shelf, it looks different. So we did a lot of work over the past few years getting our packaging a lot more standardised across the globe.

“For Fiji today – you look at our brands on shelf – you will know they are brands and not an assortment of products pulled from all over the place.”

Mr Palmer said this was one opportunity they saw and improved upon.

 

Product demand

Meanwhile, the company believes their product demand had been stagnant for a while but was improving now and things looked very positive.

Mr Smith believes there is still a lot more potential in the Fijian market.

“Our business can be much much bigger and no I am going to put a figure on it but it should be bigger in five years,” he said.

Mr Palmer described the Fijian market as: “What we are seeing in Fiji – you expect those kinds of growth rates from places like China and that is definitely achievable.”

Because of our emerging middle class and a younger population mix, Kimberly Clark will be focussing on baby care, feminine care and family care products here.

Mr Palmer said Kotex for female care was product which was growing in demand here and they are working on how they can engage their target market.

“That product category is very tough for us but we want to engage the target audience,” he said.

 

Relationship with CJ Patel

Another big takeout from Fiji is the relationship they have with CJ Patel.

Kimberly Clark’s relationship with CJ Patel as its distributor goes back 26 years and has since then grown from strength-to-strength.

Mr Palmer said the power of having the best distributor in the market and having had such a long-term relationship was their biggest advantage.

In fact, the model with CJ Patel has been so good that Mr Palmer said they are looking at replicating it in other new markets they hoping to tap into such as Sri Lanka.

CJ Patel already also has a presence in Sri Lanka and Mr Palmer hinted they would not mind partnering up with them once again.

Feedback:  rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

 

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