The established route to consumer markets in the western world is via the major retail groups. The main consumer brands have to go through these multiples if they are to reach their target customers. That structure simplifies matters greatly for the brands although it places an inordinate level of power in the hands of multinational retail groups.
The developing world is very different, however. Retailers that are household names in Europe and America have almost never been heard of in much of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Instead, it is the traditional corner shop and sole traders who hold sway in the retail marketplace.
This presents considerable challenges for the brands, which must deal with tens if not hundreds of thousands of individual retailers instead of a few handfuls of international chains. Irish company Brandtone has developed a solution to this problem with new technology that allows suppliers and retailers to exchange orders and sales information using smartphones as well as old-tech GSM mobiles.