What is Category Management?
Great Category Management is a joint retailer/supplier process of managing categories as strategic business units, producing enhanced business results by focusing on delivering consumer /shopper value by reviewing historical data and activities
What is the difference between Category Development and Category Management?
Great Category Development builds forward a view into the strategies and tactics that are applied to the category. This is achieved by understanding the trends that are effecting the category and its performance.
What is a Range Review?
A range review is a systematic review of the existing range and the category’s performance, identifying gaps and opportunities, range duplication and range tail. New listings and delistings are identified to create the optimal range. An understanding of the objectives, target shoppers and desired market coverage informs the process.
What is a Category Vision?
A category vision is a forward thinking vision based on future trends
What is a Category Captain?
A category captain is a supplier that is identified to assist in the development of the category, category plan, range review and any projects associated with driving category performance. They are usually appointed as they have resources to support the process eg a skilled team in place, continuous data, shopper research, space planning software. A supplier without these resources can play an equally important role as they may have expertise in a specific segment of the category.
Is category management a marketing or a sales function?
That’s a question I am often asked. My response remains consistent which is that it should be seen as a business approach rather than a function, but should sit in the area that will give it the most support. My personal preference would be for it to sit in sales because of its strong focus and interface with customers.
Category management is more than creating pretty pictures of an instore fixture and is more than maximising shelf impact instore. It should be at the heart of corporate strategic planning, giving direction to the overall plans of the organisation through category understanding. This understanding should deliver category strategies on which brand plans and account plans can be developed. It will also identify NPD that can deliver the strategies.
Category management also helps put the needs of the shopper (and consumer) at the heart of the organisation. Identifying growth opportunities, understanding shopper trends and being a critical voice to ensure that company / brand plans deliver not just for the organisation but for the category too.
Having a trained team with supporting data, tools and processes will elevate an organisations standing with customers. This team then can act as an impartial voice with customers to challenge and move conversations from trading to category growing, and a voice for the customer in the organisation to ensure customer / channel needs are being met.
It is vital that senior management openly support category management and continually reinforce the need for it to be a total company- wide approach.