As shoppers do more of their shopping online, the e-commerce channel needs to keep up with the changing demands of shoppers and evolving channel capabilities.
Online Category Management
Online Category Management
Why is it important?
A suppliers role
Many suppliers have become very adept at delivering category management initiatives for bricks and mortar stores. Unfortunately, when it comes to online or e-commerce, this can be an afterthought. The good news is that online retailers are looking for suppliers to help them grow, suppliers just need to step up.
A supplier’s role is to provide insight and guidance on how to deliver for shoppers, fulfilling their needs and expectations. The principles of category management implemented in store need to be adapted for online. When you are designing your category strategies ensure that online is part of the consideration set with specific opportunities, strategies and tactics identified. Put an understanding of your shoppers’ needs and expectations at the heart of your strategies and tactics. Buy the right data, conduct research and lead your categories.
A proposed approach
CPG companies should create a data-driven approach. Buying relevant online data and when running shopper research add online as a key channel. Understanding the role that your category plays in the online channel is a good starting point. How important is your channel to the overall basket? Is your category the same online as instore? Do shoppers expect to find a different set of products in your category to those that they expect to find in-store?
A good starting point is to thoroughly audit all online stores. What are they doing overall? What are they doing with my category? How is it promoted? What is their range?
Review performance. How is each platform performing v each other? How is my category performing? How are my sku’s performing? Look outside your category within your optimum retailers, but also look more broadly to other retailers who wouldn’t historically sell your category. What can you learn? What can you copy?
Set KPIs, know what is expected and what good looks like. Don’t be put off by lack of data. Choose the correct metrics and try to source data to support these.
Having an evolving approach, investigating and understanding shopper and channel trends, and creating suitable strategies and tactics will make you a leading supplier. This approach will give you the opportunity to sit at a retailers table.
How we can help
With over 20 years of experience in category management, Big River Solutions are ideally placed to assist in the development of practices, tools, and processes that help to put online at the heart of your category management approach.