Applying the principles of Category Management can be really effective for suppliers looking to grow their brand in Retail – the goal being to become an expert in the needs, goals and objectives of a retailers’ category. Aligning their process with the retailers’ category management strategy will help to establish the supplier as a potential true partner, and goes along way to building important cross functional retailer relationships.
Category Management is generally a process that retailers & suppliers work on together to improve the shopper experience & ultimately, improve sales for the retailer & the brands in the category. But suppliers who do not have Category Partner status can still take a Category Management approach when trying to grow their brand in retail – the goal being to become an expert in the needs, goals and objectives of the retailers’ category. Aligning their process with the retailers’ category management strategy will help to establish the supplier as a potential partner and goes along way to building the cross functional retailer relationships that can make such a difference.
There are 4 key principles of Category Management which we believe to be a solid platform for success:
- Attention to Retailer Strategy
The Category plan should be based on the foundations of the retailer’s overall strategy. So it is essential that you understand the retailers strategy, stores & shoppers. Talk in their language, visit their stores, use their shopper profiles & get into the detail of their strategy!
In order to be successful in category management, both retailers and suppliers need to be “retailer-centric” & objective in their approach, using data & facts to define the category strategy. Retailers will welcome a category approach from suppliers that look at the bigger picture rather than simply their own brand perspective.
- In Depth Market Knowledge
Strong supply of market knowledge such as IRi & Nielsen data, and retailer own tools such as Tesco & dunnhumby, are essential to success. Shopper insight is also invaluable in explaining the reasoning behind the data. Together they provide a strong understanding of the category dynamics & are a fundamental part of the process.
Key questions to ask are ‘How do you define the Category?’, ‘What is the Role of the Category?’, ‘How is the Category performing in the Total Market & for other Retailers?’ Completing a Category Scorecard to answer these questions will help to determine a Category Strategy.
- Present Clear Category Strategy & Tactics
The Strategy is likely to be centred on increasing sales, growing market share and increasing consumer penetration & frequency. The tactics will identify the specific actions that are required to deliver the strategy and should cover ranging, merchandising, promotions & pricing. Make your recommendations clear & punchy, and always rooted in the data!
Wynne Business specialise in launching products & driving brand growth with UK retailers. We can help with any aspect of the sales & marketing process & offer tailor made packages for SME’s. Speak to us about your brand today!