Category Plan Success — Driven By Solid Category Management Foundations

Ready to create your category plans?

Start with the essential category management foundations …

Effectively defining Retailer strategy is the MOST important foundation to achieve success for any Retailer. Retailer strategy should include consideration of the following:

  1. Development of overall strategies associated with your store format(s), your target Shopper, your competition and your Private Label / store brands. 
  2. Proper category definitions (and associated segments based on the consumer decision tree) based on your target Shopper and how you view and shop the category. 
  3. Assignment of category roles to provide a structure to managing the categories across your store (once again based on your target Shopper).  

Once a Retailer’s strategies are defined,
they need to be communicated.

What’s the point in creating strategies if they are not properly articulated and communicated? Strategies need to include the necessary guidelines, principles and processes from which they make decisions and recommendations at a category level.

What’s Your Opportunity?

Retailers —

Take a look at your overarching strategies, guidelines and processes and determine if they are enough.

  • Are you giving your organization and external Vendor partners the structure to help them make the best decisions / recommendations at a category level based on what you are trying to accomplish as a total store for your target Shoppers?
  • What can be improved?

Vendors —

  • Ensure you are asking the right questions of your Retail partners and develop plans that consider the Retailer and category perspective vs brand-only solutions.
  • Are you getting enough information from your Retailer to make the best recommendations for their categories?
  • What can be improved and how much can you influence that? 

Once a Retailer has established and articulated their strategies, it’s time to start developing category plans.

Note: While plans can be developed without all of the strategic considerations outlined above – their outcomes will most likely be less successful.


Step 1 of the Category Plan: Assign Category Strategies

As we have already established, the Retailer strategy, including the category role, drive the outputs from the category plan. Before developing the category plan, a category strategy needs to be set, which complements the category role that has been defined for each category. This step answers the important question, “What do I want to achieve in this category?”

Category strategies also set up the foundations for the tactics, including product assortment, shelving, pricing and promotion. Following are some resources for you to learn more about category strategies.

If you’d like more information on Category Strategies, we have a certified category management training course that will inform and guide the development of your category plans to achieve the most successful results.




Link to Purchase “Category Strategies” Category Management Training Course

$125 USD

30-day Access



Reference Guide

Knowledge Checks

Course Test

Topics: Category Management, Category Definition Work

Written by Sue Nicholls, Founder & President CMKG

Embracing the Joy of Learning and Teaching. Hi there! I'm deeply passionate about training and learning. Since the pioneering days of category management at P&G in the '80s, I've been fortunate to embark on a journey of teaching and inspiring others. My career has been a delightful tapestry woven with long-term collaborations with major retailers and CPG executives, contributing to industry standards, and sharing insights at numerous conferences. I'm thrilled to have had the opportunity to shape minds as an Adjunct Professor in Marketing, focusing on consumer behavior.

150 Hours of Knowledge and Countless Moments of Insight. Creating over 150 hours of online curriculum and leading hundreds of instructor-led sessions has been an enriching experience. I've had the honor of collaborating with diverse professionals across the globe, adapting to an ever-evolving industry. The goal? To forecast the future and equip our learners with the skills to thrive and stay relevant.

Learning: A Collective Adventure. I believe learning is a dynamic journey that encompasses individuals, teams, organizations, and yes, even us training professionals. It's not about rigid methods but nurturing a continuous, evolving process. My aim through this blog and other platforms is to share my wealth of experience and encourage open, ongoing dialogues. Together, we can enhance any team's ability to implement effective business strategies and realize their strategic goals. Let's embark on this learning adventure together, growing and evolving with every shared experience! Happy learning!