9 Ways To Get Out of Your Rut and Innovate Your CatMan Approach (CMA+SIMA Conference Recap)

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Category Management Association’s annual conference in Las Vegas, where category management and shopper insights professionals gathered to learn, share and network. It was particularly exciting for us at CMKG, because the CMA announced our new partnership at the conference. This venture will allow us to get our training into even more brilliant minds around the world. I facilitated 9 live training sessions over the course of the 3-day conference, spanning topics like: Identifying Growth Opportunities in Your Business, Fact-Based Presentations and Storyboarding, Shopper Insights (co-developed and facilitated with Leslie Warsaw from SIMA), Category Management in On-Premise (2-part session), and many more!
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Interpreting Index Numbers: Proceed with Caution - Category Development Index and Fair Share Index

on May 24, 2016 7:23:05 AM By | Sue Nicholls, CPSA Founder & President CMKG | 0 Comments | Analytics Work Category Analytics
Common (Mis)Interpretations: Category Development Index in Category Analysis There is significant emphasis on deriving effective and strategic insights in category management. With all of the incredible data sources available to both Retailers and Suppliers / Manufacturers, there are certain measures that are consistently used to derive these insights. For some of the commonly used measures, there’s also a tendency to generalize the interpretation of the numbers, or not scratch below the surface and think about what the numbers really mean. Examples? Category Development Index (CDI) and Fair Share Index (FSI) …
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Retailer Market Share as a Strategic Benchmark

on May 17, 2016 8:44:52 AM By | Sue Nicholls, CPSA Founder & President CMKG | 0 Comments | Analytics Work Category Analytics
When using data and analysis, the numbers on their own don’t tell the whole story. By applying thought and strategy to the interpretation of the data, you will come up with better category solutions. One of my favorite examples of this is the use of the “Retailer Market Share” number in category management. If you’ve ever heard, “You are underdeveloped in a brand, subcategory or category, and you need to fix this!”, then read on …
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4 Best Practices for Managing Seasonal Categories

What are some opportunities for you to move to a more strategic approach in your seasonal categories? Seasonal merchandising represents a huge incremental sales and profit opportunity for Retailers and Manufacturers. What are seasonal categories? “Seasonal events” have evolved and expanded with changes in the Shopper, weather patterns, and new events to include everything from annual holidays, to multicultural holidays, to celebration and annual events, to special community events, and even weather-related events. Some major seasonal events are starting much earlier than in the past. Retailers who want to stand out in the marketplace now run “hot” priced features well in advance of the seasonal event to establish their stores as the best destination for the season. There is also a stronger concentration of sales during the few days before seasonal events.  To realize and maximize the full potential of seasonal sales, you should apply the principles of category management to your seasonal categories. I've put together 4 best practices for managing seasonal categories that incorporate catman strategies, including a rigorous analysis post season to continuously improve your seasonal category plans.
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Why Category Management is the Answer to Collaboration, Becoming Shopper-Centric, and Maximizing Big Data.

Most retail and vendor organizations I have spoken to or interacted with in the past 6 months list at least one of the following objectives in their Corporate Strategic Plans: Collaboration. There is a big opportunity for Retailer and Vendor Collaboration, but organizations are not making any or enough progress. Shopper-Centricity. To win with Shoppers, Retailers and Vendors need to collaborate to be truly Shopper-centric. Limited collaboration is leading to misalignment of messages — meaning shoppers’ needs and wants are not being met. Big Data. Leveraging Big Data (by Retailers or Vendors) requires more precision and sophistication in its use and is similarly aided by strategic collaboration between Retailers and Vendors.
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Get Back to the Basics to Improve Promotion Effectiveness

Progressive Grocer recently ran an article on “How Ineffective Promotions Are Dragging Down Top Consumer Packaged Goods Brands”. 
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Key Considerations for Strategic Pricing Analysis

Pricing is one of the tactics of the Marketing Mix. It is an important marketing tool in retailing, and has become much more analytically- and strategically-focused than in the past.  Prices vary based on different promotions, and on differing Retailer strategies. A difference of 5 or 10% in price can influence sales and profit significantly. Pricing decisions directly affect category sales, inventory positions and category profitability.
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4 Ways to Inject Strategy Into Your Efficient Assortment Analysis—Beyond Item Rank Reports!

I was recently working with a large client on strategic efficient assortment and asked them what tools they used to complete their assortment analysis. Their answer? 1) “homemade” tools; and 2) item rank reports (yes, ranked in descending order and cutting off the lowest selling items). Honestly, I was shocked—how has such an important tactic (the most important one!) become so unstrategic? This approach gives little or no thought to Retailer strategy or the Retailer’s Shopper and their needs (it’s what I was doing for assortment analysis almost 25 years ago!). I think for some, assortment (and shelving, for that matter) have become too automated, too tactical and too low level. There’s so much time spent on the tactical work associated with maintaining homemade tools, managing item-level databases and pulling the right data that there’s no time left to incorporate very much strategy, Shopper or thought for trends into the recommendations. The opportunity? 1) Reduce the tactical work across your organization through proper tools and processes; and 2) Ramp up your efficient assortment analysis with a strategic Shopper focus and get a new level of insights and recommendations!  
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5 Ways to Analyze Your Retail Scanned Sales Data / POS Data

Retail POS (point of sale data) is the “king” of category management data. Are you maximizing the use of this important data source? Retailer Scanned point of sale data and Retailer Measurement data from 3rd parties like Nielsen and IRI (key account data) are derived from scanned point of sale data. Together, these 2 variations of POS data are the primary data sources with which we do category management work.
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3 Tips: Turn Your Excel Skills From Good to Great!

Looking for some ways to improve your Excel skills to reduce errors, save time and/or take you to a new level of category management analysis? Excel is a great tool and necessary program for almost anyone in business to know how to use. But there’s always more to learn, faster ways to do things, shortcut keys, and helpful formulas. It can also waste an incredible amount of your time and be very inefficient without utilizing Excel’s powerful features through a solid understanding. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone — there are a lot of people in this camp because many of us have learned on-the-job rather than through training. The opportunity?  Learn more effective Excel skills, save time and frustration and transform yourself into an Excel rockstar! 
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