Top 10 Ways to Use Category Management in Retail (Small- to Mid-Size)

For the past 4 weeks I’ve been blogging and getting feedback from Small- to Mid-Sized Retailers on overall retail strategy and category management practices and approaches. I originally broached this subject based on a theory I had developed through one-on-one client training, professional speaking engagements, and larger discussions via social media. But being a data-driven person, I wanted to test my theory about this specific group of Retailers so I developed a series of anonymous, online surveys to collect more insight. Of note, the surveys were primarily filled out by Small- to Mid-Sized Retailers (<1000 stores) and we removed the large Retailers from the survey results for more specific results. Here they are:
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Retailers, How Successful Are Your Category Tactics? (Part 4 Results)

We’re into Week 4 of a 5-part blog series where I’ve been reviewing the key components of category management, followed by surveys where Retailers evaluate how well they are doing in the different components.
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Category Management in Retail Scorecard: Compare Part 3 Results

This week, we’ll walk through:  the Category Assessment Results from last week’s evaluation (Part 3). Part 4 of the Evaluation: Analyzing Your Tactics to Turn Data Into Action.
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Category Management in Retail Scorecard: Compare Part 2 Results

My blog last week (Category Management in Retail Scorecard – Compare Part 1) reviewed overall results from our readers as they evaluated their organizations’ retail strategies and captured the biggest areas of opportunity for improvement. We also covered some of the foundations in category management required for Retailers to be successful in their catman approach. As a Retailer, YOU own and define your own unique process, driven by your internal Retail strategies. That’s why it’s critical to have well-defined processes and guidelines that consider the Key Components for Category Management.  This week, we’ll walk you through last week’s results AND explain the next part of the evaluation — Part 3: Assessing Your Categories For Gaps & Opportunities.
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Category Management in Retail Scorecard: Compare Part 1 Results

Last week’s blog (Category Management in Retail is changing — how are you keeping up?) explained why Retailers need to have well-defined and articulated strategies and outlined what a solid strategy should include.  Remember that strategies defining category management in retail create the foundation for achieving your goals and objectives as an organization. That’s why we included a questionnaire as part of last week’s post — so individuals can start to understand where opportunities exist. This week, we dive into the results first … Then, we explain the next part of the evaluation — Part 2: Own Your Category Management Approach.
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Category Management in Retail is changing — how are you keeping up?

The retail industry is changing. Retailers are vying for market share in an increasingly competitive environment. Shoppers are becoming more complex and demanding. Data and technology options are increasing in complexity with more and more big data. Channels are blurring. Retailers have a big opportunity to create well defined strategies and processes that will help align and guide their organizations so that they can achieve their goals and objectives. But where should you begin for category management in retail environments?
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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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Build Your Strategy Behind Assortment and Space Planning

What is the strategic level of your team or organization when it comes to Space Planning and Efficient Assortment? Space planning and efficient assortment are BOTH very important for Retailers and Manufacturers — so why are they treated so tactically? Why don’t teams and organization consider more advanced shelving solutions and take full advantage of opportunities to reach the Shopper? Read on to find out some common mistakes on both sides.
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Strategic Selling Skills: How to Develop Them & Why You Need Them.

Selling is a requirement in any business. In the retail industry, selling takes place both internally and externally for Retailers and Vendors across departments and teams. There are multiple “Seller” to “Buyer” relationships, including: EXTERNAL SELLING RELATIONSHIPS the account manager or sales director (Seller); calling on the category manager or business unit lead at the Retailer (Buyer). the category analyst or vendor advisor (Seller); calling on the category manager, or someone else in the retail organization responsible for different components of the category review process (Buyer). the Retailer’s category manager with a new promotion or plan (Seller); calling on an account manager or sales director (Buyer). INTERNAL SELLING RELATIONSHIPS the category manager at the Retailer promoting an idea or concept (Seller); to their business unit lead or manager (Buyer). the Vendor’s category analyst or category management director promoting in an idea or concept (Seller); to the marketing director or sales director within their organization (Buyer). So when you think about developing selling skills, expand your concept of Sellers and Buyers beyond the Vendor’s sales team. The graphic below summarizes:    Two critical components of any selling approach include your ability to create engaging and informative presentations that focus on your Buyer (either internal or external). These components include the ability to use software tools like PPT and to tell a compelling story with relevant, fact-based details to your audience. Both components are critical, and must be developed BEFORE you can focus on strategic selling skills.
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Product Supply Chain Is More Than Just Moving Product

Supply Chain Management is an important, but sometimes misunderstood, process for both Retailers and Suppliers. So many individuals, teams and departments impact the supply chain for both Retailers and Suppliers — understanding the implications of how decisions and recommendations affect the bigger picture is critical. In net, supply chain management includes planning and management of all sourcing, procurement and conversion activities, plus all logistics management activities. It includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners including Suppliers, intermediaries, third-party service providers and Retailers. Think of supply chain management as the link between major business functions and business processes within and across companies. It creates a cohesive and high-performing business model, including all of the logistics management activities and manufacturing operations. Supply chain management drives coordination of processes and activities with and across marketing, sales, product design, finance and information technology. 
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