4 Best Practices for a Category Manager

by Mischelle Rebello

November 23, 2020 | 02 min read


4 Best Practices for a Category Manager

There’s never a dull moment. You are either harangued by your sellers or sales teams. You have to ensure KPIs are met while keeping track of every money spent or saved. Then there’s the obsessive following of the pricing wars and the accompanying promotions that need to be conceptualised and marketed. The life of a category manager is challenging.

Ensuring that your category outshines all others in the market is a Herculean task given the intense competition. Here are four best practices that can aid all category managers to analyse your category performance and strategies to improve sales performance.

The role retailer promotions to grow category sales

One of the bigger challenges for category managers is to manage promotional space for your category. You can negotiate it effectively with a pitch that highlights the following competitive weekly insights:

  • Promotional space allocated for your category
  • Analyse the weeks when it was difficult to gain customer interest due to heavy competition
  • Identify new opportunities during weeks of low competition

Projecting the competitiveness of planned pricing

Shoppers buy from their favoured outlets based on the pricing of the products. If your competitor’s promotional price is lower than yours in a given week, then your trade promotions could have poor outcomes.

Conversely, if your promotional price is too low, then it will be hard to validate the full cost to shoppers who might devalue your product. It is essential, as a category manager, you must monitor pricing relative to the competition continuously. Ensure the following pricing insights to stay ahead of the game.

  • The promotional prices of competing products
  • Review weekly pricing trends to assess the relevant period to run your promotions

Know Your Retail Outlet

It is critical to align your category management goals to the needs of your retailer. It’s important to understand the strategies, internal processes and in-store operations of your outlet. Here are a few insights to track and monitor based on the outlet’s strategies:

  • Technology awareness and compliance with your platforms
  • Stocking levels and reliance on auto-replenishment systems
  • Order fulfilment in the scheduled time
  • Payment schedules and credit rating
  • Willingness to collaborate on trade promotions

Convert Retail Intelligence into Opportunities

Data and insights will provide much-needed guidance when it is so easy to get lost in the minefield of category data. As a category manager, you need the correct analytical tools and skills. Here are a few data points to be on top of to manage your category efficiently:

  • Track total spending for each category
  • Track and monitor vendor performance and compliance with a pre-approved set of KPIs
  • Identify KROs and build partnerships that promote collaboration and sales
  • Create more transparency in the supply chain. Adopt multi-touch retail execution platforms
  • Continuously improve route-to-market processes through technological innovations like the B2B eCommerce Marketplaces, and more strategic distribution.

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