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Snacks Retail Expertise

In Today’s Retail Experience, ‘Category Management’ is Evolving. Here's Why It Matters.

David Nolen
VP, Category Management
  • Category management is evolving from advising the aisle to deeper shopper insights
  • When retailers partner with manufacturers to understand the total retail experience, they can unlock growth

I recently read something that really resonated: category management has evolved “from dominos to chess.”

I can’t think of a better way of describing the transformation of the type of work that category managers do. There’s no question that category management is evolving. Today, it’s important for manufacturers and retailers, alike, to see this role as it relates to a bigger view of a shopper's world. Here’s why.

  • Category advisors, by their nature, tend to have a broad view of what’s happening outside of the store, as well as what’s working within the aisle. Those are valuable insights that they’re able to share with retailers to help them offer convenience and experiences, which can help build shopper loyalty.
  • Retailers have valuable real-time data about their consumers shopping behaviors and purchases. When they opt to share that information with manufacturers, the insights can be powerful in driving more profitable growth.

Let's take the front-end of the store as an example. There’s been a pay-point evolution from traditional checkout to self-checkout, a change that’s frequently made to decrease labor costs. What many retailers don’t realize, is when they transition to self-checkout, they often overlook a number of merchandising touch points that were previously centered around the checkout lanes. We understand the shopper is still looking for a reward for the end of their trip, no matter what the point of sale looks like. When retailers and category managers work together to plan for these transitions, they can improve the shopper experience  and create new areas of sales growth. 

People have more shopping options than ever before. Broadening the view of category management to navigate these changes  is at the center of the changing relationship with retailers-- from advising the aisle to deeply understanding the shopper's world. 

Like I mentioned earlier, in our ever-changing job, we’re chess players. With a big picture view and strategy, we can all work to calculate our next moves together.