Category management is a merchandising process that focuses on the performance of an overall product category. The intent with this approach is to maximize total category sales and profit rather than that of individual brands. Shopper marketing involves understanding how consumers behave as shoppers, in different channels and formats, and leveraging this intelligence.
With the preceding in mind, consider these observations by Toby Desforges of Engage Consultants:
“Retailers cannot and should not put aside the imperative to grow category sales; and we believe shopper marketing enables suppliers to work better with retailers by sharing a common understanding of shopper behavior. This doesn’t mean that shopper marketing is a ‘big retail thing’ nor does it mean that we advocate ‘doing category management.’ Far from it, but we think many practitioners risk getting hung up as they confuse shopper marketing with category management and this does need clearing up.”
“Let’s be clear that shoppers shop everywhere and not just in organized supermarket chains. If you really want to create a complete picture of how best to market your brands to consumers and shoppers, you have to consider all the environments people shop in from small independent retailers, C2C portals, E-commerce sites, and hypermarkets, to name but a few. Category management by contrast is only fully applied by a small group of very well organized (generally grocery) retailers.”
“Further, category management is a choice, not a business imperative, for most manufacturers. This choice has some significant advantages but comes at a stiff price too. Category management can be an extremely effective way of securing retail implementation from retailers who have a synchronous shopper profile with a brand, but the category management process can be costly and if the chosen retail partner is not effective at implementation this cost can be wasted. Shopper marketing helps make this choice work more effectively.”
Click the chart to read more from Desforges.