Category Manager’s Time-Saving Tips: Assortment Management, Pricing, and…. Negotiations!

Nick Tikhomirov, Competera

What makes a category manager great? His ability to sign the best deal with suppliers, manage assortment efficiently, quickly change category and product prices, analyze particular activities and forecast future sales, of course!

Along with the fact that the Category Manager is rarely working with a single category, and you’ll see that those specialists are multifunctional octopuses.

Time is a decisive factor.

Category managers are usually struggling to focus and specialize because their work range is overly broad. The great category managers are not those who are extremely experienced but those who can act quickly and efficiently while balancing between suppliers’ interests, customers’ demand, and retailers’ profit margin.

Automated Pricing

One of the critical abilities of a great Category Manager is the capacity to change products’ and product feeds’ prices quickly and at the right moment to boost online sales. That’s why all pricing processes should be automated. If not AI-based product pricing, then at least having pricing solution with automated alerts on market changes, intelligent competitive data, and repricing suggestions, is a must for any modern retailer.

The best way to learn more about the automated price intelligence approach is to read our Agile Pricing™ book.

Performing Inventory Management, Product Matching and Automated Comparison

How much time do you spend on competitors’ products data entry and matching them with your product feed? The majority of category managers’ answers are “a lot.”

The main benefit of exact product matching is reliable data.

The reason for these Assortment Management answers, is not only the amount of products but the quality of data they provide a retailer with. Optimizing the product mix of any category in the store is a critical methodology for driving profit and volume to retailers.

That’s why the biggest challenge for category managers who wants to achieve tremendous results is to get comprehensive data they can rely upon.

That’s why it is essential for every Category Manager to create an easy process of collecting and matching correct inventory data, both its own and competitors’.

Automated or manual preparation of product feeds for matching? What’s your choice?

Historical data on a correctly matched assortment gives the retailer an ability to anticipate the next purchasing list for category, segment, and SKU performance across different retailers’ KPIs, driven by reliable data.

The combination of sophisticated assortment software and manager’s experience on what’s best for the needs of a particular category, category role and understanding of customer decision tree can provide the retailer with advanced inventory decisions. Optimizing the product mix of any category in the store is critical to driving profits and volume.

An efficient assortment automated solution can reduce the time to complete assortment projects and help the retailer follow the industry’s best assortment practices. No matter whether you do product matchings automatically or manually, it’s important to understand the fundamental decisions and requirements behind assortment decisions, based on correct assortment data.

Negotiations’ Time Saving

The usual reaction on this topic is “Negotiations are part of the daily process. However, how can we save time on them?” Such doubts can be forecasted: When you have only your eCommerce store sales volume, discussing of better conditions or prices is a time-consuming process.

On the other hand, it’s easier to build a retailer-supplier collaboration process when the first one has data backed evidence of more beneficial conditions of competitive retailers. How can they be built? By monitoring and comparing competitive prices, that’s how.

If one or several of your competitors have the best prices for products during the long term, the main reason is having a better supplier conditions. This knowledge can be a killer time-saving argument for the whole negotiation process.

At the same time, market intelligence can help not only to win supplier negotiations but also affect the category turnover and connect it with the business strategy as a whole and get the expected return on investment, with correct data usage.

The truly great category managers are those who are always looking for ways to save their time and attract the average customers.

If you read this article, you’re probably one of them: Keep going!

Source: Competera blog


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