Putting the Shopper First: Category Management Reinvented to Include Shopper Insights

Filed Under: Shopper, CPG



The category segment is the primary platform from which CPG brand owners interact with retailers, and Category Management provides the language, process framework, and metrics for communicating all strategic and tactical recommendations to retailers. 

Much like consumer research or brand strategy, category management is a fundamental discipline. An initial process and flow was established in the 1990s and has successfully provided solutions for pricing, promotion, assortment, and shelf merchandising. The process did lay out a clear plan for category assessment via behavior – who, what, where, and how is the category bought.

Little focus, however, was given to why a specific behavior occurred. 

Fast forward to today, the Category Management Association has recognized this deficiency and added the concept and process for developing shopper insights. This is the “why” driving or preventing shopper actions along the path to purchase; referred to as CatMan 2.0.

With the updated CatMan 2.0 process, Category Management now puts the shopper first with the goal of developing a comprehensive plan that better meets shoppers’ needs and provides stronger business results for retailers and manufacturers. As a result, it is not about any single step in the process such as creating a category decision tree or a superior planogram, rather it is about developing a comprehensive plan based on facts, insights, sound strategies and proven tactical models. 

Copyright permission granted by Category Management Association and Shopper Insights Management Association

We are happy to see that the Category Management Association has embraced CatMan 2.0. We at C+R Research can’t agree more — in order to illuminate the understanding of shoppers and to be able to draw deep insights, we need to marry the what and the why together and use multiple tools and approaches to get the complete, holistic picture. 

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