Category Management Program Packed With Info
John Guarnieri, Albert Guarnieri, and co-chair of the AWMA Research and Education Committee, got things started at the value-added, education session: “The Future of Center Store Category Development for the Convenience Channel” on Wednesday afternoon.
© 2012 Exposuresltd.com
A full room of both distributors and manufacturers benefitted from the Wednesday afternoon category management education session.
© 2012 Exposuresltd.com
A special program for buyers, category managers, marketing, merchandising, operations and purchasing executives Wednesday afternoon, February 15, 2012, provided insight into the importance of convenience distributors committing themselves to improving their category management strategies for themselves and their retailer customers.
Ben Wynkoop, director of visual merchandising and category planning at 7-Eleven, emphasized the importance of developing effective category management programs that are tailored to individual stores, based on the effective use of data to determine local customer needs and desires.
“It’s not about just having the right assortment, one size fits all for every single store,” he said. “It’s about having the right assortment in the right store” that is key to success. “The generic, average approach of one-size-fits-all no longer works.”
Center store, Wynkoop said, is the place to start with such a program, but stressed that 7-Eleven is applying category management to all sections of the store. “It’s about having the right data, the right processes and the right tools to help our people make the right decision. It’s about picking winners more often,” he said.
Wynkoop emphasized the importance of distributors developing category management strategies given the competitive changes that are taking place in the marketplace, pointing out that large drug store chains and mass merchandisers are implementing strategies to capitalize on convenience sales.
“Merchants need to stay ahead of the consumers’ pace of change,” he cautioned. “You have to anticipate consumers’ needs at a faster pace than ever. You need to see how the consumer is changing and understand why. They are time pressed, and some areas are more financially strained than others. Tailor your assortment. Do it with precision, not on a mass approach.”
Stressing the importance of developing qualified category management professionals to help execute such strategies, Wynkoop urged distributors to take advantage of services offered by the Category Management Association (CMA), which sponsored the program.
Dan Strunk, chairman of CMA’s certification board, detailed the organization’s system for certifying category management executives and outlined the importance of companies encouraging category management personnel to become certified. He said CMA will help distributors who are members establish effective programs.
“Today’s program was very helpful,” commented Dewey Wright, a buyer for Doyle’s Wholesale, Coeur d’Alene, ID. “That is something that every company needs to be working on.”
“That woke me up a little bit,” said Reed Barnofsky, a buyer at Mountain-Service Distributors, S. Fallsburg, NY. “When you get caught up in buying every day, you want to get so much done that you are not thinking about the consumer, shelf space, and the most effective way to manage categories. And the certification program sounds very good. I’m for that.”