Not so long ago, Category Captainship (the opportunity for a manufacturer to drive a retailer’s category) was a costly activity reserved to the happy few. Because of the resources it required on both sides, very few manufacturers were able to undertake them, and even few retailers were able to manage them.
Today, progress in Big Data is setting up a new deal.
In the first stage of a Category Captainship project, the main resources required to kick off the project and give it a meaningful direction were Data, Skills and of course People. Data are used to understand the category performances and the shopper behaviors that drive these performances. The skills are the analytical talents required to make some sense out of the collected data to extract the opportunities each category contains. People, of course, include the retailer’s Category Manager, its Data Team, as well as the Manufacturer’s Category Development Team, Insights Team and Key Account Team, who jointly drive the Project.
In the 2nd stage of the Captainship, even more talents were required to translate these opportunities into Activity Plans (range, distribution, price, promotion, displays) that will positively impact Shoppers Behaviors on the whole category.
In the 3rd stage, just before the execution and monitoring of the Category Plan, it is also not rare - though not always necessary - that the retailer and manufacturer agree on specific new assets.
Then the 4th stage requires constant monitoring, iterations between retailer and manufacturer to adjust and fine tune the Category Plan.
Beyond the potential costs of assets, the main challenge of a Category Captainship - for both retailer and supplier - are time and skills. Both are often lacking - or assigned to other projects - on both sides.
Some of these challenges are:
Consequently, only major players have been able so far to run such projects.
And this is a shame in the sense that a Category Captainship is maybe the best collaboration opportunity there is! Manufacturers can share about their deep understanding and expertise in a category, its consumers, trends, as well as its industrial and R&D know-how. And of course, present their brand strategy, new items, communication planning and brand messages they want to communicate to shoppers.
Technology has not solved all the challenges, but it eased quite a few:
It is an important paradigm shift: the whole crunching and analytical part of Category Captainship projects can now be easily managed and automated!
Category Captain Ships can now be viewed under a completely new light. Such projects still require planning and communication abilities - and definitely some vibrant Merchant Spirit ! - but with less resources.
Here are some of the ingredients that will make your next Category Captainship a success:
When we help Clients on Category Captainship projects, we like these tools
Collaborative Project Management: Trello
Space Planning: We like IWD and OpenCatman for their simplicity and very affordable price
Category & Shopper Management: Ariane from Hypertrade Of Course!
Happy future Captainships !
Do you need help or advice on how to plan and execute your future Category Captainship Projects?
Hypertrade is a retail tech company in Category Management and Shopper Behaviors Analytics. Manufacturers use our platform to manage their multi-retailer data sets and to automate their category management and sales analytics. Retailers use our platform to improve their Commercial offering, collaborate with their suppliers and Engage their Shoppers. Building on Sales, POS & Loyalty data, some of the things we fully automate are:
• Brand& Category Score card
• Brand automatic Diagnostics
• Range Optimization
• Promotion Planning & Forecasting
• Shoppers baskets analysis