Category management has never been more important for retailers of food and consumables, but this disciplined approach to leveraging insights to forecast demand and develop strategies to drive total category and total store performance suffered a body blow this year.
The onset of COVID-19 led to unprecedented challenges for retailers and their trading partners and thwarted traditional approaches to category management. Retailers adjusted their promotional efforts, shopper insights-driven engagement strategies and basket-building tactics. The new realities of the pandemic meant months of hard work to develop sales and profit-building strategies and total store shopper solutions had to be adjusted and readjusted.
We’ve adjusted, too. This year’s Category Captains award program will continue to recognize overall excellence in innovative, profit-generating category management efforts that help retailers grow sales and profits while satisfying shoppers. However, the submission criteria have been tweaked to better reflect volatile marketplace realities and an overall operating environment. Those worthy of the distinction of Category Captain this year also demonstrated increased speed, agility, resourcefulness and responsiveness.
Accordingly, there’s a blend of familiar and new requirements in this year’s COVID-19 edition of the Category Captains Awards. For example, the following are some things to consider as you complete your submission:
What was the most important new shopper insight or innovation you brought to your retail customers since June of last year?
How did your organization pivot at the onset of the pandemic, how quickly did you do so, and what were the results?
What sort of new operational challenges did your organization overcome amid the COVID-19 outbreak to provide support to retailers and a nation in the midst of a national emergency?
How did the new insights or innovations that your company developed build total category volume?
How did your initiative promote connectivity between complementary store departments?
What problem did your initiative help consumers solve?
How did your initiative boost basket size, trips or overall store sales?
Were you able to leverage artificial intelligence to optimize assortments or pricing decisions?
Did your category program gain new accounts and expand existing ones?
How did your platform invigorate a dormant or declining category, or create a new one to address an unmet consumer need?
Did it leverage social media or mobile technologies in a new and creative way?
How did your platform address the unique needs or issues of your retail customers?
What are your retail partners saying about your category management efforts?