Why should you implement Cat Man into your business ?
Cat Man is ideally suited to maximising sales and profitability for both retailer & supplier while ensuring the customer/shopper has a better shopping experience. This can be achieved by following the Category Management process i.e. the 8 step process
It’s main purpose is to satisfy more shoppers at the point of purchase this results in increased sales and profit for the participants of the process i.e. retailer and supplier.
So you may ask why don’t all businesses implement Category Management??
Because not all believe that it works, and many find it difficult to implement as they find there are barriers to implementing it. But this doesn’t need to be the case.
This process as described on my blog CatMan 2.0 has indeed evolved and is only really successful nowadays if it becomes ‘embedded’ in a company’s makeup, the reason been it needs to be supported at all levels of the organisation to be successful and not just the marketing department
Let me explain;
Category Management at its core is ‘consumer and shopper focused’ you start with asking what the consumer and shoppers needs are and then go about building a strategy to satisfy these needs but in a profitable way.
With the end result of improving the shoppers experience at the point of purchase which leads to increased sales as they say “a happy customer = a happy retailer”. But this is not the only reason to embed the process…
Category Management is consumer centric so if a business is truly customer focused it needs to be at all levels of the business not just the customer facing parts, the cat man process provides the structure for this to happen and if embedded it provides the structure to keep people focused on whats important, their customers!
In order to achieve this there will be many different areas that are managed by different departments within an organisation that are affected;
- Finance/Buying > Right Range, right price, right portfolio to meet our customers needs
- Distribution/Supply > Is the range always available for our customers and in the right places?
- Marketing, Communication, PR > Are we communicating the benefits of our products and listening to our customers feedback?
- Implementation, Field sales, key accounts > Do we implement our strategy properly in the field, uncompromised by descending views?
They all have a role in ensuring a Cat Man strategy is implemented and indeed understood!
Without ‘buy in’ from these areas it becomes very difficult to gain the full benefit from the process, it may also lead to individuals undermining the process as they don’t fully support it, but with ‘buy in’ the success is guaranteed because the focus always remains on the customer.
Breaking the barriers to implement
With regard to “how can this be achieved without causing conflict?” the answer is simple; remain consumer/shopper focused, start with explaining that the purpose is ‘to better understand our customers needs’ and we are building a strategy around those needs. I would find it hard to believe that any individual disagrees with that approach and if they do you need to understand which part they don’t agree with and why?
Ask them “when was the last time you walked in your customers shoes?”, “do you really understand what your customer sees?” After all we have many competitors don’t we, why do you think we are better than our competitors?
By truly understanding your customers and more importantly, how they see you! You will become closer to them, something companies like Apple do very well, focused on their customers and not their competitors activities.
I have seen so many examples of companies who don’t understand their own customers and then wondering why their share is dropping or sales are lagging.
Anyway that’s my view hope you agree…..