Five challenges for category managers in 2022 and beyond

Date : 24 June 2022

Shoppers’ needs and expectations are evolving, and so are retailers as the market becomes more competitive. Here are some common challenges that category managers will face, with tips on how to meet them.

1. Retailer engagement: Get time with the retailer

A necessity during Covid-19, ongoing virtual contact is here to stay and although there are benefits around time management and shorter meetings. Face to face meetings have many other benefits especially with new contacts.

Category managers need to create ways to meet in person. Use the opportunity to visit stores together, implementing and collaborating out in the field. The benefits for the retailer of in person meeting should be clear or they will revert to virtual.

2. Understand the shopper beyond the category

Retailers have better access to their data and insight than ever before. Therefore less of a need for suppliers to support in provide data and report.

To continue to support the retailer, category managers need to contribute new and different perspective on the category; while retailers understand their shoppers. Suppliers can support with insight on the wide shopper behaviour outside the retailer.

3. Rebalanced insight: make yourself indispensable

Retailers have growing access to sophisticated data on shopping behaviour and sales dynamics. And they’re getting better at using it. It won’t be long before it influences individual category strategies and they rely less on suppliers for category-level insight.

Be clear on where you can add value in your collaboration with retailers. Show you can contribute something positive.

4. Collaborative partnerships

During covid we saw great collaboration with suppliers and retailers over the challenges it introduced.

Looking forward collaboration will need to rebalance from overcoming short term day to day challenges to strategic planning. Category managers will need to ensure collaboration is key component of every meeting.

5. Flexible strategies

The last couple of years has seen incredible changes across the globe.

Strategies and plans need to be reviewed often as circumstances change to ensure they are relevant. Category managers need to adapt to the changing world and ensure they include the changes in their plans, like the growth of the online channel.

What next?

IGD are here to support you as your progress through your category career. Find out more about our three category management workshops available.