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Not Your Father's Category Manager

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 00:00

Category Management is undergoing a quiet revolution. Gone are the days when a category manager could trust in intuition and experience alone. The new generation is embracing Retail Science to make better price, promotion, merchandise and assortment decisions. Retail Science applies sophisticated data analysis to help better understand what customers want. Data sources include Point-of-Sale (POS), Transaction Log (TLOG), competitive pricing, panel, syndicated, weather, demographic, and location attributes. Data cleansing, quality assurance tests and outlier analysis are essential for measuring causal relationships. The result is a demand model that accounts for price elasticity, promotional lift, merchandising, seasonality, cannibalization, affinity, space, and assortment. Category managers use this demand model to evaluate and compare scenarios. For example, a supplier may offer a incentive to promote Cheerios. The category manager can evaluate the category profit accounting for vendor incentives, cannibalization, and affinity.  This analysis shows how cannibalization of private label erodes category margin. Even the impact on loyalty customers can be evaluated in terms of basket size and trip frequency by customer segment.

Are you satisfied with your gross margin and sales per square foot? If not, consider putting the customer first by adopting consumer-centric technologies for pricing.  In "Putting the customer first", Susan Boyme emphasizes how important it is to “evaluate price elasticity and tailor pricing across specific regions and individual stores.” Revionics is working with Insight-out-of-Chaos to taken customer centricity to the next level by identifying the best items to promote by customer segment. Loyalty data was analyzed in terms of basket profit and trip frequency. While the revenue and profit per basket of loyalty shoppers were found to twice that of non-loyalty shoppers, it was surprising to learn that loyalty shoppers as a whole vary widely in shopping frequency and basket profitability. It was evident from the analysis that there is a large opportunity to increase increase basket profitability and shopper frequency by targeting incentives to specific customer segments. At the same time retailers can build customer loyalty in their VIP shoppers through customer centric offers.

By Erik Osborn, Business Consultant at Revionics

Price optimization works best when the retailer is confident in their pricing strategy for their business and the product categories they carry.  For this reason, we chose to blog about the importance of defining category role when approaching any pricing initiative – whether your initiative is around everyday price optimization, promotion planning, and markdown optimization.

A Group Contribution from the Revionics Consulting Team

If any of us had a crystal ball, we would most likely be enjoying a relaxing life somewhere, as we would have foreseen the recent changes in our economy and been better prepared to weather the storm. But since most of us are not privileged to that mystical tool, let’s talk about a few things we should all have on our immediate radar and be planning for as we look to the coming months.

Integration---Tomorrow’s Solution Today

Tuesday, 30 March 2010 00:00

Revionics’ mission is to increase retailer profitability by enabling better management of price, promotion, markdown, inventory, assortment & space. Revionics is unique in that we offer an integrated solution that shares a common demand forecast across all of these functions. In this article, I answer the question, “Why is an integrated solution better than individual point solutions?”

The Retailer-Centric Supplier Portal

Tuesday, 23 March 2010 00:00

By:  Susan Boyme, Vice President of Marketing, Revionics, Inc.

As Revionics announces the release of Collaborate, our new supplier portal for retailers, it causes me to reflect on  the web-based trading exchanges, marketplaces, and other “one-to-many” and “many-to-many” models I have bumped into over the past 15 years.  Regardless of model, the most successful initiatives have one thing in common – the party sponsoring the initiative must be the buyer.  Supplier-driven models are well intentioned, but don’t get traction.

Ideas are like tomatoes. They start out small and green, but if the circumstances are right, they grow and ripen until they bear fruit. That is definitely the case for Revionics’ idea to provide retailers with One Integrated Forecast.

The idea was born years ago. At the time retailers had multiple contradictory forecasts: one forecast was used for financial planning; another for replenishment; another for workforce management. There was a store forecast for all categories and a category forecast for all stores---but the two did not match at the enterprise level. There were forecasts at daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual levels---when rolled up these didn’t match either. None of the various forecasts provided the accuracy necessary to make good business decisions. Retailers could not accurately or consistently predict their business. If a business is not predictable, then how can it be managed?

By: Ken Cline,  Application Consultant,  Revionics, Inc

I was recently reading Supermarket News, and came across this article that spoke to the state of the state within the grocery vertical. It speaks well to what it takes to succeed in today’s environment.

Food retailers are turning to analytical systems that can help them survive the harsh economy, according to SN’s latest technology survey.

Information is Power

Wednesday, 17 February 2010 00:00

By: Jeff Smith,  Founder & EVP Business Development,  Revionics, Inc.

In retail, there is a key piece of information that contains a lot of power, that piece of information is the price sensitivity of a given item in a given store. Obtaining that piece of information is a very difficult thing to do.  If it weren’t for seasonal effects, holidays, promotions, out of stock conditions, low unit movement and a variety of other challenges, it actually would not be too difficult to determine.  After all, it is simply a prediction of how much the unit sales will change given a change in price.

Private brands continue to gain foot hold

Monday, 15 February 2010 00:00

By: Mike Isom,  Managing Principal Consulting, Revionics, Inc

For the past 2 years, retailers’ private brands have been the topic of much discussion. In the failing economic conditions we are experiencing, many consumers look to private brands as a way to stretch their budget. Retailers have reacted by continuing to introduce additional offerings and manage favorable pricing positions that have also been one of very few bright spots in a mostly bleak sales and profit battle field.

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