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Effective category management–or managing categories as a strategic business unit–is a key contributor to retail success. At its core, it is about guaranteeing customer satisfaction while still achieving optimal profitability.

While it is true that effective category management involves defining the category and assessing purchase and spend, category managers also need to manage the real-time store insights of their categories and have high-quality insights into their customers’ behavior. Once they have achieved this, they can plan changes and improvements to the strategy and implement the plan to measure results.

While keeping track of all the facets of effective category management could seem overwhelming, there are tools to assist the content manager to affect a well-structured and sound category management plan.

Efficiently Organize Thousands of Products Into the Right Categories

Because Smart Merchandiser quickly and easily reorganizes your categories through automated business rules or manual drag and drop functionalities, digital merchandising teams are empowered to make informed and effective category management decisions by reviewing all the data they need for each product–with one click.

Smart Merchandiser enables teams to:

  • Consolidate monitoring, editing, inventory, and analytics in one powerful tool.
  • Visually manage catalogs with drag-and-drop product thumbnails into each category.
  • Cross reference products and categories in order to have a clear assortment map.
  • View sales and inventory updates for each product in real-time.

Countless clients have made the move to Smart Merchandiser, with no regrets, as is seen in the following case study:

Founded in 1967, JanSport has always been a leader in the pack and outdoor gear industry but struggled to get its online eCommerce store up and running effectively. Once the company made the decision to switch to Smart Merchandiser, it has never looked back.

Smart Merchandiser imported depictions of JanSport’s entire product catalog, providing a visual component to the eCommerce merchandising process. This included product attributes such as size, color, material, and other variables across product categories.

With Smart Merchandiser, the company’s visual depiction of the online storefront within the platform is closely tied to the live website which means the JanSport team can make changes to the layout with the click of a mouse using drop-down menus or drag-and-drop interfaces.

The Smart Merchandiser platform mirrors what the live site will look like with those changes in place. All about making things simpler and faster, Smart Merchandiser even allows the team to save a particular sequence for later use in recurring promotions.

Part of an effective category management solution is to always view your site through the eyes of the customer which is why customer insights are so important. When you know what your customers like, and what they want, you can plan your site for their ease of use.

Using collections or categories is a great way to lure your customers in for a purchase, but you should keep it clean and simple. Don’t overdo it. Rather focus on a few classic ideas such as seasonal, best seller, and sale categories.

category management strategy
The Smart merchandiser visual catalog management.

Optimization for Effective Category Management

Looking at product segments based on different attributes allows you to keep on top of important trends and more easily identify growth opportunities within your product categories. Attributes can include, but are not limited to:

  • Quality
  • Marketing claims
  • Innovative attributes
  • Price
  • Reliability
  • Size
  • Color

As your business grows, so too does your stock, and before you know it, you have hundreds or thousands of stock items to manage and market. Assessing each item in this catalog is time-consuming and chances are you will not assess each item to its full potential, or see cross-category synergies.

Smart Merchandiser’s online visual management allows you to see the storefront the way your customers do with product thumbnails, and easily sequence, add, remove or copy items.

You can move thumbnails around the web page layout using single or multiple drag-and-drop functionalities to reposition products and without the hassle of manual sequencing. Should you want to add single or multiple products to a category, Smart Merchandiser’s copy pad allows you to copy and paste the product(s) into various categories.

The efficiency of the Smart Merchandiser’s visual online management takes the pain out of managing your categories and allows you to visually plan your category strategies, as they would appear within your site. It takes the guesswork out of the process and maximizes potential sales.

An interesting use case has been attracting a lot of attention lately, namely when enterprises start to employ PIM (Product Information Management) systems. Merchandisers quickly find out that they will get a data dump of the catalog from PIM without any categorization as PIM only manages product data. In order to organize the data into the right taxonomy, they have to manually create categories and assign products into categories. Taxonomy needs to be flexible and adjustable to guide shoppers in their product discovery. This is where Smart Merchandiser shines. Products can be visually placed into categories and cross-referenced for performance. A match made in heaven!

ecommerce category management
Maximize sales with effective category management.

Improve Inventory in Each Product Category with Automation

Smart Merchandiser allows you to optimize your category pages through the integration of custom sequencing rules which allow you to combine multiple rules around conversion rate, sales, inventory, and more to ensure precise online merchandising.

In addition, Smart Merchandiser’s automated business rules allow you to schedule the removal of out-of-stock products.

Automation of your category management is strategic and should be viewed as such. While the idea of too much automation may concern your category managers, they should be encouraged to see the potential in this process.

Encourage your staff to think out of the box when it comes to effective category management, and to suggest value-adds and strategic moves going forward. Automation of your category management is one way to streamline productivity and enhance your customer-offering and all your staff should stand behind this.

Why Smart Merchandiser Is the Right Choice for Your Category Management Automation

Monitoring inventory, and analytics while still assessing purchase and spend, managing the real-time store insights on categories, and assessing customer high-quality insights is a full-time job. Smart Merchandiser takes the hard work out, providing an easy-to-use and smart solution for your effective category management automation.

Choosing to go with Smart Merchandiser will free up time for you to be able to focus on planning necessary changes and improvements to your strategy and implementing a plan to measure results. Contact Smart Merchandiser today to find out more.