Customer-Centricity is at the Core of Retail Category Management Today


Ron Margulis 
RAM Communications
(o) 1.908.272.3930

CHICAGO March 16, 2021 – Improved execution of category tactics, which includes pricing, promotions and merchandising, is the topmost skill for succeeding in retail category management, with nine in 10 companies citing it as “important” or “very important.” The surge in e-commerce has thoroughly tested category managers, with most suggesting it is “challenging” or “very challenging.” Transparency is critical for retailer-supplier collaboration, with most in the industry saying it is more important today than five years ago. Covid-19 has tested trading partner relationships, but a large majority of retailers believe that technology platforms can help overcome collaboration challenges. 

These are important findings from a new study by Coresight Research and Precima, a NielsenIQ Company, that explores the future of retail category management with a focus on grocery and drug retail. The report, titled How Category Management Has Changed Forever, examines the key skills necessary for success, challenges facing trading partners and the impact of Covid-19 on collaboration. 

“Our latest research shows that with the right support, retailers believe in their capabilities to automate key category management decisions and drive growth with the effective use of data. It also shows the importance of transparency and collaboration with vendors through a common platform for data and analytics,” said Brian Ross, president of Precima, a NielsenIQ Company.

Based on the survey analysis, there are several key opportunities for retailers to positively impact category management effectiveness:     

  • Effectively leverage advanced technologies. The top three challenges for retailers identified in the survey—e-commerce gaining market share, data analysis requirements due to data overload and omnichannel complexity—are rooted in retailers’ inability to interpret and unify customer data across channels. Leveraging advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can help retailers in better interpretation of data.
  • Actionable insights are non-negotiable. Retailers can improve their execution efforts if the insights obtained from analyzing large data sets are actionable. There is a need for the unification of data that can help both retailers and manufacturers effectively execute long-term plans through more accurate actionable. Access to actionable insights help retail category managers offer a more personalized experience to shoppers through targeted promotions and improved planning efficiency. 
  • Transparency in collaboration with suppliers can solve concerns around data. There are several underlying factors that can make data interpretation and analysis highly cumbersome. With a joint approach, trading partners increase the likelihood of correctly interpreting consumer and market trends and achieving their goals. 

“To succeed, retail category managers must anticipate future trends. As has been clearly proven during the last year, these trends have repercussions for the product category, the store as a whole and the entire supply chain. The How Category Management Has Changed Forever report reveals how retailers can improve category strategy and tactics by more thoroughly analyzing data and then acting on the results,” noted Ken Fenyo, President of Research and Advisory, Coresight Research. 

The research report is based on the analysis of data from an online survey of 110 grocery/CPG retailers and suppliers conducted in December 2020 and 104 respondents surveyed in March 2020. Respondents were selected based on the following criteria:

  • Based in France, Germany, the UK and the US
  • Positions focus on brick-and-mortar, e-commerce and business-to-business retail.     
  • Holding senior positions (owners, C-suite, VP/EVP, directors, senior managers).
  • Responsible for operations management, merchandising, customer insights and analytics, logistics and supply chain, product sourcing, sales and marketing. 
  • Holding roles with significant strategic decision-making responsibilities. 

Note to editors: The full report is available here

About Coresight Research 
Coresight Research is a research and advisory firm specializing in retail and technology. Established in 2018 by leading global retail analyst Deborah Weinswig, the firm is headquartered in New York, with offices in London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Mangalore (India). The firm provides data-driven analysis and strategic advisory to 

clients including retailers, brands, enterprise technology companies, accelerators and more. In addition to being renowned for its breadth and depth of research, Coresight Research is known for its expertise in the China market, helping clients with market entry and cross-border e-commerce strategies. Coresight Research is also known for its Innovator Intelligence platform, consisting of a vast network of technology entrepreneurs that it actively cultivates through events, mentorship, and regularly updated report coverage. For more information, visit

About Precima® 
Precima®, a NielsenIQ company, is a global retail strategy and analytics firm that provides tailored, data-driven, cloud-based solutions to drive sales, boost profitability, and build customer loyalty. Leveraging deep analytics and AI/ML expertise, Precima helps organizations improve their competitive position across all facets of planning and operations from pricing optimization, promotional planning, assortment optimization, targeted marketing, and supplier collaboration. For more information: