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Sophie Schwartz
Sophie Schwartz
Commerce Strategist

Category Management is no longer fancy. Let’s be honest…

Category Managers love the idea that their role represents, such as:

  • Building a new category strategy, rethinking the market with a fresh, new customer view, fantastic, but … 
  • Shaping new category projects, opening new opportunities for business, inspiring marketers, however … 
  • Leading innovative category activities, delivering new shopper experiences in stores, retailer and manufacturer category managers, together, hum…

Let’s tell the truth. Great vision, motivating shopper marketing projections, smart data insights, sure… but re-engineering a full category happens only a few times in their career, if they’re lucky.

The problems faced by Category Managers in businesses today are:

  • A painful, hazardous path to move from PowerPoint to a Shopping Experience reality, in the non-flexible, crowded context of brick-and-mortar stores;
  • Difficulty to finance, implement and test live category experiences in store;
  • A lack of time and resources to innovate shopper-facing category executions.

Digital-enabled commerce opens a full new set of capabilities  for Category Managers. With newly accessible Experience Management for Commerce, that includes Content and Commerce in a single unified platform, they now have the power to deliver their Category Vision to Shoppers. Digital makes it happen!

A New Digital Category Management Framework

category management new digital category framework

4 key digital category deliverables changing the game

    1. Designing a full category immersion for shoppers  
    2. Retailers (and Manufacturers) can now deliver and easily manage several
Category Identities
    1. at the same time. They translate their vision into immersive experiences for shoppers, with no physical limit in the number of categories. The concern about long loading time for users should no longer be a concern; it should no longer be a technology barrier. Equally, the capability to self-manage your
landing pages
    1. for each ecommerce category universe, without being a website coder, is here.

When you know that  first impressions are 94% design related  and long-lasting, it matters! (source: Conversion XL)

See Sports Experts Canada Retail website. Category Managers can now easily offer shoppers a customized experience per category:

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  1. Allowing shoppers to discover the offer using their own personalized decision trees

    Category Managers are used to being constrained to defining a single category decision tree, until now! We know that individual shoppers use different shopping decision paths. What’s more, they behave differently within a same category. In addition, online shoppers are no longer patient. Online shopping needs to be intuitive, quick and effective. The path to purchase shortens constantly. 

    A report reveals only 2.25 days across 11 retail categories.(source: Marketing Pilgrim)

    Category Managers can now design their offer allowing each shopper to choose their contextual, personal path. The winning approach is to create free navigation paths within the Search x Category x Filter trio, in any sequence, with constantly updated shopper wording, associated to any relevant content in your web assets.

    From category decision trees to contextual free navigation path online:

    category managers new digital category framework
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    In addition, new commerce-dedicated CMS technology allows Category Managers to:

    • Learn (from shoppers’ behaviors), choose and manage the taxonomy intelligence, 
    • Automatically update all editorials, videos and product catalogues,
    • Tailor, invest, prioritize and change any keywords, category structure and filters while ensuring robust data integrity.
  2. Offering live category journeys to shoppers 

    Brick and mortar stores layouts are not easy to change. The idea is not to replace physical constraints by new technology hurdles: no way! On digital channels, Category Managers and Marketers need to be able to manage category experiences without constraints.

    The new generation of Commerce Orchestration TM Platforms and CMS administration tools will allow digital Category Managers to manage the shopper experience on their own, adapt it between devices on shopper-facing visual reality across channels.

  3. Owning category performance optimization

    Category Managers and Marketers already spend most of their time crunching data inputs from all sources (internal sales and reports, business intelligence data, external studies, market share components, providers’ panels, shopper insights, just to name a few). Now, is it good news to say “let’s add digital clickstream and omni-channel data”? Not sure…

    60.9% of  Marketers say better integration of existing tools and improved processes for sharing data among various tools are the first activities that would allow their organization to make better use of data in support of marketing activities (source: Winterberry Group)
    Category Managers and Marketers using digital tools will be better equiped; they will get integrated insights. They will understand sales conversion pitfalls and winning points. They will also favor scenario building, testing alternative category visions online to make decisions on performance improvements. Digital is about measurements, facts and tracking. It prompts quick, factual learnings that can be expanded.

A significant benefit is that finding out the winning category visualization and organization online can be used to inspire successful category approaches in stores, at a faster pace and cheaper price than the usual test and learn methods on the shop floor only.


The new generation of Experience Management for Commerce  and Commerce OrchestrationTM solutions are changing the game. Category Managers and Merchandising Managers actually come back to the front of the scene in a winning relationship allying Category Management with Marketing.