Single Store Owner

JAN-FEB 2016

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44 / Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner / JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 FROM THE EXPERTS strategic approach for your c-store? It starts with the foundations — creating a strategy for your store that results in guidelines and principles from which you and your store staff make all decisions for winning shopper solutions. SSO Sue Nicholls is founder and president of Category Management Knowledge Group (CMKG), a 13-year- old business based in Calgary, Canada. She is a speaker and consultant, working with business part- ners to bring category management training solutions to different areas of retailing like the convenience channel. "Category Management in Your C-Store/ Small Store" is CMKG's newest training program, launched in September 2015 and co-developed with b2b Solutions LLC. Editor's note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author's and do not necessarily refect the views of Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner. target the shopper groups that are most loyal and the heaviest buyers in your store (the ones who spend the most money). Once your target shopper is defined, it's easier to identify your targeted competi- tion — based on who has the same target shopper as you do. Ultimately, you need to satisfy your target shopper's needs better than your competition does. As part of your store strategy, you need to define your categories, and then segment the categories based on what is known about the shopper. Finally, you assign each of your categories a role based on the importance of the category to your target shopper. Not all categories are created equal and some have a much bigger importance for your store. There's some work involved in developing your store strategy, but it will help you proactively create winning plans for your c-store. STEP 2: UNDERSTAND THE CATEGORY MANAGEMENT PROCESS The next step is to use category management as a basis to move to a more strategic and aligned approach for your store. Category management is not as intimidating as it may seem. Items are managed in a product category as a strategic business unit. Each category has its own strategies, goals and tactics, including product as- sortment, placement, pricing and promotion that feed into your total store strategies and goals. It's like having a mini-business plan for each of your most important categories that all align to your overall store strategies. Here are the four steps in the category manage- ment process: • Retailer Strategy: Where you define the "rules" or "principles" for the way that your store(s) operate. This is what we covered in Step 1 on the prior page. • Develop Category Plans: Where you analyze your key categories and develop a plan for them that align to your overall strategies. • Implement the Plan: Where you execute the plan in your store, including communicating the plan to your staff and suppliers. • Review Category Performance: Where you regularly ensure that your targets and objectives are being met. Following all four of these steps is required as part of a continuous process that will help you make fact-based decisions in your categories, ultimately building sales and profit for your store. Ready to get started on moving to a more Ready to get started with a more strategic approach for your convenience store? "Category Management in Your C-Store/Small Store" is a real-world training program developed by experts in the convenience store business (b2b Solutions LLC) and in category management (Cat- egory Management Knowledge Group). This online program begins with an overview of retailer strategy and category manage- ment, with a focus on c-stores. Then, it delves into what you need to do as a c-store owner to strategically set up your business through category roles and strategies assignments, under- standing the data sources you have access to, analyzing your categories (including product assortment, place- ment, pricing and promotion) and developing a category plan. At the end of the program, you will have an ac- tion plan ready to implement in your store. This online program targets c-store owners and small chains who want to make more strategic choices for their stores and helps them compete in today's competitive market. For more details about the program, visit www.cmkg.org/u/Category- Management-in-C-Stores.aspx.

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