There are many moving parts to effective category management. That's why many may view and experience it as complicated. However, there is also an opportunity here. Any complicated problem is solvable and especially if you have set rules or algorithms to help you. It's the same with category management. All of these moving parts come together to form a whole.
If we were to consider category management software on its own, these parts would include its different elements. Think planograms, assortment planning, clustering, floor planning, retail data and more.
In the context of this piece, we are focusing on our category management services, and software plays one part in helping us deliver quality to our clients. There are three other vital aspects, all of which we'll uncover.
More importantly, these elements are all interconnected. They are mutually dependent on each other. They form part of the formula that allows for fast, predictable impact. We cannot hope or expect to deliver high-quality category management services if there is a problem with any one of these aspects.
You get access to our talented people
The first element that allows us to deliver high-quality category management services is the talented people we employ.
At DotActiv, we follow a strict recruitment process, which ensures that we employ only the most qualified and talented people. How?
Firstly, we have dedicated headhunting resources whose job is to find the best talent on the market. After initially sourcing this talent, we take candidates through a rigorous interview process. It includes multiple interviews and psychometric assessments. As a registered psychometrist, our HR manager conducts these assessments and then analyses the results to understand the person-job fit along with the relevant recommendations.
While our hiring process is strict and intricate, there are good reasons for it being like that. The people we employ are an extension of our business and brand - they need to be the best talent out there because we have customers who expect the best results. And rightfully so.
We also couple our dedicated headhunting resources with partnerships with local universities. That means that when you purchase any of DotActv's category management services, you can rest assured that you're dealing with people with a sound educational background. They are already highly qualified before stepping into their role.
The fact that we have a dedicated training specialist and in-depth retail courses - all of which are continually updated - also helps us ensure they can deliver a quality category management service. Everyone goes through intensive training that includes months of practicals and presentations.
Once completed and passed, we know they are ready to deliver our category management services with aplomb.
You get access to our deep expertise
Along with access to talented people, when you choose DotActiv as a partner, you also get access to deep retail and category management expertise. What does that mean?
We have been operating under the DotActiv name since 2001. However, we can trace our roots back to 1991 when we started as an independent category management consultancy before our acquisition by Nielsen in 1992.
In 1997, we became the first company to establish a formalised and collaborative category management process between a retailer and supplier. The client who signed up at this time is still on our books to this day, which is a testament to the impact that we offer.
Here’s another example: in 2017, Clicks, which is a leader in the healthcare market and the largest retail pharmacy chain in South Africa, rated DotActiv as its best performing IT supplier for all four quarters.
Since then, we have achieved many milestones, releasing three category management software editions (excluding a free version), expanding our service offerings and launching a dedicated retail learning platform. In 2018, for example, we managed to expand our user base to over 60+ countries, and to date, we boast clients on six of the seven continents.
This global customer base has enabled us to form deep expertise on how to achieve category performance quickly and efficiently. We’re continuously exposed to all the types of retailers and suppliers to the point that if you need help to create a planogram for a specific category or create an assortment plan for your unique retail store, we’ll have likely had the experience before you approach us.
We can couple that again with the people who make up our Board of Directors and top management. Amongst them, we have decades of retail and category management experience.
All of this leads to the point that when you approach DotActiv, you’re not just getting powerful category management software or services. You’re also getting the expertise and experience. Without that experience, while you can still use our software, it wouldn’t be as impactful.
We use tried and tested methodologies to deliver our services
Even the best ideas backed by brilliant minds and dynamic technology turns chaotic if there is no defined methodology or process.
It's the same with category management. Without a tried and tested methodology, it's difficult, if not impossible, to offer real value. Fortunately, at DotActiv, we have a methodology that allows us to deliver our services to a high standard. It's regardless of if we work from the DotActiv office, work remotely or alongside you in your office.
We have written an extensive article on the process we follow to deliver our category management services. You can apply it to all of our services, be that Planogram Development, Assortment Optimization or Floor Space Optimization.
It is a process that includes four consultations.
The first consultation is known as Performance Objectives. As the name suggests, we confirm the performance objectives and needs of your category. It's also to allow us to understand what your category looks like so we have a base from which to begin.
The second consultation is the Preliminary Plan. The goal here is to stress test the proposed preliminary plan that we set up before the final output. We do go into detail in our article on how we deliver quality and convenience remotely here. It's a mutual discussion to confirm the blueprint that we'll follow to deliver the results you want. If anything doesn't make sense or if you want to make changes to the plan, you can request them.
In the third consultation, we deliver your plan. During this presentation-based consultation, not only do we go through it with you, but we also explain the rationale behind the final output. Doing so allows you to get a holistic view of the process we follow up to this consultation. We'll also drill down into all the pertinent information so that you can understand everything easily.
The final consultation is where we unpack the results. We refer to it as Performance Analysis. This consultation usually takes place anytime from the first month to four months after implementation. The timeline can depend on the category and the performance objectives that you want us to measure.
The above methodology we use allows us to bring clarity and simplicity to category management, which leads to consistent outputs that deliver results.
Our proprietary software underpins our services
As much as we have talented people, deep expertise and defined methodologies, it can all count for little if we don't include specialist software into the mix.
It is our proprietary all-in-one category management software that allows our consultants to deliver exceptional results. That's because our software considers the interdependent nature of category management.
For example, every planogram built within the DotActiv software uses data. Every category-based cluster we build uses data. Every floor plan we build uses data. It's the same for everything else that we do in the software. Everything delivered is data-driven.
It makes sense if you consider that without data, all you have are pretty pictures and guesswork. What’s more, anything we produce will not give you the results you need. But it's more than that.
Let's consider what happens once you purchase DotActiv’s software. This also applies to our services since we use our specialist software to deliver what you need.
There are data integration and data classification exercises that need to be completed initially. Only once finished can we deliver our services efficiently.
For example, we can conduct clustering exercises. We can begin assortment planning. We can start producing data-driven planograms and optimise any floor plans. Mind you, we don't advise that you complete a data-driven planogram before you set up your assortment plan. Or, to build out a floor plan before you understand your planograms.
This shows the interdependent nature of category management. You can't expect the results you want if you don't consider category management from a holistic point of view. Everything feeds into everything else.
With DotActiv, you get access to talented people with deep technical and industry expertise using proven methodologies and underpinned by powerful proprietary software. It’s a recipe that allows us to deliver a fast, predictable impact.
Interested in finding out more about our category management services and how we can deliver results for your business? You can book a complimentary custom exploratory consultation with us here or visit our online store.