Do This; Don’t Do That

Category management can be a marathon. So run a mile in these retailers’ shoes. What has worked for them? And what hasn’t?
do this; don't do that

Regardless of what else may be in their baskets, your customers buy chocolate.

There are some other habits you’re likely to see. Patrons often buy a newspaper when they pick up lottery tickets. They purchase bottled water and carbonated soft drinks together. And when they buy beer, it’s usually between 3 and 11 p.m., so put a six-pack on the counter to remind them.

Oh, and by the way, when they’re at the store for an alcohol beverage, they’re usually exiting with beer only, but if there’s something else in their hand it’s usually associated with, ahem, family planning.

Who’s telling us all of this? Well, you.

So while the truism that no stores are exactly alike certainly holds, some factors are static: gas prices, the economy, major consumer trends, the weather, the season and available products. To be sure, while there is no magic bullet when it comes to managing the categories in your stores, learning from others’ feats and failures is a good place to start.

We’ve collected a series of day-in-the-life stories from category managers and operators across the country, each with valuable tips that worked for them, and a few that did not.

See if you can put any of these lessons into action for yourself or, at the very least, avoid making the same mistakes.

Table of Contents

Power Mart: Know Your Limits

Rotten Robbie: Game Management

Maverik Stores: Seize the Season

Dash In: Snack Attack

Lyons Filling Station: Food-Prep Science