Driving Category Management

Published in CSP Daily News

New General Mills website seeks to help retailers with day-to-day techniques and idea

By  Linda Abu-Shalback Zid, Senior Editor

MINNEAPOLIS -- General Mills has launched a new website, focused on category management for convenience stores.

Drew Helmey, associate channel manager, General Mills, told CSP Daily News that www.generalmillsconvenience.com focuses on how to "really empower more customers to leverage category-management techniques."

He said that General Mills Convenience "really hangs its hat" on category management, and adds that a lot of people see it as a buzzword or complicated quantitative techniques.

"Really, it's this unbiased look at how products are performing in a category, and then treating those categories like a business," he said. "Through a lot of our customer interactions, we learned that there was this need out there to help bring category management to the forefront."

The site, which is free to use and open to the public, includes:

  • Tutorial videos that offer a step-by-step overview of category management, including: What is category management? What products should I stock? Where should the products go? Helmey said the company plans to add new videos every month to two months in the hopes that customers will use the site as a regular resource.
  • Plan-o-grams to help retailers optimize breakfast on the go, salty and cookie cracker categories--based on region. Regions are broken down into California, Great Lakes, Mid-South, Northeast, Plains, South Central, Southeast, Total U.S. and West.
  • Rank reports reflecting not only SymphonyIRI sales data, but also competitive market trends, category trends, segment trends and brand trends. Customers can even request a custom rank report, using their own SKU-level data, which can be delivered to them within six weeks. The report allows them to look at products they have on their shelf, how they track in their region and if they should look at new products. "They get an overall sense of what kind of moves they can make to optimize their category to make sure they're getting the most of their shelf space," Helmey said. Convenience-store retailers that do not have product-level sales data can also request state or region reports to get trend information closer to their own market.
  • The site also gives convenience-store retailers and distributors access to new product information and downloadable images that can be used in point of sale and other marketing or merchandising materials.

General Mills, Minneapolis, is a leading food company, operating in more than 100 countries. Its consumer brands include Cheerios, Fiber One, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant and Old El Paso.