Kroger Category Managers are facing new challenges with heightened market pressures, continued COVID-related impacts, supply chain restraints, etc. making it increasingly important to understand these challenges and work strategically to help solve their problems before your next meeting (not just your own).

First, let’s understand some of the macro challenges Kroger is facing today to understand where to meet your Kroger Category Managers.

  1. Complexity growth paradox – oftentimes growth can be stifled as retailers spend more and more time solving for complexity.
  2. Continued systemic pressure from the E2E supply chain and other industry pressures.
  3. Competition is heating up in the race to frictionless omnichannel shopping as other retailers and disruptive tech companies work to meet consumer preferences/demands.
  4. Consumer behavior is getting an overhaul with new generations, new habits, and new preferences. Many of which are heavily influenced by COVID and are here to stay. It’s imperative to shift marketing strategies and advertising investments to meet consumers.

Work to Help Solve Your Kroger Category Manager’s Problems by Asking Yourself These 4 Questions

Before going into a meeting with your Kroger Category Manager, take a moment to look up from the meticulously created deck you have representing your brand strategy to ask yourself these questions.

 1. Is this my problem, their problem, or (hopefully) a shared problem?

Category Managers are the CEOs of their categories – they experience problems and also recognize opportunities for growth. As a brand, you can help to relieve the problems of the Category Managers with proactive strategies and insights category. Play the category advisor role. We call this selling from the lens of the retailer or being category focused versus solely focused on your brand.

2. Am I creating capacity with this proposed solution?

Capacity is a big concern at Kroger right now. As a brand partner, Harvest Group is always working to create capacity. Don’t be afraid to ask your Category Manager, “What can we help solve for you that would look like a capacity relief?” Solve problems don’t bring them.

3. Does this drive overall market growth for Kroger?

Market share is the #1 priority for Kroger Category Managers right now. Understand brand opportunities and present them as an opportunity to grow share.

4. Is this aligned with the strategies communicated by Kroger?

Kroger’s initiatives include: winning with fresh, accelerating with Digital, investing in the in-store experience, and driving profit centers like 84.51° as alternative profit streams to name a few. Do you understand the category strategy and have a recommendation that lines up with the macro strategy? I.E. winning with innovation. This can be extremely helpful to your Category Manager.

The Harvest Group Approach

Our approach in solving for these questions typically aligns with these four strategies.

  1. Simplify the process to alleviate capacity, eliminate friction, and align strategies.
  2. Solve problems by utilizing your resources effectively.
  3. Serve with E2E excellence in service of the customer.
  4. Speed to action – execute quickly and adjust accordingly.

Taking all of this into consideration when preparing for your next communication with your Kroger Category Manager will make a world of difference. As a brand partner, here are some of the ways Harvest Group works to simplify this process for our clients:

  • Matching resources with the strategy and goals of the retailer.
  • Relevant and timely communication: It’s a hard time to communicate with Category Management and Directors. The information you’re communicating must be data-driven, tell a story, and solve a problem for them.
  • Ready-for-action insights: Kroger has great data resources to help you answer questions and solve problems from a category level. Provide thought-provoking strategies based on your brand/category’s data story to your Category Management.

We would be happy to discuss our capabilities as a brand partner at Kroger with you. If you’re interested in learning more, fill out our Contact Us form or shoot us an email at hello@harvestgroup.com

Related Reading: Harvest Group’s Kroger Q3 Earnings Report Recap

Nick Spicher

Author Nick Spicher

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