Category tactics should be used to amplify the retailer’s mission and focus. They need to clearly communicate the “purpose” behind a promotion, a merchandising strategy, the product assortment, and the retailer’s value statement (one stop shop, value leader, local, etc). Retailers should use this strategy to convert casual shoppers into loyal evangelists. This is how you build real and lasting loyalty with your community.

Retailers are continually working hard to find ways to invite more shoppers into their stores. Perhaps the best, and most underutilized strategy, is to focus on category tactics that make shopping easier by grouping products around what customers need - their need state. For example, shoppers with a cold look for remedies to help them get better fast. In this example, cold and flu is their need state.

Category tactics are what retailers apply to their strategies that support category roles. The goal of creating tactics is to stimulate sales in a category. This can include how you merchandise a category, the product assortment, your pricing and promotion strategies, etc.

Here’s an illustration of how these tactics work and how to apply them. Super Bowl is a huge event for retailers. Competition leading up to the event is fierce with retailers fighting for every shopper’s dollar. Your goal as a retailer is to maximize every selling opportunity, which includes increasing shopper traffic in your store. The increase in shopper traffic equals increased sales.Here is an example of how tactics can support the event:Assortment.Make it easy for shoppers to get in and out quickly with all the items they need for the big day. •Price and promotion. Say, deep discounts on popular items (buns, condiments, sauces, etc.) in addition to special event promotions like BOGO’s, etc. •Merchandisingincreased focus items (burgers, beverages, chips, etc.) with incremental displays and a unique selection of complementary items not available at your competitors (prepared entrees, craft beers, grills, etc.).

Retailers should use different tactics with different categories. These tactics are all designed to encourage shoppers to take a specific action like purchase more products more frequently. They can also be used to build shopper loyalty when used correctly. Tactics communicate the retailer’s commitment to support the shopper’s needs and help them stand out in their market. Tactics can differ between categories, segments, brands, and even individual products. A retailer can use tactics to let consumers know they are a full-service, one-stop shop for all their grocery needs. They can also position themselves as the destination for unique items not available in the market. Brands should work closely with retailers to help develop and define specific tactics for their categories and for complementary categories. Effective category tactics when properly implemented can help retailers and brands maximize sales and improve shopper satisfaction.

Daniel Lohman, CPSA is an Organic and CPG Industry Strategic Advisor, certified at the highest level of category management proficiency: Certified Professional Strategic Advisor. He is the creator of the free course Turnkey Sales Story Strategies and the BRAND SECRETS AND STRATEGIES podcast, an audio natural products accelerator. Daniel is a trusted and respected member of the naturals community who assists companies giving them a sustainable competitive advantage helping them compete head-to-head with the most sophisticated big brands. His company, Category Management Solutions (CMS4CPG), provides innovative ideas, actionable insights and strategic solutions for companies interested in gaining a significant competitive advantage. His unique approach and expertise are designed for the small to medium size brands wanting to grow their business, build shopper base and expand brand shelf space. It includes strategies of the top national brands without all the added expense. Email Dan at