business news in context, analysis with attitude

Business 2.0 defines category management as a “bizarre and controversial place in which the nation's biggest retailers ask one supplier in a category to figure out how best to stock their shelves.”

While “category management is now standard practice at nearly every U.S. supermarket, convenience store, mass merchant, and drug chain,” the magazine reports, some observers are beginning to question the practice.

“In their view, category management is retail's Faustian bargain: Lured by the savings and convenience of getting manufacturers to mind the store, retailers have ceded not only responsibility for their shelves but also any hope of differentiating themselves.”
KC's View:

This article essentially argues that the pursuit of efficiency has corrupted the shopping experience to the point where it is hard to find a store that offers anything other than prices that are low, lower, lowest and lower still.

Sure, there are exceptions. But one must wonder whether this tendency has bled the originality and innovation out of a business that can be, at its best, marvelously creative.

We’ve always believed that great retailing can be an art, not a science. But great art can be more and more difficult to find.

Great piece in Business 2.0, and well worth reading.