How to Impress During Category Reviews

By Joshua Weatherwax

7 min read

June 15, 2022

A category review can dramatically shift the future plans for a small CPG company. This means it’s vital to put your best foot forward when going into these reviews.

But, where do you start, and how do you make sure the retailer has confidence in your products? This can all be handled with two things: preparation and data.

Read on to learn more about category reviews, why they happen, and how you can impress retailers in your next review.

What Is a Category Review?

A category review is a meeting between a supplier and the retailer to go over reporting on the performance of a category. These meetings generally occur twice a year but may happen on a different schedule depending on the parties involved and their relationship. You may cover every category that your products are a part of, or they may be broken into separate reviews. You may also revue general business issues like changes in slotting fees or new initiatives the retailer is undertaking.

What Is the Purpose of a Category Review?

Category reviews allow retailers and suppliers to share information and strategically plan for the future. These meetings can uncover hidden gems, determine which products to cut, and help increase a supplier’s ownership of the shelf. It also helps build your relationship and ensures the partnership remains open and fruitful in the future.

There are two main reasons for category reviews to be scheduled. First, they may be preplanned meetings that occur bi-annually. These meetings go over the progress of products within the category. They help both parties make decisions about what product assortment to keep on shelves. Second, a supplier may choose to initiate the category review. This is to present retailers with some suggestions on how the category’s overall performance can be improved.

6 Top Tips to Impress During Category Reviews

Heading into a category review can be daunting, especially for SMB leaders who are just starting out. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to maximize your chances of impressing the retailer. Just remember, this meeting is between partners and your success means their success.

Here are the six best ways to ensure your next category review goes smoothly:

Bring Strong Data

One of the best ways to show a retailer you mean business is to show up with numbers that back your brand. Are you selling more products in a category than the competition? Maybe you deserve more shelf space. Is your sales velocity higher in one market than the competition? Maybe you should be in more stores in that market. With the right retail data analytics backing you, you can drive the narrative. This lets you turn the review into a showcase about how successful your brand is for the retailer.

Create a Review Deck

Just like creating a strong pitch deck for your first meeting, you should keep making powerful decks for category reviews. Take the time to create a powerful presentation that speaks to some of your best successes in recent days. Include graphs and any other visual aid that will hammer home the point and help make it easier for the retailer to digest. To make this process easier, Byzzer recently introduced the Stories tool. This AI-powered tool will pull pertinent data and assemble a presentation for you. In just a few moments, you can have 95% of your presentation done using accurate data.

Understand the Retailer’s Goals

Of course, the retailer wants to make sales, but they often have other motives as well. Maybe they’re looking to expand into healthier offerings or want to get more shoppers under 35 in their store. If you can highlight how your products will achieve these goals, they’re more likely to increase the presence of your products. The simplest way to understand their goals is to consistently build your relationship and stay in contact with your category manager. When your goals are aligned, success is more likely.

Identify Competitor Growth

These meetings are called category reviews and not brand reviews for a reason. You need to understand the overall small CPG landscape, the category trends, and how your competition fits into them. If you can highlight a competitor’s weakness and explain how your brand is better, you’re more likely to gain their market share. This is especially helpful in closing your share gap. If you have the opportunity to take some shelf space from a competitor, you should take the chance.

Understand Category Risks

As much as you’d love it to be true, it’s not all upside in your category. You shouldn’t run away from this information, though. Look into what risks exist in your category and try to brainstorm how to overcome these risks. You also need to understand the factors that influence the demand of consumer goods and how they are affecting your category. Then, present all this information to the retailer to show that you truly understand the category and are focused on long-term growth.

Make Store Visits

If you have the time, you really should get a first-person look at your retailer’s stores. Find some of the locations that are carrying your products and go on a field trip. Take note of where your products are located, how well they seem to be selling, and what the overall aisle looks like. If your products are mostly sold out but the competition is still there, share the story in the review. Sometimes just showing that you care enough to go to the store can show a retailer that you’re dedicated to growing with them.

Go Into Category Review with Confidence

It’s a whole lot easier going into a category review with confidence when accessing up-to-date and accurate data. That’s why it’s vital to understand how CPG data can help your business grow and dedicate a budget to investing in a good data platform.

With Byzzer’s reporting solutions, you can have all the data you need at your fingertips. Reach out to our team, so we can help you build a customized paid plan with Byzzer. You can have this data and much more available for any need that may come up. Request a demo or reach out to our sales team today!

Or, if you aren’t quite ready to invest in data, sign up for a free account with Byzzer today!

See your products in more carts.

Unlock free access

Byzzer Content Hub

How to Find Your Share Gap Opportunity

7 minute read

Unless you’ve created an entirely new category, no CPG company owns 100% of the market. This means you have a share gap...

Democratizing Wellness: Access to Health and Wellness

4 minute read

The health and wellness industry has become so ubiquitous that it’s no longer considered a category, merely a set of...

How to Successfully Launch New Products With Data

7 minute read

No product launch has ever gone entirely smoothly. But, that doesn’t mean it has to be so hard. Retail data...

Stay in the loop with industry insights.

We’ll send you the latest and greatest on Byzzer, CPG, retail, manufacturing, and more.