Dan Sturman on category management in a world of constant change

January 19, 2021 | By Dan Sturman

Meet Dan Sturman:

Dan is a CPG Industry professional with Experience in Headquarter Support, Product Development, Category/Brand Strategies, Retailer Dedicated Sales Support, Account Management, Team Development, and Coaching. In his 10+ years with Nestle USA, he has worked closely with almost every major grocer and mass retailer in the US including Walmart, Target, Albertson’s/Safeway, Publix, HEB, and Meijer.

Dan’s passion lies in his leading and developing the future leaders in the CPG industry on how to think differently and always keep one eye focused on what the next big trend or consumer disruption in the industry will be. He also strives to consistently help retailers elevate their thinking above the day to day category management, and take action on national trends within the confines of their retail brand, and strategy. As a father of 2, he enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, is a self-proclaimed foodie, sports junkie, and travel aficionado.

What you will learn from this podcast:
• What next-generation shoppers are looking for on the supermarket and grocery store shelves. Dan advises on how category management should prepare for this change.

• How can category management professionals get better at predicting in a world of constant change? Dan sheds light on the shopper behavior during the Super Bowl. What happens if there are no games or the game happens at a different scheduled date and time? What alternative product categories will be impacted and need to be considered? How does this impact no social gathering and tailgating at the football game? What other "stay-at-home" products will be demanded instead? How does it impact food spoilage? Dan answers all of these questions.

• How companies prepare for key events, competition moves, and retail reaction. Hint: "war games" scenarios. Is there a way to see the impact of each scenario? As a side note, HIVERY Curate can allow users to easy model these scenarios in the AI engine to present the impact at category, SKU or brand levels or by distribution such as by cluster store or store-specific levels.

• Dan shares useful tactics and insights on how CPG manufactures and retailers can enhance shopper expectations and maintain retailer relationships. Dan talks through a fascinating story about how intelligence on shoppers can transform your sales. Make sure you listen to the "Target store and sales of multi-serve meals" story.

• How CPGs and retailers can address the "The Paradox of Choice" and why sometimes less is actually more.

• How data science can help with better predictions by looking at the relationship with seasonal events such as hurricane season and impact on category assortment.

• How forecasting is currently done. Generally, there are several different business groups involved. It all starts with the account team who are closest to the customer. They factor in key events such as promotions and allow other internal teams (i.e. demand planning and supply chain) to add their view. This can be a very intense and time consuming process but generally works well until an event that has not been planned occurs. Responding to change can be an extreme challenge. As a side note again, HIVERY Curate helps. Rapid scenario planning can be conducted to quickly inform new strategy and articulate it to all stakeholder groups.

• Dan finally covers what he believes the future of category management is. With the increase in online purchasing, Dan talks to us about the need to have an optimized omnichannel strategy. While shopper convenience (i.e. delivery, in-store pick-up, curbside pick-up) and choice are good, it leads to additional costs. Dan shares a few real examples (Walmart, Kroger) and discusses best practices.

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