Category analysts work with internal teams of category management employees to coordinate efforts with merchandising departments and business partners. Basic daily responsibilities include assisting in negotiations with vendors, balancing and optimizing product selection, auditing inventory systems and distribution policies, and helping minimize costs. Performing these tasks effectively requires excellent communication with internal departments, partners, vendors, and customers to determine all parties' needs and coordinate a strong relationship among all parties.
The category analyst generally reports directly to a category manager, but they frequently work directly with vendor partners, promotional teams, and sales teams to execute projects such as displays and advertisements. It is also necessary to work with these teams to determine inventory flow plans for product distribution, seasonal inventory requirements, and specific location requirements. After planning and executing these strategies, the category analyst is required to analyze and evaluate the strengths and shortcomings of each initiative. Category analysts generally work indoors during regular business hours, but travel and teleconferencing to communicate with partners are extremely common.
A bachelor's degree in supply chain management, business, retail, or a related field is usually required for this position. Additionally, at least one year of experience in a related area is usually required as well. Basic abilities needed in this position include negotiation, analytical thinking, organizational, and planning skills. In most companies, knowledge of common stocking systems such as DPR, SAP, E3, or Retek are preferred.
Category Analyst Tasks
Perform studies for forecasting, pre/post-promotional analysis, and product selection or discontinuation.
Coordinate with the merchandising supervisor to develop schematics for assigned categories.
Design and draw planograms according to the retailer's expectations and requirements.
Analyze category consumer trends and market demographics in order to make recommendations for future marketing campaigns.