Category management and captainship in retail. Case: Baby food in Finland.

No Thumbnail Available
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
School of Economics | Master's thesis
Information Systems Science
Degree programme
Purpose of the study: Purpose of this study is to observe supplier-retailer collaboration in fast moving consumer goods retail. Study focuses on efficient consumer response (ECR) framework and especially on its demand side practices. Study concentrates on the retailers store environment and the actions taken there through category management and category captainship practices. Aim of the study is especially to discover the actions and roles that suppliers can take as category captains and how these practices could be applied in retailers store environment. Methodology First, the study observes previous literature on ECR, category management and category captainship in retail. Aim of this is to discover the current best practices and key findings around the research subject. Based on these findings, an initial research framework is developed. Second, the study observes the characteristics of a research case which in this study is baby food category in Finnish retail. Based on its characteristics, the initial research framework is revised for conducting a research in the case environment. Empirical part of the study consists of interviews with six Finnish retailers operating in hypermarket size stores. Interviews are based on themes around category management in baby food as defined by the research frameworks. For the purposes of analysis, the findings from the interviews are further enhanced with questionnaire that all respondents fill out. Findings Key finding of the study is the need for objective, open and honest collaboration between retailers and suppliers in order to do successful category management. Most of the recommendations and observations made in previous literature are proofed to be true in the case in question. Some of the key actions in category management are found to be assortment, allocation of space and use of promotions. These are also the recommended measures for category captains to undertake. Challenges in category management, such as suppliers’ biased approach in giving recommendations, are observed in the case. Empirical research reveals also case-specific findings such as the need for suppliers’ involvement in the shelving of the products. Based on the observations from both the case and previous literature, the study summarizes its key findings into a revised research framework as well as theoretical and managerial implications that should apply both in the case in question as well as in other supplier-retailer work around category management.
category management, efficient consumer response, ECR, category captainship, retail
Other note