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21.11.2023
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The Best Software & Tools for an E-commerce Category Manager

A category manager is one of the key roles in e-commerce, as category managers are responsible for the successful sales of a specific group of products. The scope of their tasks is quite broad, ranging from managing the assortment to improving online merchandising. A category manager must oversee many processes and react quickly to market changes.

How can category managers minimize manual work, reduce the risk of errors, and increase work efficiency? By turning to automation tools and big data for assistance.

In this article, we’ve collected the best software and tools for category managers to streamline their work and make smart tactical and strategic moves.

Contents:

Best Tools for a Category Manager

Assortment Optimization Software

8 Popular Price Monitoring Software Tools for a Category Manager

Open-to-Buy Plan

Promotion Planning Software

Retail Analytics Software

Best Tools for a Category Manager

The software landscape for category management is quite diverse. To make things easier, we’ve grouped these tools into various categories. In this article, we’ll explore software for:

  • Assortment analysis and planning
  • Competitor price monitoring
  • Inventory control
  • Promotion planning
  • Trend analysis
  • Retail analytics

Assortment Optimization Software

Assortment analysis and planning is an ongoing process that has a big impact on sales, profits, and customer satisfaction.

Software for optimizing assortments offers a list of products to include in the assortment based on market analysis, historical sales data, seasonality, demand fluctuations, etc. With assortment optimization software, category managers can determine the width and depth of the assortment, meaning they can shape it according to product types and the number of SKUs in each category that align with customer expectations and demand.

Here are some of the best retail assortment management programs:

  • Analyse2
  • JustEnough Assortment Planning
  • First Insight
  • Aptos Merchandise
  • Lifecycle Management
  • Oracle Retail Assortment
  • Item Planning

8 Popular Price Monitoring Software Tools for a Category Manager

By using modern software solutions for ongoing competitive price monitoring, category managers can stay informed and make timely adjustments to their prices in response to market requirements and competitive strategies.

Here is a list of popular price monitoring platforms with high ratings on G2 Crowd and Capterra:

Pricer24

Pricer24 is an analytical service for monitoring competitors’ prices and analyzing the market assortment. Pricer24 allows online retailers to track competitor data, including:

  • Current product prices
  • Price changes
  • Stock availability statuses
  • Changes in stock availability
  • Number of product reviews
  • Product promotions, etc.

The system offers reports at both the macro and micro levels for thorough market insights and is highly customizable to meet unique requirements. With Pricer24, a category manager can analyze the market situation, trends, and structural changes in a category and identify reasons for sales drops, competitors’ USPs, market gaps, and growth opportunities. It can also detect competitors violating MAP pricing thanks to its MSRP/MAP monitoring software for e-commerce.

Additionally, Pricer24 has a dynamic pricing tool for automatic product repricing based on pre-configured rules depending on competitors’ prices and other variables.

The tool efficiently manages large volumes of data and visualizes it in user-friendly tables, charts, and diagrams, which is perhaps one of its most significant features. Pricer24 allows for the configuration of multifunctional dashboards to display key information, making complex daily analysis simple and easily accessible.

Minderest

Minderest is a pricing analysis tool for monitoring prices, assortments, and promo campaigns of any retailer, manufacturer, online store, Google Shopping, and marketplaces such as Amazon. Information can be shared with team members through customizable reports that provide various metrics and benchmarks.

Users can conveniently access both the desktop version of Minderest and a mobile application, with data synchronization and automatic updates. Additionally, Minderest offers seamless API integration with databases, business analytics systems, ERP systems, and more.

Netrivals

When customers visit a website and don’t find a product in stock, they are likely to place an order with a competitor. Netrivals product availability monitoring software helps prevent such situations. 

Netrivals analyzes product availability on various websites and shows how the competitive landscape has changed over a specific period. This enables a swift response to situations, stock control, timely replenishments, and a consistent presence on the main online shopping platforms. 

Netrivals also offers a separate module for analyzing positioning and price changes for products on Amazon, providing a comprehensive category view and considering various USPs, such as availability and delivery cost, to adjust strategies and ensure products consistently appear on the first page of search results.

Intelligence Node

Intelligence Node is a service for in-depth assortment analysis, inventory monitoring, price tracking, product presence, promotions, and special offers in retail. It enables planning and optimizing of assortments according to an online store’s current situation and market positions. Category managers can use this program to:

  • Adjust assortments based on competitors’ sales data
  • Analyze a product’s lifecycle and increase its SKU value
  • Control inventory levels and quickly redistribute inventory among partners if necessary
  • Optimize stock and ensure product availability
  • Reduce warehouse storage costs through effective inventory management and assortment planning

With the help of Intelligence Node, you can stay current with your assortment and offer customers the products they really need by taking into account changes in competitors’ catalogs, market trends, and demand fluctuations.

Dealavo

Dealavo helps with assortment planning for both physical stores and virtual shelves. It collects data about competitors, including their prices, assortment, and online presence, and analyzes this data according to manager-set criteria, generating detailed reports for adjusting and upgrading assortment strategies. Thanks to Dealavo, category managers will always know which products to add to their catalog, what alternatives other market players offer, how competitors’ prices have changed, and if the store is facing inventory issues.

P2S

P2S combines price monitoring, trend tracking, historical pricing data from various market players, price analytics, assortment formation, and a full analytical overview of the market situation. It is suitable for online stores, resellers, manufacturers, brands, and distributors who want to stay ahead of their competitors.

Prisync

Prisync is a service for tracking competitors’ prices and dynamic pricing across various channels, including Shopify and Google Shopping. It allows for automatic importing of product prices to the Shopify online platform, synchronization of products for stock control, real-time tracking of competitors’ price changes, and dynamic price adjustments.

If you sell products on Google Shopping, this app can help you increase the profitability of your advertising investments by monitoring competitors and optimizing prices. Prisync’s reports can improve search result rankings, improve click-through rates, and optimize bids for product listings. The solution also offers features for monitoring product availability and tracking SKU prices based on product characteristics, such as colors in the laptops category.

Priceva

Priceva is an efficient assistant in digital shelf analytics based on key parameters: competitor prices, product availability, shelf share, products in advertisements, content quality, etc. Category managers may use this tool to pinpoint market trends and examine competitor tactics in depth, including the impact of launched promotional campaigns and content quality on sales.

Open-to-Buy Plan

Reliable inventory control ensures that an online store always has enough products to fulfill demand. Category managers may better maintain appropriate inventory levels and maximize purchases by using Open-to-Buy (OTB) plans, which include both the current inventory level and predicted sales for a specific period.

This tool protects online stores from excess or insufficient inventory, which can slow down cash flows and reduce profits, especially if the company is forced to lower prices. OTB plans are highly flexible and can be applied to individual product categories or the entire online business.

OTB plans are typically developed in an Excel spreadsheet. On the RetailDogma website, you can find a guide on the concept of Open to Buy (OTB) in retail, with step-by-step explanations of the process. You can also use tools to create OTB plans, such as: 

  • Inventory Planner
  • Toolio

Promotion Planning Software

This type of software helps with the planning and coordination of promotions, discounts within categories, special offers for seasonal events, and brand activities. 

These solutions use historical data to forecast sales and allow real-time KPI monitoring. This helps category managers track the effectiveness of promotions and address any issues immediately after a promotion ends.  

Some promotion planning services provide additional options for exchanging data with suppliers, built-in promotion calendars, and machine learning-based hypothesis testing.

Popular promotion planning services include:

  • Streamline
  • Leafio
  • Relex Solutions
  • Symphony RetailAi

Retail Analytics Software

Retail analytics software provides retail category managers with information on sales trends and customer behavior. This helps them personalize marketing activities, optimize inventory management, and improve pricing. Such programs collect and analyze large data sets from various sources (point of sale systems, loyalty programs, online platforms), use advanced algorithms and statistical models to identify patterns, and offer strategies to maximize category profitability.

Some of the best retail analytics software includes:

  • Tableau
  • Qlik Sense
  • Microsoft Power BI
  • DataWeave
  • Sisense

All of these programs may vary in functionality and convenience, so the one you select should align with your business’s needs and goals. To ensure the effectiveness of business operations, it’s important to integrate these tools with systems you already use.

Conclusion

If you’re an e-commerce category manager, you know that there’s never enough time in a day to accomplish all your planned tasks. The more manual work you do, the less time you have for analysis and making important decisions.

 

Use the best software from our list to manage categories efficiently and effectively. These tools simplify analysis of sales and customer behavior data, highlight market trends and important patterns to maximize sales and profits, and enhance the customer experience.

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  • Market analytics
  • Price parsing
  • Product visibility
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  • Market analytics
  • Price parsing
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