Our Services

Category Management

Impact 21 provides comprehensive category management (Cat Man) services through the combination of program development, data analysis, and hands-on learning.

Our category management approach supports all parties involved in the process from category managers, in-store sales staff, and merchandisers to strategic decision makers. We help you tailor your merchandising and marketing efforts to stimulate interest and entice customers through the optimization of assortment, pricing, shelf presentation, product supply and promotion.

Achieve Category Management Results

We help you achieve category management results by:

  • Identifiying consumer driven opportunities
  • Customizing support for retailers and suppliers
  • Utilizing of the NACS Six-Step Framework as a foundation
  • Providing analytical support
  • Implementing merchandise management procedures
  • Developing supply chain best practices
  • Providing varying levels of category management training
Competition is tough, and you really have to be in control of what you are doing. The only way to do that is to have a tight grip on your category management process.
Jeff Miller

2010-11 NACS chairman, President & CEO Miller Oil Co.

Identifying Consumer Driven Opportunities

The category management process is designed to meet the needs of current and potential shoppers. Through a process of managing and merchandising the range, you will see:

  • Increased shopping frequency of current customers
  • Improved transaction size through range optimization and adjacencies
  • Appeal to new users
  • Enhanced overall shopping experience

Getting the Ball Rolling

We help you get on the road to successful category management. We concentrate our efforts in areas that allow you to get the most out of each product category. We guide you in:

  • Identifying the top categories that account for the majority of your sales and gross profits. Then help you focus most of your effort and time there!
  • Selecting a trusted vendor to partner with in developing categoryplans. This may or may not be the biggest vendor in a category.
  • Determining the primary strategy of each of these top categories. Assigning a primary strategy to each of the leading categories will simplify and focus decision-making and in store tactical execution.

Primary Category Strategies:


Profit generator


Successful implementation requires the discipline to execute in the store in order to influence consumers’ buying decisions and encourage them to buy more and more frequently.

Ongoing Assistance

We provide ongoing assistance to ensure the Cat Man process is adopted and integrated into your operating procedures while providing the expected improvement in retail sales and gross profits. Analytical support allows for development of templates and tools to ensure continuous improvement in results.

Category management services are also available for retailers requiring resources to manage categories, analyze business performance, review range/assortment, negotiate contracts, develop promotions, etc.

Category Management Learning

With Category Management as a critical part of retail success, Cat Man training offers a great return on your time and investment. You are sure to find the right fit for you with the training options offered by Impact 21:

In-Person Category Management Training

Impact 21 conducts formal category management training for organizations in need of internal training through in-person, customized sessions. These sessions will focus on key category management steps and provide templates and hands-on exercises to allow the category management stakeholders to translate their learning into skills required to develop their own category plans.

Formal category management training sessions provide a solid foundation and skills for client category management stakeholders to develop their own strategic plans and scorecards, incorporating specific data and analysis, consumer data provided by supply partners and market information from third-party syndicated resources and supply partners.

We have developed two levels of training:

Introductory Category Management

This program covers the NACS six-step process in great detail including:

  • Complete overview of how to implement category management
  • Hands-on learning environment
  • Case study material to ensure comprehension
  • Professional facilitation to ensure a pleasant learning environment

Advanced Category Management

This program is designed to follow the introductory program with a greater emphasis on analytics. The session is professionally facilitated and tailored to meet the specific needs of the client organization. The program includes all material, cases studies and reference material.

Online Category Management Training

Managing categories as strategic business units allows retailers to meet specific customer needs for the products and services that they ultimately offer within their range.

The online training format is designed to fit the demanding schedules of marketing and merchandising professionals, operations professionals, retail category managers, supplier sales and category managers, business analysts and small operators who manage all aspects of their retail business.

Certified Convenience Category Manager (CCCM)


In collaboration with National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) and Ready Training Online (RTO), Impact 21 designed this course to teach analytical skills for growing sales with the right product offer, getting more profit dollars per square foot and maximizing foot-traffic productivity inside the store. The combination of Impact 21’s industry-specific content and RTO’s state of the art learning platform provide an exceptional learning experience for all participants.

The online training follows the NACS Six-Step Category Management Framework. Framework has been the gold standard for the convenience retail industry. Hundreds of retailers, suppliers, and other associated parties have attended the highly-acclaimed workshops around the country and are now utilizing the on-line program.

While the basic tenets of the framework have remained unchanged, the material has been continually updated to utilize best-practices, new data sources, and the latest information available from the industry. A major outcome of the program is the development of category plans, processes and shopper insights that help grow sales and profits guiding participants through:

Selecting categories and supplier partners and refining category definitions

  • Analyzing category performance
  • Determining optimal category roles for your organization
  • Developing strategies and tactics
  • Communicating and implementing category plans
  • Reviewing and evaluating the results

In a time when many retail channels are aggressively targeting the convenience oriented shopper, it is more critical than ever for convenience operators to have the right product mix to meet the consumer needs. The CCCM on-line course provides valuable tools, templates and resources that can immediately impact your business.

The CCCM on-line course is a 16-module training curriculum. While each module varies in length from 15 to 45 minutes, the entire course content can be covered within 8 hours. Each module is followed by a self-assessment quiz to ensure learning and retention The CCCM on-line course provides a comprehensive and cost-effective platform to bring immediate results to your organization including a certification exam.

Who Should Take This Course?

Business professionals will be able to learn immediately applicable category management principles and analysis processes, self-check their progress, and prepare for the certification exam at their preferred pace. Professionals who would benefit from this program include:

  • Marketing and Merchandising Professionals
  • Operations Professionals
  • Retail Category Managers
  • Supplier Sales and Category Managers
  • Business Analysts
  • Small operators who manage all aspects of their retail business

* Graduates of the Category Management Online Training course are eligible to become Certified Convenience Category Managers (CCCM), a designation of achievement awarded by NACS to individuals who commit to continuous professional development in the convenience industry as a category manager.

Delivered in partnership with NACS and Learning Evolution, the CCCM online training combines education and certification—offering convenience retailers and supplier partners the very latest in thought leadership, practices of category management and shopper marketing.

Certified Convenience Advanced Category Management (CCACM)


Impact 21, in partnership with NACS, offers Advanced Category Management training. It is tailored to the specific challenges and opportunities of the convenience store industry. Delivered in partnership with Learning Evolution, the NACS Advanced Category Management online training combines education and certification, offering convenience retailers the very latest in thought leadership, practices of category management and shopper marketing. The curriculum includes three modules tailored to the needs of convenience retailers and supply partners:

  • Assortment Analysis: This module teaches advanced skills of assortment analytics. Managers at this level will demonstrate the ability to integrate different data and software resources in order to create the appropriate assortment recommendations, including connectivity with space planning software solutions in order to create multiple “what if” scenarios.
  • Space Management: This module teaches managers how to strategically manage shelf space and provide effective recommendations to optimize space productivity. Managers at this level will understand the key metrics used to measure shelf productivity as well as inventory hurdles that are often required.
  • Understanding Shopper Behavior: This module teaches managers how to better understand shopper behavior through various data and tracking sources. Managers at this level will be able to use consumer data such as household panel data to understand consumer and shopper behavior within the category and thereby identify opportunities to improve category performance.

Who Should Take This Course?

The course benefits all roles and responsibilities in the convenience channel including category managers for:

  • Both Retailers and Suppliers
  • Supply Chain Managers
  • Merchandisers
  • Planogram Advisors
  • Marketing Executives

Whether a national, regional or local chain, experienced convenience store professionals will better understand the profit opportunities that come with effective category management.

Each online module can be completed in less than an hour and participants can earn the Advanced Convenience Category Manager designation by successfully completing the online certification exam*.

(Online Training Series)

Developed by Impact 21, NACS, and Ready Training Online (RTO), this series teaches analytical skills to help you: grow sales by matching the right product offer to customer needs, get more profit dollars from each square foot of store space, and maximize the productivity of foot traffic in your store.