What's the future of category management?

Stephen P. Needel
Advanced Simulations, LLC, United States


The title of this session is “The Return of Category Management”. It's a good title. The title of my paper is “What's the Future of Category Management”. I had another title in mind when I first proposed this paper – “Is Category Management Dead? Or Should It Be?” In this paper, I'll try to answer these questions, telling you that the present of category management is bleak. I'll also, by implication, tell you that the future of category management is not much better. I'll tell you that category management, as originally conceived, is pretty much dead. Finally, I'll suggest that as it is today, we should stick a fork in category management and say it's done. Having been cynical for most of the paper, I'll make a quick turnabout at the end and suggest that it is only what we are doing today that should expire – not the idea of category management itself.