Product Development & Operations ? Category Manager Analysis
Due Date: Week 3
Note: While representative of possible situations faced by Alikay Naturals, all scenarios in this
assignment are fictional.
Let?s roll up our sleeves and use what we?ve learned this week in a real-life business situation.
Each week, you?ll encounter a scenario where you will assume the role of a business person
who works with or at a national discount retail store, like a Walmart or Target. These companies
provide important, everyday staples for millions of people across the country and have become
very successful businesses in the process.
Discount retail stores have locations in communities across the country. They often have strong
and recognizable brands that are household names. We will explore how business works
throughout this course by taking on a few of the many different roles at successful companies
This week, you?ll assume the role of a Category Manager for the Beauty Products category at a
national discount retail store.
What Is a Category Manager?
Category Managers are responsible for related groups of products (for example, baseball
equipment or laundry detergents) for a retail business. They use research, information and
insights about the category to change shopper behavior and increase sales of the products in
the category. They also work with the suppliers of the products in their category to ensure that
good products and services are available to customers.
As a Category Manager, part of your role is to analyze data and information about how well a
product is selling to help the maker of that product improve the product or consider introducing
new products. Rochelle and her team at Alikay Naturals have asked you, the Beauty Products
Category Manager, to review one of their products and determine where it lies in the product life
cycle. Additionally, they have asked you to recommend ways to improve the product in order to
increase sales. Instructions
Step 1: Product Life Cycle
Read the Product Report for Alikay Naturals Moisturizing Black Soap Shampoo. The Product
Report contains important information that will help you to identify where the product stands in
the Product Life Cycle and give you clues about what changes customers might like to see.
Respond to Rochelle and her team at Alikay Naturals based on the information in the Product
Report. Identify where Moisturizing Black Soap Shampoo is currently positioned in the product
life cycle. Bold your selection:
Describe the rationale for your position. Compose 3 questions that Rochelle should pose to her team to better understand the
product?s positioning and potential at this particular stage in its life cycle. (E.g., if you
have determined the product is in the Introduction Phase, you might suggest the
question: How have competitors priced similar products?) Step 2: Product Changes
Based on what you?ve learned: What recommendation(s) do you have for Alikay Naturals to improve or replace
Moisturizing Black Soap Shampoo? Step 3: New Product Development
Read the New Product Proposal, which contains three examples of possible products that could
be developed to replace Moisturizing Black Soap Shampoo. Based on the information in this
proposal and the customer feedback in the Product Report: If you had to recommend one product, which product would you recommend they
create? Bold your selection:
o Organic Bloom Shampoo
o Moisturizing Black Soap Shampoo with Dandruff Control
o Coconut Protein Shampoo and Conditioner
Explain your decision. Determine which type of innovation this represents from among the four main types
discussed this week. Bold your selection:
o Sustainable (eco-friendly)
o Disruptive Briefly explain why you chose that type of innovation. Note: You should complete Steps 4 & 5 after reading the material in Week 3.
Step 4: Production Methods
Based on your understanding of Alikay?s position in the product life cycle and expected sales
volume: Which production method do you think Alikay is using for the Black Soap Shampoo?
Explain your rationale. If Alikay chose to keep the Moisturizing Black Soap Shampoo and launch your
recommended product as a ?limited time only? trial, what production method should
Alikay use for the test market product? Why? Step 5: Real-World Application
Choose a product at your company or one that you are familiar with that is in the mature stage
of the product life cycle. Briefly describe the product, why you believe it is in this phase, and
what improvements could be made to change its current path.
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