About MYCOM
Mycom Systems is a total IT Solution provider for Retail & Hospitality (Restaurant) businesses. Mycom has been providing solutions for the past 17 years in the region, having over 1000 installation. Currently Mycom has its own offices in U.A.E, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
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Knowledge Base

+ Category Management in Retail

Category management is a retailing and purchasing concept in which the range of products purchased by a business organization or sold by a retailer is broken down into discrete groups of similar or related products; these groups are known as product categories (examples of grocery categories might be: tinned fish, washing detergent, toothpastes).

There is a huge difference between natural and mainstream when it comes to category management. I use the term "true" category management to differentiate the difference. True category management is an essential process that, when done properly, can determine your level of success in the marketplace.

Unfortunately, many natural and organic companies either overlook or say they can't afford to invest in it.

Here's why you should make the investment in your natural store: Category management provides strategies to better connect with consumers, develop brands, manage trade spending, optimize product placement and grow sales. Combining business intelligence, logistics data, syndicated and POS data and consumer data, true category management maximizes business results.

Category management truly is the glue that unites the different business functions. It helps retailers identify opportunities for sustainable growth, increased sales and increased foot traffic. When done correctly, it grows brands.
Are you leveraging category management to the fullest or not at all? Here are the key aspects for success:

1. Analytics


Analytics, both basic and advanced, are at the heart of category management. As a road map to achieving your goals, they encompass all aspects of trade management, business planning, assortment analysis and consumer awareness. When applied correctly, they provide invaluable business insights and actionable recommendations.


2. Trade Marketing Support


Trade marketing encompasses all aspects of promotion, pricing, product placement, assortment, merchandising and brand development. It includes analysis of historical events as well as projections for future sales trends.


3. Consumer Insights


Consumer insights include all consumer-related information including consumer buying and shopping habits. From reducing long checkout lines to providing the best selection of merchandise at the best possible price, the ultimate goal is to improve customer satisfaction.


4. Database Management


Database management, also known as business intelligence, encompasses several different data sources such as internal and external data sources, syndicated data, retailer point-of-sale data, consumer data and marketing data. Talented category managers can help you bring together all the different data sources in a useful way. This will maximize efficiencies within the organization while building a strong sales story to help you win at shelf.


5. Shelf Management


Shelf management includes product placement and merchandising on retailer shelves. Specifically it helps the retailer maximize sales per linear foot, drive foot traffic to stores, increase customer shopping basket size and have a competitive advantage in their marketplace.


6. Category Reviews


Category reviews serve as a review of category performance. They provide the framework for retailers and manufacturers to work together in setting goals, expectations and strategic plans for future category growth. Scorecards can be used to help obtain and measure category growth objectives.


7. Retail Sales Support


Category managers can and should support sales at retail, such as by providing fact-based selling to support traditional sales efforts. Category management should offer a somewhat unbiased objective with the purpose of increasing a retailer's sales.

+ Understanding & Benefits of Barcodes

Barcode technology has become so widespread that many consumers take it for granted, but the technology continues to offer numerous benefits in a wide array of businesses. With only some basic printing equipment and a readily available barcode scanner, businesses can use barcode technology to improve accuracy, speed and efficiency without significant expense.



Accuracy


In the days before barcode technology, many businesses relied on clerks to manually enter information about packages that came across their desks. In the transportation industry, where packages change hands several times, the likelihood of human error increased considerably. Because barcodes offer a reliable way to accurately read encoded information, the technology all but eliminates the possibility of human error. Workers can instantly identify packages and products with a high rate of accuracy.


Speed


To keep manual data entry errors at a minimum, clerks often spend a considerable amount of time examining packages, reading identification information and correcting data they did not key properly. Barcodes significantly speed the process of registering packages by reducing the act of reading and keying identification numbers to little more than pointing a scanner at the barcode. In a retail environment, for example, clerks can use barcode technology to ring up dozens or even hundreds of products within minutes. In the transportation industry, sophisticated barcode scanners can instantly read package information from hundreds of coded packages as the boxes make their way down conveyor belts.


Inventory Control


Because nearly every package features some sort of barcode, businesses can use the technology to maintain tight and accurate control over inventory. Warehouses, for example, can scan barcodes on packages as they enter and exit the facility to maintain a record of every package housed at the warehouse. When these packages arrive at retailers, store staff can scan the products as they go on shelves and compare those records with records of barcodes scanned at the register to maintain inventory data. Similarly, transportation companies can scan package barcodes when accepting cargo, then scan the packages again when delivering it. Companies that link their inventory control to online portals can instantly update package status and notify customers when packages arrive, depart or get delivered.


Cost


Though barcode technology once carried a high price tag, the proliferation of barcodes and availability of inexpensive equipment have made barcodes affordable for almost any organization. Even small businesses can download barcode fonts from the Internet, often for free, and begin labeling packages and inventory. Many smartphones now include apps that scan and interpret barcodes, and users can download barcode applications for free from a number of sources. In a large organization, barcode technology can be significantly cheaper to deploy than other inventory control methods.


Types of Barcode


Numeric-only barcodes


Codabar : Older code often used in library systems, sometimes in blood banks


Code 11 : Used primarily for labeling telecommunications equipment


EAN-13 : European Article Numbering international retail product code


EAN-8 : Compressed version of EAN code for use on small products


Industrial 2 of 5 : Older code not in common use


Interleaved 2 of 5 : Compact numeric code, widely used in industry, air cargo


MSI : Variation of the Plessey code commonly used in USA


Plessey : Older code commonly used for retail shelf marking


PostNet : Used by U.S. Postal Service for automated mail sorting


UPC-A : Universal product code seen on almost all retail products in the USA and Canada


Standard 2 of 5 : Older code not in common use


UPC-E : Compressed version of UPC code for use on small products


Alpha-numeric barcodes


Code 128: Very capable code, excellent density, high reliability; in very wide use world-wide


Code 39 : General-purpose code in very wide use world-wide


Code 93 : Compact code similar to Code 39


LOGMARS : Same as Code 39, this is the U.S. Government specification


2-Dimensional barcodes


PDF417 Excellent for encoding large amounts of data


DataMatrix : Can hold large amounts of data, especially suited for making very small codes


Maxicode : Fixed length, used by United Parcel Service for automated package sorting


QR Code : Used for material control and order confirmation


Data Code


Code 49


16K


Barcodes are often overlooked as a method for cutting costs and saving time. A valuable and viable choice for businesses looking to improve efficiency and reduce overhead, barcodes are both cost-effective and reliable.

1. Barcodes eliminate the possibility of human error. The occurrence of errors for manually entered data is significantly higher than that of barcodes. A barcode scan is fast and reliable, and takes infinitely less time than entering data by hand.

2. Using a barcode system reduces employee training time. It takes only minutes to master the hand-held scanner for reading barcodes. Furthermore, employees do not have to gain familiarity with an entire inventory or pricing procedure. This also makes employee training less expensive, since they do not have to be paid for extra training time, and another employee does not have to be compensated for training them.

3. Barcodes are inexpensive to design and print. Generally they cost mere pennies, regardless of their purpose, or where they will be affixed. They can be customized economically, in a variety of finishes and materials.

4. Barcodes are extremely versatile. They can be used for any kind of necessary data collection. This could include pricing or inventory information. Additionally, because barcodes can be attached to just about any surface, they can be used to track not only the products themselves, but also outgoing shipments and even equipment.

5. Inventory control improves. Because barcodes make it possible to track inventory so precisely, inventory levels can be reduced. This translates into a lower overheard. The location of equipment can also be tracked, reducing the time spent searching for it, and the money spent replacing equipment that is presumed lost.

6. Barcodes provide better data. Since one barcode can be used for inventory and pricing information, it is possible to quickly obtain data on both. Furthermore, barcodes can be customized to contain other relevant information as needed. They provide fast, reliable data for a wide variety of applications.

7. Data obtained through barcodes is available rapidly. Since the information is scanned directly into the central computer, it is ready almost instantaneously. This quick turnaround ensures that time will not be wasted on data entry or retrieval.

8. Barcodes promote better decision making. Because data is obtained rapidly and accurately, it is possible to make more informed decisions. Better decision making ultimately saves both time and money.

Both inexpensive and user-friendly, barcodes provide an indispensable tool for tracking a variety of data, from pricing to inventory. The ultimate result of a comprehensive barcoding system is reduction in overhead.

About MYCOM

MYCOM Systems is a dedicated point of sale (POS) consulting company and has implemented number of large POS solutions to well known retailers in the Gulf region.


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