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    Category Advisor: Potatoes: Idaho Potato Commission

    At the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC), category management is all about analysis.

    At the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC), category management is all about analysis. The group responds to retailers who are interested in improving potato sales with an in-depth review that takes into account all potatoes, not just Idaho potatoes.

    The commission asks retailers’ potato category managers to suggest at least five stores for review, preferably with five different potato sets. Its team then goes to each of these retailers’ stores and studies the potato sets, keeping best practices in mind. Using proven statistics and pictures from these stores, the group analyzes the layout and prepares a report.

    To complete its report, the commission also visits all competition within a five-mile radius of each store being reviewed to see what competitors are doing with their potato sets, either with their product mix or how the potatoes are displayed.

    When all of the analysis is complete, the commission prepares a PowerPoint presentation with a comprehensive category review offering its recommendations on how to improve sales in the entire category. Retailers are presented with a confidential, cost-free analysis -- both positive and negative -- and companion recommendations about their stores and their competitors’ stores, which in most cases are appreciated and often implemented with favorable results.

    In addition to the comprehensive category analysis, IPC began offering in-depth instructional merchandising recommendations through its quarterly “Potato Retailing Today” section in Progressive Grocer, which has further rounded out its effective efforts to help retailers reap the full rewards of aggressive fresh potato-selling strategies.

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