Category Manager

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 and 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

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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 and 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? Explain your decision.

Determine which type of innovation this represents from among the four main types discussed this week. Briefly explain why you chose that type of innovation.

Note: You should complete Step 4 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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