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Director of Category Management

| Chicago

Company Overview

In the past seven years, Zoro has grown from a group of 6 people working out of a 2,000 square foot building, offering fewer than 100,000 products to a group of 225+ working out of a 60,000+ square foot building, offering more than 1,800,000 unique products.

Strategic responsibility for defining the portfolio strategy for Zoro's product assortment consisting of $250M - $400M in sales and $175M - $280M in COGS. Leads a multi-layer team of Sr. Product Managers, Product Managers and Product Specialists to develop and execute the Endless Assortment Strategy that will be deployed across a diverse set of e-commerce sales channels to acquire and retain a rapidly growing base of customers. Overall scale of Grainger will be leveraged by ensuring assortment strategy coordination with other Grainger Business Units. The primary focus will be on driving industry leading sales growth, margin dollar growth and customer acquisition.

Position Description

Product Assortment and Supplier Management:

  • Aggressively lead the team to design and build a product line structure that maximizes sales growth, gross profit dollars and customer acquisition by leveraging National Brands, Grainger Exclusive Brands and Zoro Private Brands to the maximize all key performance metrics.
  • Maintain expertise in the e-commerce competitive landscape in order to drive a product assortment that continuously responds to the rapidly changing, and ultra-competitive e-commerce landscape.
  • Lead the team to expand the size of the Zoro supplier base to provide access to an ever increasing volume of product lines and assortment options.
  • Establishes and manages key Supplier relationships across all levels; i.e. CEO, Presidents, Vice Presidents, etc.
  • Leads cooperative marketing program that captures financial support from suppliers for joint marketing initiatives, which accelerates customer acquisition, revenue growth and gross margins.
  • Lead efforts to acquire and maintain comprehensive product information, including product specifications, product images and additional product content (e.g. videos). This effort will require partnership with Grainger's product management organization as well as direct supplier interaction.
  • Lead the strategic development and execution of a Zoro private label offering.
  • Lead cross-functional initiatives that contribute to the overall strategic growth and improvement of Zoro's business.
  • Closely partner with the Searchandising and Zoro.com teams as they execute strategies that facilitate an industry leading customer experience in navigating through the product offering.
  • Closely collaborate with the Pricing Team to ensure product pricing strategies are implemented consistently and in support of the overall Zoro pricing strategies.
  • Identify opportunities to negotiate improved product costs to allow for improved product margins and/or a more competitive pricing position for Zoro in all e-commerce sales channels.
  • Collaborate with the E-commerce team to maximize the reach and impact of the product assortment in all advertising channels, including marketplaces, paid search and PLA.
  • Continually monitor the financial performance of the overall product line to ensure there is constant feedback into the success of the product line strategy and execution.


Supply Chain:

  • Partner with the product management teams from Grainger's domestic and international businesses to access expanded product line offerings and create additional purchasing scale and leverage for the assigned category.
  • Design and lead supplier outreach initiatives that improve delivery performance and customer experiences with Zoro. 
  • Work with appropriate Grainger Supply Chain partners to ensure the overall scale of W.W. Grainger is fully leveraged.

Team Leadership:

  • Takes personal accountability for the team's goals while also leading Team Members who are driven to constantly expand the Zoro assortment through industry expertise, customer insights and aggressive supplier engagement.
  • Mentor and coach team members to encourage the growth and development of each individual's skills and professional experiences by driving assortment growth strategies, cross-functional partnership experiences and supplier support for merchandising and marketing.
  • Establish appropriate goals and metrics designed to improve the overall Team performance, by product category, and take appropriate action when necessary.

Position Requirements:

  • 7-10 years of experience in related field preferred.
  • BA/BS required; MA/MS/MBA or equivalent preferred.
  • Strong working knowledge of e-commerce business strategies especially best practices for building large product assortments for e-commerce channels and product information to support online merchandising.
  • Must have an understanding of e-commerce generally and Zoro's business strategies specifically for customer acquisition, pricing strategies, on-site product search and navigation, e-commerce channels and product fulfillment processes.
  • Proven ability to lead successful teams by driving large volumes of high quality work, coaching team members for maximum professional growth and inspiring maximum team member engagement.
  • Demonstrated experience in driving results through a diverse set of business processes and problem solving.
  • Demonstrated ability to embrace change, demonstrate agility in relation to change and persuade/lead others through the change to minimize team disruption. Ensure a continuously high performing team.
  • Models Zoro's core values of Transparency, Customer Obsessed, Winning and Losing Together and Taking Ownership.

EEOC Statement

Zoro is an Equal Opportunity Workplace and an Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.

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Technology we use

  • Engineering
  • Product
    • PythonLanguages
    • DjangoFrameworks
    • Google AnalyticsAnalytics
    • JIRAManagement


One office is in River North (Chicago), a community blossoming with culture and nightlife, and the other is in the northern suburb of Buffalo Grove.
225 W. Ohio Street, Chicago - River North & Buffalo Grove, IL

An Insider's view of Zoro

How would you describe the company’s work-life balance?

We are driven and work hard, because we are growing like crazy! We are in this together because we want to be, not because we have to. On the flip side, I've never missed one of my kid's ball games, concerts, parent-teacher conferences, and when I take a vacation, I'm actually allowed to take it (of course, I'm available if you need me, team)! :-)


HR Leader

What are Zoro Perks + Benefits

Zoro Benefits Overview

Very competitive package - beyond your base salary, we offer bonuses, a 401(k) match and additional 401(k) incentive contribution, a full-scope of medical/dental/vision/life insurance benefits, voluntary benefits, shuttle service, a bunch of free food (free coffee, soft drinks, snacks, and free meals from time-to-time). Our North Suburb office has a subsidized cafe inside our offices that is a breakfast/lunch spot and coffee bar, in addition to a game room, recreation area and a rock room... yes a rock room... bring your axe and rock out on a break!

Health Insurance & Wellness Benefits
Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
Disability Insurance
Dental Benefits
Vision Benefits
Health Insurance Benefits
Life Insurance
Pet Insurance
Optional Voluntary Benefit
Wellness Programs
Discount partnership with Sky Fitness.
Onsite Gym
Buffalo Grove equipped with workout bench, dumbells, free weights, a basketball court, badminton court, ping pong, air hockey, bags, golf net, outdoor volleyball, and we've even played quiddich!
Retirement & Stock Options Benefits
401(K) Matching
3.5% contribution by Zoro on a bi-weekly basis (whether you contribute or not). Additional 3.5% target contribution based on annual company performance.
Employee Stock Purchase Plan
Performance Bonus
Child Care & Parental Leave Benefits
Generous Parental Leave
Flexible Work Schedule
Family Medical Leave
Adoption Assistance
We've won a Dave Thomas award for having a solid adoption assistance program - that's pretty cool!
Vacation & Time Off Benefits
Generous PTO
Starting at 18 days per year with carryover option of up to 5 days.
Paid Volunteer Time
We like to give back to the local community. We have team builders focused on helping a variety of philanthropic organizations.
Paid Holidays
Zoro offers all employees paid time off to observe all major holidays.
Perks & Discounts
Casual Dress
We feature a range from shorts and t-shirts to those who embrace "Tie Tuesdays". Wear what makes you comfortable, but you may want to clean it up if you have an important customer in town!
Commuter Benefits
In our North Suburb office, we feature shuttle service to/from Buffalo Grove, Highland Park, and Deerfield stops. Also a commuter benefit program available as a voluntary benefit.
Company Outings
We've done many of these. From ball games to luaus to olympics to the zoo - Zoro finds ways to treat employees to lots of fun.
Game Room
Basketball, bags, driving range net, ping pong, badminton, video games, music room... we even played quiddich in our warehouse for our Harry Potter-themed Halloween event!
Stocked Kitchen
All offices feature coffee, soft drinks, sparkling water, tea, popcorn machine, random snacking opportunities, as well as an on-site cafe in our North Suburb office.
Some Meals Provided
Happy Hours
Sometimes happy hours provided by the company, but many team members get together outside of work because they want to, not because they have to!
Recreational Clubs
Softball, bowling, and dragon boat racing team... yes, dragon boat racing!
Fitness Subsidies
Professional Development Benefits
Job Training & Conferences
Tuition Reimbursement
Diversity Program
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