Expired Products and Shrink

How Plant-Based Products affect Expired Loss

How Plant-Based Products affect Expired Loss 720 480 Andrew Hoeft

With every new grocery trend comes a necessary round of conversations:

“Who will our distributors be?”

“How are we going to market this product category?”

“Where should it be merchandised in our stores?”

There’s one question that is usually left out of these conversations, but could have the largest impact on your bottom line:

“How will this new product category affect our expired loss?”

Through our conversations with grocers, we’ve seen this question missed time and again, and, as your resident expiration date management experts, it’s our job to make you consider every aspect of your inventory’s expiration potential.

The latest category to fall prey to this oversight is plant-based products. Since they joined the mainstream food scene, they’ve exploded, entering nearly every category from the meat counter to the dairy aisle. Grocers like you are jumping at the chance to stock these products – they’ve seen the data, and they know carrying plant-based products will help their bottom line. 

Just to give you a taste of the trend: “Sales were up 31.3% overall between 2017 and 2019, to a grand total of nearly $4.5 billion in revenue,” according to the Good Food Institute and the Plant Based Foods Association.

However, like every new product category, plant-based products will have some effect on your expired loss metrics – both positive and negative.

How plant-based products affect expired loss

First, the good news: plant-based foods simply don’t pose as much of a risk to shoppers past their expiration date because they are not made from animal products. For this reason, they have longer shelf lives in your store.

Now, here’s where it gets complicated. Longer shelf life does not necessarily mean you’ll have better expired loss stats.

With any new category, including plant-based products, you’re still establishing a customer base. Even though sales are rising, and plant-based products are quickly becoming a must-have for grocers, there is still education that needs to take place to get shoppers on board.

If the products that you stock don’t move as quickly as you’d anticipated, and you aren’t keeping track of your expiration dates proactively, you may end up with expired plant-based products on your shelves. And your expired loss numbers will go up, up, up…

Tips to mitigate risk of expired loss

There are a few key best practices to avoid this issue with any new category:

  • Carefully track your plant-based product movement metrics in order to make accurate inventory purchases in the future. Start small, and gauge your shoppers’ interest in the category before wasting funds on large orders that may expire before they can be purchased.
  • Educate your customers on food safety practices for plant-based products. What does a plant-based product smell like, look like, taste like if it’s out of date? Storing plant-based products effectively is another topic that you may want to cover.
  • Proactively track your expiration dates so that you can mark down close dated items before they expire and help move them. There are many forms of expiration date management, but a technology-focused process that notifies you when an item in your inventory is about to expire is the best way to avoid not only a shopper coming into contact with an expired item, but an increase in your store’s expired loss.

How Date Check Pro Can Make Your Expiration Date Process More Effective

How Date Check Pro Can Make Your Expiration Date Process More Effective 720 480 Andrew Hoeft

Expiration date management is a necessary process in a grocery store. Consumers are more knowledgeable than ever about their health and the impact that fresh products can have on their wellbeing. They’re checking labels, and they don’t always like what they see.

Our research shows that 35% of shoppers are extremely likely to stop shopping at a store if they repeatedly find expired items on the shelves. They want to know that you’re looking out for their best interests and keeping only up to date inventory in your store.

Current expiration date management processes are inefficient and inconsistent. Spot checking leads to missed items and extra man hours, and rotation only works when employees are committed and detail-oriented. Those things are not a guarantee in the grocery industry. 

There is, however, a forward-thinking way to take on expiration date management. Date Check Pro is an expiration date management tool built into a software solution that solves the problem of expired products falling into customers’ hands. Here’s how it can make your process more effective:

 

Date Check Pro is user-friendly.

Date Check Pro’s interface is intuitive and user-friendly, easy to navigate for those tech natives and those who still haven’t switched to a smartphone. Your store associates will have no problem recognizing notifications, and following the prompt and response format of the software. The program itself tells them exactly which action to take based on their choices while date checking in accordance with your store policies on expired items. They won’t ever have to second guess what they should do with an item depending on its expiration date.

 

Date Check Pro removes most human error.

Where traditional spot checking and rotation put the onus on store associates to be consistent and error-free, Date Check Pro creates a system that takes the pressure off. Employees simply have to set aside time on their task list to check Date Check Pro (as a manager, you can determine how often this happens), and run through the list of notifications. Date Check Pro tells associates exactly what items they need to check for close dated expiration dates and where they need to go in your store to find them. They can systematically work through the necessary aisles and items without natural human errors like forgetting to check an item on the shelf or taking an inefficient route through your store.

 

Date Check Pro provides stats on inventory for future buying decisions.

Conventional methods of date checking serve only one purpose: finding expired items and pulling them off the shelves. Date Check Pro’s software solution provides an added layer of information to the process. You can use the dashboard in the backend of Date Check Pro to see which items are slow movers, which high ticket items tend to expire consistently, and which are marked out of stock frequently by date checkers. This data can help your team make better business decisions when placing orders with vendors and manufacturers.

 

Date Check Pro is proactive instead of reactive.

Finally, Date Check Pro makes date checking a proactive process instead of reactive. Most date checking processes only function to remove items that have already expired from your shelves. You’re crossing your fingers that you’ll get to those items before a customer does. With Date Check Pro, your store associates receive notifications about close dated items days (even weeks depending on your policies) before they are set to expire so that they can take action on them to save your store money. Perhaps you could discount an item so that customers are more likely to purchase them before they expire, or you can donate these items to a local food bank or shelter for a tax write off. Either way, Date Check Pro gives you a chance to make that choice before food expires on your shelves.

How Personalization Data Will Help You Decrease Shrink

How Personalization Data Will Help You Decrease Shrink 720 480 Andrew Hoeft

Reducing shrink in a grocery store can seem like an almost impossible task. While the retail industry in general is plagued with loss prevention woes, grocery can be even more difficult to monitor simply because of the nature of its products. Customers can eat products before purchasing them and items can even go bad on the shelves.

That’s not an issue for other types of retailers.

Grocers need to use every tool in their arsenal in order to combat shrink in their grocery store, including technology that allows them to collect data in order to make better purchasing and rotation decisions.

A great portion of shrink in grocery stores could be reduced if grocers accurately used personalization data to order precisely the right amount of stock, instead of overbuying items that are historically slow-moving and likely to become expired shrink. 

 

How to Collect Personalization Data

Grocers have many options at their disposal when it comes to collecting the personalization data that they need in order to combat expired shrink. Though the industry is notoriously slow to adopt new technology, installing a new software solution isn’t the only way to keep track of what your customers are buying frequently and which items tend to sit on the shelves. Here are a few ways that grocers can collect personalization data:

 

Loyalty programs

Many grocery stores already have loyalty programs in place. These purchase- and point-tracking systems make it easy for grocers to reward their customers with special perks once they’ve hit a certain purchasing threshold. However, they are drastically underused for other purposes, including the collection of personalization data.

Loyalty programs are already tracking how much a customer purchases, and what they are purchasing on a regular basis, but how much of that data is being translated into corporate buying decisions? If grocers are already inadvertently collecting this data, couldn’t it be put to good use in stocking your shelves with the products that your most loyal customers actually want?

 

E-commerce history

E-commerce purchasing history could be valuable to grocers in the same way that loyalty programs are when it comes to collecting personalization data. E-commerce platforms tend to be a bit more sophisticated, so not only will you be able to see data on what items are purchased most frequently, but also which products are searched for regularly, which are added to the cart and then abandoned, and what times of year products are fast-moving or slow-moving. 

You have all of this data at your fingertips as a grocer. It’s time to start using it to help you make better purchasing decisions and reduce expired shrink before it ever even occurs.

 

In-person interaction

Finally, for the good old-fashioned grocer, in-person interaction can be a keystone of your personalization data collection strategy.

Your store associates and managers speak with customers on a daily basis, answering questions and building relationships, but did you know that they’re an integral part of personalization data collection? 

The interactions between your store staff and your customers contain information that can help you do your job better and reduce expired shrink in your store.

What are your customers asking you for repeatedly? Is there a new item that’s become a consistent part of your staff’s conversations? Keep track of this information and take it into account when you’re making purchasing decisions.

Is one extremely loyal customer making requests? It might make sense to bring in a small quantity of the item they’re looking for in order to build a stronger connection with them and discover a potential new winner for your store.

 

How to Use Personalization Data to Reduce Shrink

Now that you’ve started using your loyalty programs, e-commerce purchasing history, and in-store interactions with guests in order to collect personalization data, you’re probably wondering what to do with all of this information.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the possibilities that data represents, but there are a few quick ways that you can use this data to create a positive impact in your store and reduce expired shrink.

First, find out which items customers aren’t buying very frequently and compare those to items that are frequently out of stock, but are popular with customers. These are your slow-moving vs. fast-moving products.

Your fast-moving products represent the items that you should be buying more of. Your customers are clearly exhibiting a high demand for these items, and frequent out of stocks are costing you valuable revenue.

Your slow-moving products represent the items that you should be buying less of, and even eliminating from your purchasing habits altogether. Use personalization data to stop purchasing items that aren’t showing up in your customer profiles regularly, as these items are easy culprits for expired shrink.

Then, use the data that you’ve collected, and the systems that you already have in place, to send hyper-specific offers and extreme discounts to your customers on items that are about to expire so that they don’t become expired shrink. Close-dated items are still viable for customers, but you want them off your shelves before they become a liability. Sending notifications to customers who regularly buy items that tend to expire on the shelf is a clever way to use personalization data to drive conversion to slow-moving items.

Using an expiration date management software could make this entire process simpler for you as a grocer. Collecting personalization data is an important aspect of your business, but keeping it organized in a way that makes it useful to your store is another challenge that you’ll have to tackle. While your e-commerce platform or loyalty program may be sophisticated enough to provide you with a dashboard that gives you personalization information, it’s likely not comprehensive.

If you use an expiration date management software, all of this information can be found in one, easy-to-access place. Your Date Check Pro dashboard not only sends you notifications when an item is close-dated or expired on your shelves, it also tracks which items are costing you the most money when they expire, and which items are slow-moving enough to be expired shrink risks for your store. 

Personalization data is discussed at length in the retail industry, for marketing purposes and for product development. However, in the grocery sector specifically, this information can be used to reduce expired shrink in your stores and put you on the right track toward achieving more optimal loss prevention results.

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3 Expired Shrink Prevention Strategies that Can Help Your Community 720 480 Andrew Hoeft

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How a Food Waste-Free Experience Creates Customer Loyalty 720 480 Andrew Hoeft

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How 2019 Diet Trends Impact Expired Shrink 720 480 Andrew Hoeft

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Best Expired Shrink Solution: Internal Process vs. Date Check Pro 720 480 Emma Leuman

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Effects of Expiration Dates on Purchasing Decisions 728 374 Andrew Hoeft

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Comparing Top Markdown Methods for Short Dated Inventory 3264 2448 Andrew Hoeft

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