One area of the grocery store that has consistently proven to have expired products every time we visit a store is the energy bars section. Like the rest of the store, products here expire due to a variety of reasons, whether that’s overordering or a lack of rotation. However, there is a simple solution that can help reduce your shrink in the category. When stockers are stocking new boxes of product, leave those new boxes unopened if there is already an open box on the shelf.
This helps right away as it forces employees to rotate. They can’t open a new box and push the older product to the back. It also helps prevent customers from reaching into the back box to grab the bars with a later expiration date, which over time can cause a product to expire. This tactic also helps prevent dates getting mixed together. When date checking, it is more common than most people would think to find multiple dates within the same box of energy bars.
Unfortunately, although a spot checking schedule may require the energy bars section to be checked at least once per year, your team may not realize that a single box can have multiple dates mixed together. So, the first product on top is checked for each open box, and they move on. The result can be shocking, with stores (or customers) finding product that is several years past date.
One additional benefit for using this method is you will be able to quickly identify overordering in this area of the store. If you find an entire unopened box out of date, this serves as a red flag to check the movement on that product. The likely scenario is that it is really underperforming, and you can discontinue that item and look to try filling that space with a new product, or expand the facings of varieties that are selling more successfully.
You can also utilize this strategy in other areas of your store for the same effect. While sauce packets or Kool-Aid packets immediately come to mind for most stores, every store is different and carries different products. Essentially, anything small that you stock in the original box is a great place to think about applying this standard to help improve your stores.
This solution is easy to implement and can be a great way to both improve the customer experience and reduce expired shrink.