Have you ever walked into your dairy cooler and found a bunch of expired doughs among everything that had been pulled for the day? This section of the store can generate shrink for a few different reasons, and we are going to walk through some of the tips and tricks of what to watch for and how to combat higher loss in this area.
Account for Seasonality
Just like the rest of your store, sales in the dough category are most likely going to be higher in November and December. However, what about all of the inventory that is still on the shelves on December 26th? This chart of expired items managed in a four-foot dough section shows the seasonal impact that higher holiday ordering can have on your shrink in January and February.
As you can see in the chart, the two highest months for expired units pulled from the dough section came in January and February, which is highly likely to be attributed to the higher inventory counts from December.
While the week between Christmas and New Year’s is typically riddled with vacation days, your team is probably already looking at leftover candy and other seasonal merchandise to discount and sell through once the holiday is done. Make sure that the dough section is on your list of locations to keep an eye on so items can be moved quickly before they near their expiration date. Additionally, make sure it’s a target area in the week before Christmas as well so item sales can be an option for you for cookie dough items that are not moving as quickly as you expected. You can have a bigger impact on sales if you are looking at the items before the holiday hits.
Re-shelving your Dough Section
If your store is experiencing higher shrink the other months out of the year, this strategy can be helpful for saving more product and reducing the time stockers spend getting these items onto the shelf.
Many grocery stores merchandise their dough sections in the dairy section of their store by having angled shelving units that feed the product to the front of the shelf. However, this can cause expired products to get mixed in and not always be fed to the front of the shelf as they are stocked. If this section of the store is causing a high amount of shrink for you, we recommend considering changing to flat shelving.
Round dough containers can easily be merchandised vertically while still in their box, allowing for store staff to quickly and easily rotate the section while stocking. By keeping products grouped by date, it also becomes much easier to ensure that product stays rotated and that the newest stock doesn’t start selling until your older merchandise has already sold through.
Manage Your Facings
Merchandising doughs vertically also provides you the opportunity to carry more flexibility with the amount of facings you carry for each product. For most products, three vertical facings are similar to one facing of the product laying down. This means that if you want to have three products fit into the space where you would previously have two flat facings, you increase your selection to three products with two vertical facings each.
While the additional facings can be beneficial for creating the right product mix, managing expired products and ensuring easy rotation is best handled by allowing your dairy team to stock the products while they are in their box. This also allows your team to quickly and easily see whether or not they should order more product. If there is already a full box of 12 behind the box that is currently being sold through, it is very unlikely that they product warrants a reorder.