Many retail operations are created with the business in mind. We have implemented procedures in order to make our stores run more efficiently, and in a more cost-effective manner. When we originally put together those processes, we were considering how the business would be affected by the results.
That mindset is being flipped on its head as we get closer to 2020. The focus of supermarkets across the country needs to shift, placing the spotlight on our customers instead of our internal workings.
Customers expect to feel a personal connection to your store, because you are a key component of their thriving community. They want to feel like they are supporting a business that invests in that community, and that they can relate to your brand values on a deeper level.
When evaluating your current processes and procedures, it’s important to view them through the lens of your customers and your community. How does each action that you take in your store affect them? How do each of your internal strategies add up to create a positive image of your brand within the community?
One area of your business that can help your community is your expired shrink strategy. The tactics that you put in place to prevent expired shrink can positively impact your community, not just your bottom line.
What is an expired shrink prevention strategy?
An expired shrink prevention strategy is a professional plan for reducing, and ultimately, preventing, products from expiring on a store’s shelves before they can be sold or otherwise dealt with.
Traditional expired shrink prevention strategies include rotation and spot-checking, though research has proven that those processes are not enough to have a significant impact on expired shrink. Recent studies show that the average 41,000 square foot store has 1,631 expired items on the shelf in the center store alone, even when rotation and spot checking methods have been implemented.
To be blunt, expired shrink just hasn’t been a priority for many grocers. It’s often seen as a backburner responsibility for employees when the store is having a slow day, or when they haven’t yet been adequately trained.
That isn’t to say that expiration date management shouldn’t be a priority for grocers. It’s more important to customers than you’d think. In 2018, Date Check Pro conducted the first survey that attempted to gauge the importance of fresh products for customers called, “The Impact of Expired Products on Supermarket Sales & Shopping Behavior: A 2018 Survey Report”. We found that 35% of shoppers said they were extremely likely to stop shopping a store after noticing a trend in expired product purchases.
Imagine if over a third of your customers, valuable members of your community, decided to start shopping at another grocery store after noticing your problem with expired shrink.
You’d want to prevent that, wouldn’t you?
3 expired shrink prevention strategies that can help your community
There are a number of tactics that you can implement in order to prevent expired shrink, but in this post we want to highlight those that have an external, positive affect on your community and your place within it.
Food donation and associated tax deductions
Many grocery stores have a food donation policy, but did you know that this policy can also be seen as an expired shrink prevention strategy? In essence, you’re removing close-dated items from your shelves when it becomes clear that they won’t sell before their expiration date, and you’re donating those items to organizations within your community.
You’ll feel better knowing that your customers won’t come into contact with expired products on your shelves, and that you were able to feed your community with your donation. Having a public-facing food donation policy will not only do wonders for the way you see yourself, but for the way that the community sees you and your brand.
You’ll also be eligible for tax deductions that are specific to grocery stores who donate food to community organizations that help people in need when you implement a food donation policy.
We’ve created a Food Donation Guide that breaks down the legislation that protects you and your stores from risk, as well as the tax deductions that you can enjoy as a result of your generosity. Click here to download the Food Donation Guide.
Repurposing close-dated food for store events
It’s fairly common for grocery stores to repurpose close-dated items as ingredients in their prepared deli foods. However, a community grocer can take this idea one step further and repurpose those close-dated products into refreshments at store events.
Community grocers seek out ways to get involved with their community, either through fundraising events, sponsorships, cooking classes, or block parties. Each of these initiatives provides an opportunity for expired shrink prevention, with the added bonus of exposing your community to products that they can purchase at your store.
This expired shrink strategy does double duty. Once again, you’re removing close-dated items from your shelves before they expire and a customer can encounter them, and you’re using them in an instance that promotes unity and connection within your community.
Expiration date management
None of these expired shrink prevention strategies can work if you aren’t able to identify close-dated products before they expire. Like I mentioned earlier in this post, spot-checking and rotation methods just aren’t cutting it. Often, they simply help you locate products once they’ve already expired, potentially sitting on your shelves for weeks before you find them.
To take control of your expired shrink and start implementing community-focused strategies, you’ll need to turn to expiration date management software. Date Check Pro is an expiration date management solution that notifies you when an item in your inventory becomes close-dated. Then, your date checkers will be led through a series of easy-to-understand prompts that utilize your sales data to determine the best course of action for that product. These prompts are completely customizable, so if you decide to implement any of the above expired shrink prevention strategies, you can incorporate them into Date Check Pro’s software solution.
Expiration date management is key to your overarching expired shrink prevention strategies. When you use technology that provides you with the information you need to act on close-dated items before they become expired, you can ensure that your customers won’t come into contact with expired products, or worse, purchase them, consume them, and become ill.
If this is the year that you want to focus on your identity as a community grocer, consider evaluating your expired shrink prevention strategies first. The three strategies above can help you help your community, while building your brand and eliminating expired products from your shelves.
Community-focused expired shrink strategy? Check. Now it’s time to your reputation as a community grocer to the next level. Click below to download our eBook and get the tools you need to take on 2020.