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:
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 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.
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.