Expired shrink is a problem for many grocers like you, yet it tends to fall to the bottom of your to-do list. You may think that you have bigger fish to fry: purchasing decisions to make, employees to manage, and marketing efforts to execute, but in reality, your neglect of expired shrink in your store can have a major impact – on your customers and your bottom line.
So, what is the best expired shrink solution? You have to weigh your options.
Why you might use an internal process for expired shrink
The first step that most grocers take to combat an expired shrink problem is implementing an internal expiration date management process as their solution. In the beginning, they still believe that this issue can’t be that difficult to handle. They think that a few meetings and employee trainings on spot checking will put them on track to having an efficient, fresh-focused store.
This makes sense from a problem-solving standpoint. If your store has been rotating products the way that it has always been done, then adding in an internal spot checking process seems like the next logical step. It’s a quick and easy way to add in extra quality control where before there was a lack of consistency. However, often, these minimal actions are not enough to make an impact on a large store’s expired shrink problem.
An internal process also comes at little to no cost to a grocer, so its affordability makes it an appealing option. Other than the labor costs associated with extra training and the creation of an expiration date management process, the grocer who counts on an internal solution typically doesn’t invest in new software or services to assist them. They rely on what they already have in-store, unaware that this may be just a band-aid fix to a lasting problem.
Why you need to upgrade to a software solution for expired shrink
Expired shrink isn’t something that can be solved with a quick fix. It’s often a symptom of a larger issue within your store, either a lack of accountability with your employees or the perceived lack of importance of expired shrink embedded in your company’s culture.
The truth is, expired shrink impacts more than your profit margins.
Imagine what a customer thinks when they are shopping at your store and they come across an expired product. Maybe the first time, they see it as a fluke. But if your spot checking standards aren’t up to snuff, it’s likely that a customer will find another expired product on your shelves – and they won’t be happy about it. On-shelf expired food makes for a poor customer experience, one that may even result in potentially viral social media posts and bad press for your brand. If you’re ready to get serious about reducing expired shrink in your stores, it may be time for an upgrade.
Similarly, an internal process leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to employee accountability. Spot checking is often a last-resort task given to staff during a slow time at the store, and it’s not tracked consistently enough for you to ensure that it is being made a priority. Are your employees actually date checking on a regular schedule? Are they rotating product the way that you hope they are? An internal system simply won’t be able to give you clear answer.
One final point: in today’s digital age, data is key for making game-changing business decisions. In many grocery stores, manual processes are still king, with checklists (digital or physical) serving as the go-to tool to keep track of what has been accomplished during the day. However, if you are a multi-store operator, gathering meaningful data from your stores requires you to sift through multiple binders full of information, compiling them into one master data log, and calculating stats for yourself.
It’s likely that you just don’t have the time.
The good news: there’s a solution that will provide your customers with a positive customer experience, hold your employees accountable, and provide you with real-time data about your expired shrink throughout each and every one of your stores.
Why Date Check Pro is the best expired shrink solution
Date Check Pro is the premier software solution for expiration date management, creating consistency and accountability where traditional rotation and spot checking methods fall short. Our platform provides you with real-time updates on your short-dated inventory so that you can create a fresh, quality experience for your customers every time.
The critical aspect of Date Check Pro’s success is its use of proactive expiration date management practices. Instead of spot checking, which relies on employees finding products on the shelf that are already expired, we give you, as a grocer, the opportunity to take action on close dated items before they expire. You’ll receive alerts ahead of time on a per UPC basis so you can decide whether to markdown an item, donate it, or rotate it if you have a small quantity.
You won’t need to spend hours training employees on how to make those decisions either. Date Check Pro works to incorporate your internal protocol and sales data into easy-to-use question and answer prompts so that employees make the most profitable decision every time. Then, it updates your dashboard, letting you know which employees are using the software, for how long, what their pace is, and how they are performing when it comes to date checking. Consider your accountability problem solved.
Along with employee data, our platform’s dashboard includes detailed insights into your stores’ expired shrink progress, including your expired savings (the value of all products that you’ve prevented from expiring on the shelves), missed savings, and your overall ROI from Date Check Pro. Trust us, that number is typically high, with some stores reporting ROIs in the hundreds of percents. You can use these data points to make business decisions that can positively affect the performance of a lagging store, or identify a slow-moving product that you may not want to repurchase.
Lastly, Date Check Pro puts your brand in a good light. Your customers will not only be delighted to find only the freshest non-expired inventory on your shelves (saving you from a potential expired food scandal and bad press), they’ll also be impressed by your sustainability efforts in the movement to reduce food waste. You can promote these initiatives to your customers through branded discounts on close-dated food, and encourage them to support your efforts by shopping sustainably.
Although an internal expired shrink process may seem like the simplest solution to your problems, it can actually result in more labor hours and confusion, all for a minor improvement in expired shrink. When comparing an internal process to a digitized software solution like Date Check Pro, there really is no comparison. It’s time to take control of your expired shrink once and for all. Let us help you conquer that challenge.