Top 5 Asset Protection, Loss Prevention Problems for Supermarkets During the Holiday Season

by Andrew Hoeft | Dec 17, 2020 11:17:00 AM

This week’s post is an excerpt from our eBook, The Top 5 Asset Protection and Loss Prevention Problems Faced by Supermarkets During the Holiday Season. To read more, please download our eBook here

Like other retailers, grocers and supermarkets find the holidays to be one of the most prosperous seasons of the year. But with more store traffic comes greater pressure to protect store assets and prevent loss.

Along with more sales, the holidays also bring a dramatic increase in property crimes and theft including shoplifting. Larger U.S. cities have reported a shocking 45 percent increase in these crimes during the holidays.

While much has been said about asset protection and loss prevention issues affecting the broader retail industry during the holidays, grocers and supermarkets face a number of unique problems that receive far less attention.

That’s why we’ve created a guide specifically for those in the grocery and supermarket space. Read on to understand what issues to anticipate this holiday season along with strategies, systems, and processes to solve and prevent them.

1. Increased Throwaways and Over-Ordering

Problem: It’s difficult to predict how much demand will increase during the holidays. This can lead to over- ordering and wasteful throwaways.

Solutions: Consider using discount shelves which have been shown to increase sales and customer satisfaction.

A report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) examining why nearly half of America’s food supply is ending up in landfills cited discount shelves as a viable solution to preventing throw-aways as a result of over-orders.

According to the report, retailers using discount shelves to sell near-expiration items at a discounted price did not report lost sales as one would expect. In fact, discount shelves boosted consumer satisfaction–a finding that aligns with the broader rise of discount grocery throughout the country. According to Forbes, the number of discount grocery stores increased 17.6 percent from 2011 to 2016. The same report also shed light into consumer behavior around discounts as well, finding that 68 percent of Americans say they enjoy taking the time to find bargains.

  • Experiment with discount shelves as a simple solution to over-ordering that appeals to deal hunters and regular shoppers alike.
  • Use any existing planograms and in-store analytics tools to place discount shelves in optimal areas.

Donate more food.

Food donation has become a large part of the modern retail and grocery world and offers supermarkets an opportunity to get involved with local charitable organizations during the busy holiday season. But despite the opportunity, 10 percent of the 133 billion pounds of wasted food produced each year is lost at grocery stores, restaurants, and other vendors.

The reluctance of many supermarket owners to get their stores involved often stems from liability fears. However, a number of laws actually protect companies from risk while offering tax write offs and legal paths through which deductions can be taken. The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act passed in 1996 is one such law protecting good faith food donors from civil and criminal liability.

Logistical headaches can also dissuade supermarkets from donating food. Many stores don’t have the space to store leftover food while waiting for pickup. Others don’t know who or where they should donate food in the first place.

Eliminate overfilled displays and planogram divergence.

As it turns out, the “pile em’ high, watch em’ fly” philosophy to product displays doesn’t seem to ring true as revealed in a study conducted by a 550-store grocery chain. Following a thorough analysis of freshness, shrink, and customer purchases in all of its perishables departments in 2008, Stop and Shop/Giant Landover saved an estimated $100 million a year by cutting back on overfilling.

The company found that overfilled displays were directly causing products to spoil on the

shelf, resulting in both financial waste and displeasure among customers while forcing staff to manually sort out damaged items. After simplifying their displays, customers didn’t notice fewer choices and less-full displays. In fact, customer satisfaction rose as produce was on average three days fresher than before.

This is just one example of display simplicity that can extend throughout the store. In the lead- up to seasonal products around the holidays, this is the perfect time to declutter displays and put the focus on high-interest products in preparation for the influx of shoppers.

Diverging from an established planogram can be a less-obvious issue feeding into a broader loss prevention problem. It’s not uncommon for supermarkets to quietly creep away from their plan without even realizing it. However, it’s important to remember that an effective planogram isn’t just a pretty blueprint for your store–it’s optimized to maximize sales in very subtle ways. Even a slight divergence can have a profound impact on your bottom line.

There are lower-tech and higher-tech methods of measuring planogram compliance. The former may be as simple as a store manager or employee walking around with a clipboard and verifying compliance. The latter entails taking pictures with a smartphone and comparing the current state of the store to the planograms themselves. While both of these methods would suit small to mid-sized supermarket, larger grocers (whose financial pains are amplified with each small error) should consider investing in a system designed specifically to closely monitor planogram compliance. 

To read more from our eBook, please download your copy here

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