If your store is constantly running out of stock on fresh food items, it’s time to invest in a good inventory management system.
We all know how frustrating it is to go shopping, only to find the item you’re looking for is out of stock.
Not only is it time-consuming to have to search through every aisle, but it can also be difficult to find a substitute for the item you’re looking for.
This is a common experience; perishable foods account for an estimated 38.9% of the total value of products frequently running out of stock in the retail sector.
Spoiled or missing fresh produce can turn a good customer experience into a memorably bad one.
Still, as a grocer, you can’t just endlessly stock up as you’d risk wasting food and losing profit.
Let’s see how smart inventory management and effective e-commerce can help you walk the thin line between spoilage and dissatisfied customers.
Smart Inventory Management for Fresh Food
It’s crucial to have the right amount of fruits, vegetables, meats, and other fresh produce on the shelves.
Too little can lead to lost sales, but too much can lead to waste. Since fresh food is perishable, grocers must find effective ways to replenish it while avoiding excess.
However, optimized replenishment can be difficult for many reasons, such as seasonality, changing customer preferences, and changing food characteristics.
For instance, when selling organic food, the durability of each order can vary. Weather conditions like intense sunlight exposure can shorten shelf life, and customer demand for organic products can be affected by price fluctuations.
To determine required inventory, grocers must identify patterns over time by collecting sales and order data:
- How much is sold of each item category or for individual items over a while?
- How do events and seasons (e.g., Christmas) change customer demands for specific products?
- What different ripeness levels do customers order (some might prefer ripe avocados for immediate use, while other customers buy them days in advance)? Does it vary with the season?
- What factors lead to manufacturers delaying delivery or dropping out (for instance, due to low crop yields or supply chain issues)?
To make inventory management less laborious, you might need to reduce the variety of inventory and focus on a smaller selection – allowing more accurate stock-level insights.
Furthermore, you need to factor in surprises. Sometimes producers experience long delays due to a lower-than-usual harvest. As COVID made clear, supply chains can also be impacted in the blink of an eye. That’s why it is vital to have a list of alternative suppliers that you can contact to restock your shelves.
Modern grocers looking to track sales and identify long-term patterns can invest in an automated inventory system. It can integrate with the point-of-sale (POS) system and e-commerce.
Inventory management systems constantly collect data, counting every inventory in and out, offline, and online.
With an improved understanding of customer behavior and inventory data, stores can use marketing to influence orders. If you’re running out of Granny Smith apples, smart inventory can suggest your digital customers buy Pink Lady apples instead. While offering an enticing discount to encourage them to change their minds.
Get Started in 3 Easy Steps
Ready to take your business to the next level by optimizing your inventory management and increasing sales? Get Local Express and start generating new revenue immediately. Follow these three simple steps to get started with Local Express:
- Get a free trial with Local Express. We’re happy to provide free trials, that way you can see how great our services are before making a commitment.
- Let us get to know you and set up your store. We want to learn about you and your business. That way we can set up your store in a way that’s perfectly suited for your business.
- Run your store! Once we have your store ready, all that’s left is to run it and take advantage of all the benefits we offer.
It’s really that easy when you choose LocalExpress!