3 Ways Expiration Date Tracking Technology Helps Grocery Retailers Boost Performance in 2020

Sep 23, 2020 10:15:36 AM

Retail | Operations

Grocery retail has faced a unique set of problems throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Supermarkets have had to remain open for the duration of the crisis, which means that, unlike a lot of other retailers, they’re doing pretty well financially right now.

In fact, take-home grocery sales grew by 17% in the 12 weeks leading up to 12 July 2020 - the fastest growth rate since 1994.

However, the past six months have been far from easy for them. The initial stockpiling panic many stores experienced at the beginning of lockdown may have subsided, but the continued adherence to social distancing measures and strict health and safety procedures has employees run off their feet and resources stretched thinner than ever.

One silver lining we can take from COVID-19, though, is that it is forcing retailers to adapt and modernize - even if they were previously reluctant to change their ways.

For grocery retailers, expiration date tracking is one of the best technologies at their disposal to streamline operations and make life easier for hardworking store teams. Expiration date tracking automates the manual checking of product expiration dates and gives store teams complete visibility into what's about to expire.

Here are three ways expiration date tracking can improve store performance for grocery retailers as we head towards a post-COVID-19 future.

RELATED: 4 Reasons Why Every Grocery Retailer Needs Expiration Date Tracking Technology

1. It cuts costs

Grocery retailers have been learning to do more with less for years. But now, with further budget cuts and the logistical difficulties that come with social distancing measures, they have to get even more creative with their limited resources.

Even before COVID-19, the cracks in the grocery supply chain were beginning to show. Over 40% of food waste occurred at retail and consumer level, and was costing retailers around $1.2 trillion a year.

The beginning of lockdown was a particularly difficult period, with panic-buyers clearing the shelves and creating unnecessary food shortages. The severity of these shortages highlighted the flaws in the system; inefficient supply chains and “just-in-time” inventory management meant that the second demand increased, stores simply couldn’t cope.

Expiration date tracking helps regulate supply chain issues by ensuring that stores aren’t over- or under-stocked, and aren’t forced to throw out expired products that can’t be sold.

2. It improves productivity

We’ve always said that store employees are the unsung heroes of retail, but the pandemic has made everything ten times harder for these valuable key workers.

On top of not having the luxury of working from home, they have to contend with a greatly increased demand for groceries, limited capacity in-store due to social distancing measures, fewer staff on the rota, and more health and safety tasks to complete.

With their time and attention split so many different ways, it’s inevitable that the quality of the work will suffer somewhat.

Manually checking the expiry date on every single item in a store is a waste of store employees’ scarce and valuable time.

Expiration date tracking, on the other hand, digitizes this time-consuming but essential task, freeing up your employees to get on with their other duties and provide your shoppers with stellar customer service.

Related Download: A Guide to Improving Supermarket Operational Efficiency

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3. It enhances brand loyalty

Today’s shopper is all about getting the best possible deal.

Many of us have been forced to tighten our belts because of the pandemic, and fewer people are going out to restaurants despite them having re-opened. We’re all cooking at home a lot more, and are looking to make the most of every product we buy - especially after the debacle of early lockdown.

Customers deciding to shop smarter, believe it or not, actually works out pretty well for grocery retailers - if they opt for an expiration date tracking software.

Expiration date tracking gives stores a complete overview of which products need to be sold first, enabling them to put offers on products nearing their expiry date. Offering handy discounts like this keeps budget-conscious customers coming back for more.

Furthermore, making a conscious effort to reduce food waste shows your customers that you are taking environmental concerns seriously. According to a recent study from Accenture, 67% of consumers believe that companies will be better served by investing in “longer-term, sustainable and fair solutions.”

Long before COVID-19 hit, consumer attitudes were shifting regarding the ethics of the brands they chose to buy from. They wanted to spend their hard-earned money on brands who aligned with their values - and this hasn’t changed. Even with circumstances limiting their options, customers will always go with what feels right, and showing you are committed to limiting food waste will help boost that elusive brand loyalty.

RELATED: 5 Ways Grocery Retailers Can Reduce Food Waste


YOOBIC's expiration date tracking technology makes managing expiring products simple, giving your store teams more time to do what they do best - serve customers.