How to Reduce Shrink through Accurate Ordering

How to Reduce Shrink through Accurate Ordering

Grocery retailers face a constant challenge in managing operational efficiency and profit margins, especially within the perimeter store departments such as meat, bakery, and produce. One critical pain point that demands immediate attention is the issue of shrink. In this blog, we delve into the transformative strategy of reducing shrink through accurate ordering to address the concerns of executives and offer insights into boosting profitability while ensuring optimal inventory levels. 

Understanding the Shrink Challenge 

Shrink, defined as the cumulative losses stemming from both perishable goods and unsold inventory, stands as a formidable threat to profit margins within the grocery retail sector. For grocers, the complexity of managing shrink, particularly in high-risk areas like the perimeter store departments, is quite challenging. Inaccurate ordering practices can lead to overstocking, waste, and markdowns, putting additional strain on profitability. 
Overstocking becomes a pervasive issue, where excess inventory not only ties up valuable capital but also occupies precious shelf space, hindering the potential for fresher, more in-demand products. This surplus often culminates in the unfortunate inevitability of waste, as perishable items reach their expiration dates without finding a place in consumers’ baskets. 

Moreover, inaccurate ordering contributes to the need for frequent markdowns, a practice that further exacerbates the strain on profitability. Markdowns are a reactive measure to move aging inventory swiftly, but they come at the cost of reduced profit margins.

How to Reduce Shrink through Accurate Ordering

The Role of Accurate Ordering 

Accurate ordering isn’t just a remedy for shrink; it’s a strategic approach that transforms the dynamics of inventory management in grocery retail. Leveraging advanced technologies and data analytics provides precise insights into consumer behavior, seasonal trends, and demand patterns, allowing executives and floor managers to make informed decisions and stock the right inventory at the right time.

Direct Shrink Reduction Through Precision Ordering 

Ordering with precision minimizes surplus, addressing the root cause of waste in grocery retail. By ordering what customers are likely to purchase, overstocking is mitigated, reducing the reliance on reactive waste reduction tactics such as expiry management, markdowns, and donations. 

Accurate ordering initiates a paradigm shift by addressing the root cause of shrink, making waste reduction tactics more strategic. Expiry management becomes a measured practice, focused on optimizing the utilization of products nearing the end of their shelf life. Markdowns transition from reactive clearance strategies to calculated measures balancing profitability and inventory turnover. Donations complement a streamlined inventory management system, rather than being the primary means of addressing surplus stock.

Strategies for Perimeter Store Departments 

Meat Departments 

  • Implement prescriptive analytics to anticipate customer preferences and seasonal demands. 
  • Utilize smart inventory management systems to monitor sell-through rates and adjust orders accordingly. 
  • Establish strategic partnerships with suppliers to ensure a steady supply chain and reduce the risk of overstocking or shortages. 


  • Adopt real-time data analytics to track the popularity of bakery items and adjust production schedules accordingly. 
  • Implement perpetual inventory systems to minimize waste and ensure freshly baked goods on the shelves. 
  • Leverage customer feedback and purchase data to innovate and introduce new, high-demand bakery products. 


  • Embrace IoT (Internet of Things) solutions for real-time monitoring of temperature and humidity to reduce spoilage. 
  • Implement tracking systems to prioritize the sale of perishable items with shorter expiration dates. 
  • Foster relationships with local farmers and suppliers for a more agile and responsive supply chain.

Comprehensive Impact on Profitability 

Accurate ordering not only aligns inventory with demand but reshapes waste reduction from firefighting to a proactive, calculated approach. Beyond direct savings from reduced waste, there are indirect benefits, including optimized pricing strategies, improved customer satisfaction, and enhanced brand reputation. 

In essence, accurate ordering tackles the root cause of shrink, positioning grocery retail organizations for a more agile, profitable, and environmentally conscious future.

About Invafresh

With a combined 500+ years of Freshology experience, the heritage of Invafresh has enabled fresh food retailers to create extraordinary store operations performance and differentiated customer experiences. As the leader of Freshology, Invafresh is deployed in over 350 grocery retailers spanning a global reach of 35 countries with more than $100 million of Fresh revenue being transacted daily, to provide AI/ML demand forecasting, merchandising, replenishment, and sustainability and compliance solutions.  

Learn more at About Us | Invafresh.

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