Category Archives: Supermarket management

Can Great Customer Service Reduce Shrink?

We all know about shrink… the loss of product inventory.

But a recent article published on offered some interesting perspective for supermarkets on how they might reduce shrink.

As you most likely are aware, shrink falls into two categories—operation management issues and theft. When shrink occurs in a supermarket, it differs from the retailers based on grocery items expiring. Supermarket shrinkage is usually higher than all retailers.

The article went on to cite a 2012 shrink study by The Retail Control Group, which indicated:

  • Operational factors contributed to around 2/3 of all retail shrink
  • Shoplifting accounted for 36 percent of all theft-related shrinkage
  • Cashiers account for 31 percent of theft and general employees another 25 percent
  • Vendor theft accounts for the remaining 8 percent of theft-related shrink


The article offered a few thoughts on reducing shrink.

  • Correcting ordering and receiving processes while maintaining an integrity driven inventory count, can help minimize losses from inventory problems
  • Minimizing damaged products by handling products carefully will add to the reduction of losses
  • The best ways to minimize theft is though great customer service, and by conducting thorough background checks when hiring employees
  • Train and compensate appropriately while maintaining positive working conditions (engagement!) to reduce internal theft by employees

For additional perspective on shrink and other common challenges faced by supermarkets, you might like to review this free whitepaper, “Supermarket Challenges & Opportunities” on our website.

The “Customer of One” Approach to Supermarket Marketing

In a recent article posted on, Gary Hawkins, founder and CEO of Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART) shared some interesting perspective on current marketing trends used in supermarkets and other sectors of the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry.

Comparing traditional marketing practices and costs with the newer “customer of one” approach, Hawkins paints an intriguing picture of how supermarkets, manufacturers (brands), and consumers might simultaneously enjoy the benefits of leveraging today’s technology.

“Let’s imagine you are a brand manufacturer and you have just one customer to focus on; let’s call him Joe,” he writes.

“You would want to learn all you could about Joe, but most importantly, you would want to know how often he purchases from your product category and your share of his category business. You would also want to understand Joe’s brand loyalty and discount propensity.

“Armed with this knowledge, you would then want to promote to Joe just before he’s due to make his next category purchase, aligning brand promotion activity to Joe’s purchasing cycle, ideally communicating the right offer (knowing Joe’s discount propensity) at the right time (easy to do in today’s digital world), and in the right place (including in the store as he’s approaching the category).

Over time, you would want to grow Joe’s value to your brand by increasing his purchase frequency, up-selling and cross-selling into larger package sizes, multiple units, and related products.”

The “customer of one” method enables the brand as well as the supermarket to enjoy more regular patronage and sales revenue while spending less of their marketing budget, while the customer enjoys the benefit of shopping with less effort and at lower cost.

And, as noted in various other posts, it seems the trend toward customer-driven decision-making continues…

Martin’s Supermarkets Adopts New Food Safety Compliance Solution

A recent EIN News article reported that Martin’s Supermarkets has started using Park City Group’s ReposiTrak® compliance management solution to manage regulatory and business documentation compliance within their supply chain.

“Martin’s Super Markets is the latest retailer to recognize the advantages of using ReposiTrak to reduce brand, regulatory and financial risk in their supply chain,” said Randall K. Fields, Chairman and CEO of Park City Group. “Their commitment to food safety and transparency for their customers makes us proud to have them utilize our system.”

Family-owned and managed since 1947, Martin’s operates 22 full-service supermarkets in Indiana and Michigan.

Grocery Stewardship Certification – Saving More than Just Money!

The Grocery Stewardship Certification Program (GSC) helps grocers enhance their operational sustainability with a proven methodology that provides for consistency and accountability. The key objectives are to review store-level practices and equipment with an eye to increasing energy efficiency, boosting revenue and lowering costs.

According to a recent post on LinkedIn’s Grocery Executive Network,  two retail chains – Hannaford Supermarkets and Weis Markets – have enrolled all of their stores in the program.

“Weis Markets has used the Grocery Stewardship Certification program to engage with our employees in new ways and as a tool to show our customers that we are always looking to adopt new sustainable practices,” said Patti Olenick, sustainability director for Weis Markets.

“Hannaford has found tremendous benefit from our work with the Grocery Stewardship Certification program,” said George Parmenter, Manager of Sustainability, Hannaford Supermarkets. “Using the workbooks for the second time, we’ve found a number of areas where our staff and procedures have significantly improved. Through assessing our work, the GSC has helped us to quantify our sustainability efforts as saving us more than $23 million per year.”

The article goes on to state that while there are a number of programs that focus on high performance buildings, the GSC program is the only certification program to expand into employee practices and procedures to engage all stores within a chain.

Creativity Tops the List for Attracting Supermarket Shoppers

In a January post we shared some of the top supermarket trends for the New Year that were published in Supermarket News.

At about the same time, Jim Gold of shared some interesting statistics about the frequency with which we visit the supermarket, the average amount we spend per trip, and what supermarkets might be planning as a result.

“We go to the store a lot,” Gold said in the article that was published on by CBS Money Watch. ”

“Americans spent about $638 billion a year at supermarkets in 2014, according to the Food Marketing Institute. However, our average tab, it says, is just $29.90 per visit. Customers averaged 1.5 visits a week in 2015, the institute says.”

His article went on to quote John Karolefski, veteran supermarket analyst who runs, who suggested grocers will be getting creative to enliven what has been a mundane chore, and to entice shoppers to continue visiting stores (versus on-line shopping) and to spend more during each trip.

Karolefski identified the top trends he expects we’ll see over the course of 2016, which include:

  1. Digitizing… More retailers will connect with smartphone-carrying shoppers, especially millennials who will account for most grocery purchases as they start families.
  2. Entertainment! Operators of large supermarkets will lure customers with special events, including more product sampling, nutritional tours and cooking demonstrations.
  3. Dining… Many new large supermarkets include a café with a light menu.

Read the full article…

Increased Demand for Advanced Food Packaging

According to an article posted on, changes in food processing methods are impacting packaging needs.  Manufacturers rethinking operations to meet FSMA requirements may address issues of food safety by using more advanced packaging for their products.

The article listed several key issues, including:

  • Three factors driving this growth are demand for hygienic packaging, development of innovative packaging solutions, and consumer engagement.
  • Food safety, shelf life, use of fresh and/or natural ingredients, and smart packaging may come into play for manufacturers when making decisions about advanced packaging and materials.


Customer-Driven Decision-Making on the Rise in Supermarkets

Businesses of every type strive to satisfy their customers, and certainly the supermarket business is not different. One key component to this decision-making should be the “voice of the customer,” and this trend seems to be on the rise based on a recent SupermarketNews article.

The piece focuses on fresh foods, which for some time have been surging at retail. But what’s interesting is the perspective shared by Editor-in-Chief David Orgel, who writes, “The biggest opportunities lie in understanding key trends and avoiding a one-size-fits-all mentality.”

The article goes on to report that retailers are being urged to diversify their decisions based on the needs of different customer-base segments and trends. Three of the trends that are being driven by consumer demand are:

  1. Transparency
  2. Convenience
  3. The digitally connected consumer

Another good example of learning from customers in an effort to better serve them!

Top 2016 Supermarket Trends

Interactions, provider of retail service and experiential marketing for retailers and brands, made the following predictions in a recent article:

1. Improved Transparency and Distribution: There will be “less bad, more good,” meaning more products will be introduced with less sugar, less salt,  fewer words you can’t pronounce, and so on.

2. Closing the Digital Divide: The digital shift in retail will continue, leaving brick-and-mortar retailers needing to find better ways to compete effectively in the digital space.

3. Retailers Take More Control of Shelves: Decisions about which items to carry and where to place items on shelves will be more driven by analytics than by brand bias.

Read the full article…

A Personal Method of Engaging Supermarket Customers?

Wegmans Food Markets has been highly ranked for its reputation, and the retailer’s Senior Vice President of Consumer Affairs Mary Ellen Burris has had a large hand in that, as well in engaging customers, reports Meg Major in a recent Progressive Grocer article.

The article suggests that today’s shoppers increasingly rely on retailers to serve as trusted authorities as opposed to being merely product aggregators, and it is in this specific area that Burris has had a strong personal impact.

Best known for her weekly column “Fresh Stories” in Wegmans’ ads, Burris began her career at Wegmans in 1971.

“Burris’ trustworthy and transparent approach to Wegmans’ consumer response, customer service, food safety, public relations and sustainability includes her weekly, straightforward columns that give customers an inside look into the retailer’s operations,” Major said.

“Beyond solidifying the trust and respect of Wegmans shoppers through the years, Burris’ pioneering, peek-behind-the-curtain counsel, in her longtime role as the voice of consumers, serves as a rich and inspiring narrative for other forward-thinking retailers to emulate as they seek new ways to build and nurture closer bonds with consumers.”

There are many different ways in which to engage customers. Since  trust, advocacy and communication all play critically-important roles, it seems that Wegmans has a strong champion in the form of Ms. Burris.

Market Basket Saga Now a Book

Several of last year’s posts followed the Market Basket story as it unfolded, noting the high-level of customer loyalty and engagement. A recent Supermarket News article reported that the extraordinary story of Market Basket’s summer of turmoil is now a book.

Authors Daniel Korshun and Grant Welker’s “We Are Market Basket: The story of the unlikely grassroots movement that saved a beloved business” retells the story of the family feud leading to the firing of popular company president Arthur T. Demoulas, and the employee-led walkout that virtually shut down the chain until Demoulas reached a deal to buy out family members six weeks later.

The authors also say they were unable to gather comment from opponents of the shutdown.

Read the full article…