While it’s true that labor shortages in the grocery stores themselves have contributed to some of the issues related to out-of-stocks on the shelf, the root cause of the problem lives much farther up the supply chain.
According to CNN, supply chain issues have caused many leading food brands to give their grocery store customers a heads up that they may not be able to fill all product orders and may be limiting quantities. CNN quotes Steve Schwartz of New York-based Morton Williams stores as saying that his organization is sourcing products from secondary suppliers to help fill in the gaps left by the inability of their primary sources to fill their orders.
IRI reports that inventory levels for food products – frozen, refrigerated and general items – were about 14% out of stock for the week ending October 24. Prior to 2020, those totals averaged between 7% and 10% out of stock.
But oftentimes there is plenty of backstock and products simply needing to be replenished on the shelves.
“Research has shown that grocers lose about 8% of their sales because of products missing from the shelves,” said Joe Crum, Director of Marketing and eCommerce for Retail Space Solutions. “That could be from true out of stocks, where the store just doesn’t have the product in inventory, but many more times it’s a situation where products have been misplaced or hidden, masking the need for restocking. Or because of the time required to stock shelves, some stores simply don’t have the resources to keep up.”
That’s why it’s become critical for store managers to find systems that will help them get products from shipping box to the shelf as quickly and with as little disruption as possible.
Pusher displays can be key tools that speed stocking for staff and product selection for shoppers and order pickers. Because pusher display systems automatically keep shelves in order, stockers need to simply load empty or near-empty slots with new products without having to first straighten and condition products. “That means the time it takes to restock certain products can be cut by up to 50%,” Crum said.
Retail Space Solutions offers a full line of pusher displays, which are designed to work everywhere from frozen and refrigerated sections to the center of the store. These systems feature a pusher paddle that keeps products front-faced at all times for quicker buying decisions. The pusher is designed to provide just the right tension to hold stock securely in place while also allowing for easy product removal.
Crum notes that beyond the speed of stocking, pusher display systems bring several other important advantages, which are especially important today. Because their pusher action automatically front-faces products on the shelf, shoppers are given the impression that a section is fully stocked, which boosts their overall impression of a store.
That’s of particular note for the frozen section, in which shoppers want to make their selections quickly so they can get to the checkout and into their vehicles. Grocers that have installed pusher trays in their freezers have also reduced the frustration customers feel when searching through cluttered and disorganized shelves. Plus, keeping the frozen peas out of the broccoli section can make for a better experience for stockers too.
“The longer someone has to search for their frozen products, the more unhappy they become,” Crum said. “Beyond the cold that they’re exposed to inside the freezer doors, they want to get those products into their home freezers as quickly as possible.”
Learn more about the full line of pusher display systems available from Retail Space Solutions by calling 800-279-5291 or by visiting retailspacesolutions.com.