Your Guide to Grocery Inventory Management

Grocery inventory management can be extremely tricky, given the vast number of different products your stock incorporates. From figuring out case breaking to grappling with sales trends, inventory management challenges range from the product-specific to storewide. 

If you’re looking to streamline your market’s operations, read on for grocery inventory management features you can’t do without. 

Unlimited SKU Availability

At your market, you likely sell hundreds of different products – and are probably considering adding a few hundred more. When managing your inventory, make sure you use point of sale software that offers unlimited SKU availability. After all, your management software should be supporting your business’ growth — not limiting it.

Pay attention to pricing, too — many point of sale providers support adding more SKUs to your system, but it comes at an additional cost. Ideally, you want to choose a POS system that supports thousands of products without any added fees.

Ability to Sell Products by Weight 

Given the varied nature of a market’s stock – fresh produce, deli meats, dairy – most grocers sell items by weight. This can complicate inventory tracking, as you will need software that can accommodate the sale of individual weight units of a product against total inventory. 

It also impacts your checkout process: At a grocery store, it traditionally entails weighing items on a basic scale, manually keying the data into your checkout system, and ringing up your customer accordingly. This disconnect between your grocery scale and checkout system can cost you in terms of time and effort. 

A point of sale system with scale integration can make this aspect of grocery inventory management much simpler. Modern POS systems offer hardware like in-counter scanner scales (which can double as a barcode scanner, expediting your process), or a standalone scanner scale that integrates with POS software, so that weight and price of product are automatically communicated to the point of sale. 

Case Breaking

As a grocery retailer, you’re likely familiar with the problem of case breakage while tallying inventory. Case breaks are the process of splitting a case of product from a distributor into smaller units to sell in packs of variable sizes. 

For example, bottled beverages are frequently delivered to stores in cases of 24. Grocery store owners can sell the 24-bottle case, break the case into 4 packs of 6 bottles, or sell the case as single bottles. These size options may use the same UPC code, or different ones — and this process can make inventory tracking more challenging. 

Grocery inventory management, once again, can be made easier with industry-specific POS software. Many boast case break inventory tracking, allowing you to keep an accurate stock count. For example, IT Retail’s case-break inventory feature allows your business to automatically link cases of products to individual bottles. That way, when you break a case, you don’t have to worry about how to track different unit sizes in your inventory. 

Smart Reporting 

Reporting is important for all small businesses, but given the sheer volume and diversity of grocery store products (all from different vendors), it’s essential for grocers. Reporting allows store owners to keep track of their inventory in real time and make informed decisions about what products to stock, and when to restock them. 

Modern grocery management software offers smart reporting on another level. IT Retail, for example, can combine recent sales trends with  stock data and previous purchase orders to create  comprehensive and up-to-date inventory reports. Using these, you can easily and intuitively create purchase orders to maximize profits by making sure high performers are always in stock, and minimize losses by preventing overstocking of items that aren’t selling as well. 

POS software can help you change your inventory habits based on past data, and it  can also help you make inventory decisions in real time. Many POS solutions offer low product level alerts and notifications. As the store owner, you can set minimum inventory levels for each of your products based on supply and demand trends. Once your product hits its minimum, grocery management software will auto-generate a purchase order to ensure your market inventory numbers stay at customer-satisfaction levels. 

Grocery Inventory Management and Your Store 

You may have noticed a common theme in this guide: Grocery management software. Though you can tackle market inventory challenges individually, POS solutions really are an invaluable tool for grocery store owners looking to consolidate their management, streamline their operations and improve their financial performance. 

By providing real-time insights into inventory, sales, and finances, grocery management software helps store owners make informed decisions about their business and better serve their customers. And its benefits don’t stop there – grocery management software can even help you with store security and employee management. 

Ready to improve your business? Schedule a demo with our team to get started on making a small investment that will have a BIG impact on your bottom line.