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Dealing with Products with Short Shelf Lives

If you’re a B2C business in the food and beverage industry, you should always have sell-by dates in the back of your mind. Not paying attention to the shelf life of your products can cause numerous problems for your business. Such problems include lost money if a product goes out of date and sick customers if you accidentally sell products that have gone out of date – which could also lead to the problem of a potential lawsuit. You also have the sometimes unpleasant task of disposing of the expired product.


Therefore, when dealing with products that have short shelf lives, a strategic business plan is important.


Following are some ways to ensure that products don’t reach their sell-by dates before you can get them off your shelves.

Buy Strategically

Keep track of your sales by product, and pay attention to how much you sell of a given product over the course of its shelf life. Use this information to forecast how much product, and when, to purchase in the future. If you find that a particular product with a short shelf life often goes out of date before you can sell it, you might decide that that is an item that should remain understocked to avoid excess waste.

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Utilize Business Management Software

A good enterprise resource planning (ERP) system will keep track of your inventory and each item’s sell-by date. You can define limits and be alerted when an item reaches your user-defined limit – a month before the sell-by date, two weeks before, etc.

Such software will also help you make more strategic purchasing decisions. The data collected by the software will make forecasting easier and more accurate.

Place Products Nearing Their Sell-by Date at Eye Level

If your products are getting a little too close to their sell-by date for comfort, get them out of your inventory and onto your shelves – at your customers’ eye level. People notice things at their eye level before they notice anything else, so this strategy gives you a much better chance of making a sale in time for the sell-by date.

Offer Coupons and Special Sales

Offering to sell your inventory items that are close to their sell-by date for a cheaper price will gain the attention of thrifty customers who are looking to save some money and aren’t particularly concerned with sell-by dates.


Being more strategic about your inventory items and paying close attention to their sell-by dates will create less waste and improve your bottom line.


Making smart decisions about shelf life, however, is only one facet of having a successful food and beverage business. Southeast Computer Solutions can help you with all those facets – contact us today to learn how to have a more efficient and profitable business.


About Southeast Computer Solutions

Southeast Computer Solutions is based in Miami, Florida, and has additional operations in Mexico. For over 30 years, we have positively impacted the success of small and mid-sized businesses with effective business management implementations that improve our clients’ operations. We listen, we are accessible, and we care. Learn more by visiting our website or calling 305-556-4697.


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