One of the reasons online sales continue to grow is that the shopping experience is becoming ever quicker and easier. What’s more, prices and promos can be changed at a click to capitalise on sales trends. And new ways are emerging for retailers to use the data they hold on shoppers to better target them with promotions and rewards – rewards which, by being more personalised, are more successful.
So, as we found at NRF last month, many retailers are looking at how to capture some elements of the digital experience and bring them into physical stores.
Blending virtual and real worlds
Our Electronic Shelf Labels are designed to help. They turn stores into digital, Positioned spaces that allow retailers to not only deploy price and promotions with the speed and accuracy they do online, but to run stores more efficiently and engage in new and interesting ways with shoppers.
Our latest developments take things further. Two new size labels, updates to our wireless communicator, and two new software features are geared towards improving experiences for shoppers and increasing store efficiencies and margins.
New labels and in-store hardware
Shoppers want to know more about products, from country of origin, to ingredients, competitors’ prices, organic certificates, social reviews and more. Our new Chroma 37 label has space to display almost any data, while our latest Chroma 12.5” ESL – an A4-sized display – takes this further, with room enough for side-by-side product spec lists – to help shoppers choose between new TVs, for example. Both labels are large enough for you to rent space to brands, creating a new income stream by allowing them to promote their products and bundles on your labels.
When we designed our ESL platform we made it enterprise class and a light infrastructure. For example, there’s no need to have servers in each store, you just need compact wireless communicators that are installed by bracket and powered over Ethernet. We’ve now extended the capability of each communicator, so it can manage over 200,000 labels across 50,000 square feet. And, by operating in the sub-1Ghz frequency range there’s no chance that other Wi-Fi networks will interfere with the system.
Our new applications include:
Flash and Collect: With flash and collect your associates can quickly find where a product should go when re-stocking shelves. Rather than painstakingly reading product labels, they can scan the barcode on each product and look for the flashing ESL to find the right location.
Scan to Position: Associates can now also benefit from smoother access to shelf information. The Scan to Position feature links a product, ESL, and a specific shelf location together in your Dynamic Central software. With a simple barcode scan, associates can see on their mobile device where a product should be or what should be on the shelf in front of them, making order pickup and replenishment more efficient – and improving planogram compliance.
While we’ve expanded our product offering, we’ve also been working on strategic partnerships.
Augmented retail: Closer to reality
At NRF, we demonstrated a new Augmented Reality app with location services leader Aisle 411, which allows retailers to develop searchable store maps.
Consumers will be able to use the app to search for products – by brand, UPC or a general term – and then navigate to their item through a top-down view of the store on their phone screen. The AR mode will also give information about products consumers look at through their phones, and enable them to discover promotions tailored to them, around the store, based on their shopping habits and preferences.
To ensure 90% of retail transactions continue to take place in-store, more and more retailers are looking to provide this kind of personalisation. By taking the appeal of online retail (speed, convenience, tailored offers) and using technologies like ESLs to incorporate it into the store experience, retailers can deliver the seamless, engaging experience consumers are looking for.