Research Shows that ESLs are the Future

Paul Milner

As brick and mortar retail face growing challenges, retailers must find innovative solutions to today’s problems. According to our research study with Planet Retail, 67% of shoppers think technology improves the store experience, 33% want offers sent to their mobile devices and 65% said they welcome agile pricing, where prices are subject to change throughout the day. As this research and recent McKinsey and Company reports suggest, electronic shelf labels (ESLs) could be the solution to today’s obstacles.

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“If You Aren’t Already Implementing Automation, You are Falling Behind”

As a retailer, your number one job is to satisfy and keep your customers happy. If consumers want more in-store technologies to help them along the shopping journey, then retailers must meet these desires. What technologies and innovations do consumers want? In our survey with Planet Retail, 31% of shoppers surveyed selected ESLs as a top technology service they wish were implemented in stores they shop in. As well, a new report from McKinsey and Company shows that ESLs will help enhance the customer experience and likely increase store profitability by 1-2%, along with other in-store assets to drive sales.

The ability to achieve limitless label changes using paperless and automated processes significantly reduces in-store costs and allows retailers to deploy more pricing and product updates with speed, agility and consistency. In fact, another McKinsey and Company report on automation in retail highlights how margins can be improved by 2-3% through the reduction of manual tasks. According to the report, “If you aren’t already implementing automation, you are falling behind.” This quote is important for retailers to keep in mind, especially with labour costs rising by 2-3%.

For further support on the need of automation in the store via ESLs, our research indicated that retailers worldwide spent $104 billion on manually changing price labels in 2017 alone. Switching to ESLs will open the door to more efficient dynamic pricing offering customers competitive and consistent price and promotions across in-store and online channels. Our research with Planet Retail emphasises the need for showcasing the right price, as this factor can make or break in-store sales for 80% of respondents.

Providing a Return on Investment

In another report from McKinsey and Company, research states that ESLs offer internal rates of return higher than historical rates. Despite these high rates of return, the report suggests that internal barriers are preventing the adoption of ESLs and other automation-driven technologies. McKinsey and Company especially calls out that retailers “struggle to break free from the soft tyranny of budget cycles and the replication of last year’s capital spending.” While the red tape can often be a burden, it’s important for retailers to take the leap towards a more efficient store. With Displaydata, this investment is one worth making considering our solution has the lowest total cost of ownership among competitors.

Along with accurate pricing, ESLs can display more information to deliver a further range of benefits to customers, such as access to the latest product information – nutritional information, source of origin, price per unit, online reviews and more. This is especially true in areas such as grocery, consumer electronics, pharmacy and DIY as examples where product information can change as quickly as the price.

Is Your Organisation Ready?

Creating a digitally connected environment gives retailers the opportunity to meet many evolving consumer expectations. As the McKinsey and Company reports state, “Retail leaders should act now to prepare their organisations for a technology-enabled revolution in customer experience and efficiency.” The data shows the ESLs are the best vehicle to make this happen, ensuring the store remains a fresh, engaging and rewarding place to visit.

About Displaydata

Our Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) bring the shelf-edge into the Internet of Things era, helping to create shopping experiences that are more engaging, rewarding and personalised – and profitable. We help retailers optimise sales and margin at the shelf-edge, where 90% of purchases are still made.

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