The ESL Revolution is here and U.S. shoppers are ready to adapt

Emma Stevens

Let’s face it; shopping trips can be a hassle sometimes. Whether shopping for food, clothing, big-ticket items or a variety of other products, it’s hard for an individual to know exactly how to navigate a store according to their needs. The growing tendency to rely on mobile devices for guidance and the acceptance of technology as an integral part of everyday life affects how the retail sector now caters to its customers.


Our recent research with PlanetRetail revealed that 67% of shoppers said they think technology improves the in-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 retailers seek innovative ways to match these evolving preferences, Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) are proving themselves as a force to be reckoned with. This technology allows retailers to display not only pricing, but promotions and a wealth of product information, at the shelf edge in the store – where over 80% of buying decisions are made.

A new way to view prices and product information in the store

Increased desires for pricing accuracy, dynamic pricing and digital engagement call into question the practice of manual labels and signage changes related to pricing and promotions. Consumer trust is relatively low when it comes to the belief that all prices are displayed correctly, with only 43% always trusting that the prices on display will be the same paid at the checkout. ESLs provide a way for retailers to boost sales, protect margins, improve associate utilization and consistently manage price and promo strategies across all channels

Long, crowded aisles can be overwhelming enough. Unclear or inaccurate labeling just throws more confusion into the mix. When shoppers see accurate and engaging ESLs, their receptiveness to learning about a product increases. If a specific shopper is inclined to read a label, they will receive relevant information about that product, helping to influence the decision to buy.

It’s like online shopping, but in the physical realm

PlanetRetail RNG estimates that ecommerce will account for 25% of all global modern chain retail sales by 2022, up from 8% in 2012. Though ecommerce growth continues to soar, 90% of sales are still completed in a physical store. As such, retailers are tasked with creating a more digital, connected physical shopping experience.

Online shopping consists of up-to-date information about prices, the leading type of information shoppers want to see displayed, and personalized offers for customers based on their purchase history. However, this experience doesn’t have to be confined to a laptop, phone or tablet. ESLs allow retailers to control and drive in-store pricing and promotions with speed, agility and consistency, providing a journey to customers that resembles shopping online.

The ESL surge is encouraging U.S. shoppers to adapt

The trend of digital transformation isn’t slowing down anytime soon. In fact, IDC analysts project worldwide spending on digital transformation will be nearly $2 trillion by 2022, achieving a five-year compound annual growth rate of 16.7%. Across ten countries and nearly 5,000 consumers surveyed by PlanetRetail, ESLs specifically ranked as a top technology shoppers want to see in stores, with 31% selecting the device as a digital service they desire.

As ESLs gain ground among U.S. retailers, consumers are likely to have no problem adapting. Already familiar with real-time updates and consolidated information, ESLs complement the lives of many shoppers. The must-have technology will become standard practice, leaving retailers who don’t adapt behind.

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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