Timing is everything, and the time for ESLs is now

Emma Stevens

As humans, it is in our DNA to constantly evolve and create the next “big thing” that will change how we live and work. From the invention of the wheel to the creation of the Internet, our technological advances have always come with reason – a better way to harvest food, more efficient ways to travel or more enhanced platforms for communication – and they’ve always developed at a time when they are most needed.

Mobile shopping

When the concept known as “e-commerce” was developed, little did we know it would open the door to an entirely new way of shopping, due in large part to the rise of mobile devices and smartphones. It was perfect timing. Since then, shoppers have been taught to want and expect more from retailers and brands. They are not satisfied with the ability to just shop and engage with retailers in one channel, they want the ability to physically “be” in one channel, research a product in another and complete the transaction in a completely different channel – all in a seamless manner.  

These desires have recently been echoed in Accenture’s “Seamless Retail Survey Results 2015” report, which highlights shoppers’ desires to have more digital experiences in store. Highlights of the report include:

• Shoppers in the report indicated their demand for transparency, consistency and convenience across channels. Eighty-two percent expect a retailer’s prices to be the same in store and online. (The report shows that only 34% of retailers surveyed had same pricing for more than 80% of the items assessed)

• Although survey respondents are slightly less comfortable providing their personal information, 51% said they would definitely use services via their mobile phones that allow them to gather loyalty points and savings. As well, 48% really want to be able to receive real-time promotions, yet only 5% of retailers have this capability   Shoppers today want the best of everything, and that includes having unique in-store experiences without the worry they may be missing out on a better deal from the online store.   The timing couldn’t be better for electronic shelf labels.  

In a recent study conducted by ABI Research, ESL revenues are expected to increase six fold to almost US $2billion by 2019 over the next five years. ESLs will become a key link in the retail technology chain, bringing future potential around dynamic pricing, positive showrooming, tightly integrated in-store advertising, redemption, loyalty and analytics.   More than just another piece of in-store technology, electronic shelf labels have the ability to eliminate some of the in-store issues retailers face, including out-of-stocks, inconsistent pricing across channels and better in-store engagement. Retailers now recognise that they need to bring the internet into the store. On an ecommerce site, we are all used to checking peer reviews, doing a price comparison and checking product information, so why can’t you do all of that in store? Retailers around the world have realised the many benefits electronic shelf labels can bring to their organisations, and it won’t be long before they become a normal part of the shopping experience.   Or rather, it is only a matter of time.  

Sarah Todd Marketing Manager Displaydata

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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