Let’s walk through the price tag operational process today. Depending on the size and location of the store, a typical week might include 1,000-2,000 price changes on a Monday, another 1,000 on a Wednesday and follow up changes Thursday or Friday. Every time price changes occur, someone has to do a lot of data entry adding the new pricing into the system, print the new prices, sort them and remove and replace the old price tags throughout the store which takes about three minutes per tag, adding up to hours to complete even a few isles of a store. Not only are we looking at the labor time associated with this process but ongoing product costs for ink cartridges, printer maintenance and paper. Can you really afford to not use electronic labels?
LED shelf labels can vary in size and range across an entire length of the shelf. Since they are LED, full color can be used and more information potentially displayed including customer reviews and ads. Readability of LED labels, however can be slightly more difficult to the eye for some.
Walmart did a test of both types in a small area of their store to gauge what will work best for their business and for consumers. The digital price tag is already used globally.
Switching to Electronic Shelf Labels saves more than just time or money, it’s about a better experience for the store and customers. Below are just some of the benefits of making the switch to the digital price tag.
This is a big one. Less staff is needed to swap out paper price tags and you can save time by automatically scheduling pricing updates. Simple as that.
Digital price tags may just look like a fancy way to display product pricing but it also has the ability to show more information including how many items are left of the product in the backroom. Stores can also tackle out-of-stock items before they occur by linking point-of-sale and inventory management tools freeing up even more staff time. For example, a shoe store can display all available sizes right on the display without ever needing staff to go check the back room for availability.
Due to the easy nature of changing prices across the store, there is less room for error and even if prices are changed incorrectly, it only takes a few seconds to make the correction on a digital price tag.
No more paper is used with the Electronic Shelf Labels so not only are you reducing the costs associated with paper, there is less ink, printers and maintenance required. What about the battery life for the e-tags? This has been the biggest concern and price influx over the years and it’s now at a place where batteries can last up to five years. Sure, you’re looking at staff time to change all of them out every five years which will sound like a big-time expense at that point but compared to paper price changes, you currently are doing that much work multiple times a week.
What does it cost you now to change paper prices? How many team members does it take and how long? Are the team members changing prices senior managers making them some of the most expensive labor on the floor? There is no answer that is the same since store variables such as size and location are unique for everybody.
The initial implementation of e-labels will require staff hours in order for the system to be set up and digital price tags implemented manually throughout the store. Upfront cost to purchase the labels, software and training for the team must also be taken into consideration. After all the set up and implementation, an important metric to consider is if it’s actually improving customer experience compared to the paper price tags?
Like any new platform, software or technology, it takes time to learn how to use it and truly understand the full suite of features and functionality. Limited use of an ESL system could result in mistakes leading to bottom line impacts, especially if prices or products are not updated correctly leaving customers frustrated and confused.