Over the years, digital transformation has hardly left any landscape untouched. So much so that the traditional retailing businesses can also feel its effect. While many retailers shifted to the e-commerce model, there are still others who are contesting the change. But, still, the difference isn’t technology void. In other words, even the traditional retail stores are challenging e-commerce with the help of digital technology. And one such technology is Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL).
What Are Electronic Shelf Labels: An Introduction To ESL Environment
In this article, we’ll have a brief understanding of what ESL is and how it works. Keep reading to learn more.
A Short History Lesson
The very first electronic shelf label was created in 1992 and installed in 1993. And since then, it has evolved a lot. They were initially called Store Electronic Systems (SES).
The first generation of ESLs used liquid crystal displays and infrared technology to communicate. The display looked a lot similar to that of a calculator.
The second generation of ESLs used an E-paper display and communicated over radio frequencies. This allowed a better viewer experience while facilitating long-distance communication between devices.
The third generation of ESLs, which is also currently in use, is an improvement over the second-gen. As per the experts, SES-Imagotag Electronic labels come with features like NFC and cloud-based connectivity. They enable store owners to manage their inventories in a better way and keep track of their goods.
Principle in progress
Typically, ESLs come with wireless communication and a low-power CPU to reduce power consumption. Here is a walkthrough of the general principle in working.
Label Management Software
A label management software is typically a centralized server that controls the label. It is this software that helps create a network of IoT retailing devices with the help of ESLs.
The management software can control what ESL displays, but it needs an interface to communicate with the devices. A communication station helps fulfill this requirement.
This is the actual display or the digital price tag. It also functions as a receiver of the information from label management software over a communication station.
How it benefits retailers?
The primary reason for creating digital labels for retail stores was to reduce labeling costs. Paper labels are cumbersome to manage and add up to the overall costs of running a retail store. On the other hand, digital displays eliminated the need for constantly creating and changing paper labels. Thus, reducing the cost.
There are other benefits for the retailers as well.
The current generation of ESLs allows real-time pricing of the products in the store. Any change in the pricing can be updated in no time with just a click of a button. Thus, improving customer experience.
With geo-tagging and real-time tracking, ESLs can also help retailers generate customer heat maps. Thus, allowing retailers to stock relevant products in areas where customers are more likely to visit.
Last but not least is inventory management. This is an added feature of real-time tracking of the goods in the store. Retailers can quickly identify which products need replenishment and which ones would need more effort to sell.
In a nutshell, electronic shelf labels are an innovative replacement for traditional paper tags. And they are proven effective in engaging and bringing in repeat customers.