Posts Tagged ‘electronic signage’

ECS5 Electronic Signage and Shelf Label Advantages

Posted on: November 11th, 2021

electronic shelf labels advantages

Today there is ever increasing pressure on retailers to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

ECS Global Inc. already helps many retailers improve communication consistency in store while also reducing labor costs using the Enterprise Communication Suite™. ECS5 extends our ability to drive electronic signage and digital displays in store.

ECS Global believes there is a positive ROI when using electronic signage but for each retailer, there is an appropriate blend of paper, ESL and Digital Media that gives the best blend of reduced labor, improved compliance, and competitive advantage.

ECS5 is able to drive all the elements of store communication from a single system, whether the output is traditional paper POS, ESL or Digital media, we are able to control from a single point.  This ensures consistency across all the different media types through a single management interface.

By choosing the correct blend of the available technologies it is possible to recognize the benefits of each unique output medium giving the best possible blend of cost savings, consistency, compliance, and shopper experience.

So, what are the advantages of electronic shelf edge labels and digital media within the store environment?  Or is this just an expensive way to deliver signage and labelling to the store?

This document will explore our thoughts on this subject based on our experiences with this technology over several years.

Is there an ROI on ESLs?

It is true that ESLs are significantly more expensive than paper labels so how can Electronic Shelf Labels achieve benefits without increased cost?

The most obvious advantage that ESLs bring is the ability to automate changes to shelf edge labels within each store.

This has potential to:

  • Improve compliance.
  • Reduce store labor.
  • Allow us to change more prices.
  • Dynamically compete on price.

Improved Compliance

electronic signage advantages

By automating the signage process with ESLs, issues of human error and missed signage is eliminated.

Near real time changes are possible ensuring that there is no delay between price changes and price label updates in the stores.

Reduce Store Labor

Significant savings can be made through store labor reductions. In an increasingly competitive world, there are more price changes and promotions than ever before.

If it takes on average 30 seconds for a store associate to deploy a new price label, labor savings using ESLs can be significant, especially on days when large promotions are starting or ending.

It is not uncommon for larger retailers to produce several thousand signs per day at peak promotional periods.

Allows us to change more prices

When signage is manual the process of putting new signage up and taking down old signage can be the limiting factor that dictates the maximum number of price changes that can be made on any single day.

Labor planning needs to happen well in advance making large numbers of price changes at short notice impractical to deploy.

Dynamically Compete on Price

Many retailers find it difficult to reliably deploy last minute price changes during the day because the process needs to be extremely flexible and in store processes find it difficult to reliably deal with unknown events.

Sophisticated and integrated workflow management needs to be deployed to reliably achieve this. ESLs can remove this burden.

What else should be considered?

Because of the high price of Electronic Shelf Labels when compared to paper it is not possible to take each benefit in isolation and prove a positive ROI.

Instead, we need to look at the blend of benefits used together to achieve a return.

Possibly the single most important factor is deciding where to deploy the ESLs.

For example, if I am in a large grocery retailer with 500 stores with an average range of 30,000 products per store, the cost of deploying ESLs across the entire estate is prohibitive. It is also likely that the majority of the products stocked are not high price volatile. In this case the ESL benefits of reducing store labor and dynamically competing on price are drastically diminished.

Changing a paper sign for a product every 3 months is a tiny cost when compared to deploying an ESL for the same product.

However, for items that are highly promotional the ESLs benefits start to come into their own. For items that are highly price volatile ESLs start to make a lot of sense. A single ESL could get through thousands of price changes during its lifetime without any human interaction and related cost, this is alongside the compliance improvements and the ability to compete effectively.

Updating the ESLs in store using ECS5 is straightforward and can be done at any time of the day or night and without the need for expensive IT oversight.

However, we have seen examples where the till systems may be restricted to overnight updates and cannot receive central price updates on demand. Clearly, this limitation can reduce some of the advantages of ESLs.

Extended ESL Features

To extend benefits of electronic shelf labels, additional features beyond the ability to show a price label are being added.

One of the common features found on modern ESLs is a bright LED that can be flashed on demand to attract attention.

This feature is increasingly used by in store pickers preparing orders for click and collect or home delivery services.

Are there downsides to ESLs?

Yes, when compared to paper the resolution available is much less than a budget laser printer can achieve. This can result in pixelated or blocky text and the need to use larger font sizes to make the text clear and readable.

The net result is that it is not possible to fit as much detail on an ESL when compared to the same size paper sign.

It is, however, true that much of the store facing information that is often printed on a paper sign is not required in an automated ESL environment.

In addition to the limited resolution, ESLs are usually available only in a limited two color or three-color formats. Although more colors are available, the cost rises rapidly with more colors.  When compared to full color printed material with vibrant images the ESLs come a distant second in terms of look and feel.

While it is possible to promote using ESLs in the same way as using paper shelf edge labels, marketing teams will possibly feel underwhelmed by Electronic Shelf Labels and are highly likely to want to support marketing campaigns with additional full color paper signage. Or increasingly with video signage.

This can reduce some of the ROI benefits of ESL as this promotional signage must be deployed and removed manually.

Smart Signage and Digital Media with ECS5

electronic price tag and signage solutions with ECS5

By Digital Media we are referring to the large TV screens which are capable of video as well as static images.

We often see TV screens in store turned off, playing out of date content or showing only the most generic of advertisements. The main reason for this is the effort involved in keeping the media up to date and relevant to the available in store promotions.

We have integrated our price and promotions systems into our media publishing systems so we are able to dynamically update price and promotions in near real time on advertisements throughout the store estate.

This can be mixed with video clips to create a composite media show that is always up to date and relevant to the promotions on offer at any time.

This is also able to deal seamlessly with differential store pricing and different store product ranging.

ECS Global believes there is a positive ROI when using electronic signage but for each retailer, there is an appropriate blend of paper, ESL and Digital Media that gives the best blend of reduced labor, improved compliance, and competitive advantage.

ECS5 is able to drive all the elements of store communication from a single system, whether the output is traditional paper POS, ESL or Digital media, we are able to control from a single point.  This ensures consistency across all the different media types through a single management interface.

By choosing the correct blend of the available technologies it is possible to recognize the benefits of each unique output medium giving the best possible blend of cost savings, consistency, compliance, and shopper experience.

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