Elspark Pick n Pay is now using Pricer electronic shelf labels (ESL) for 13 950 of its SKUs in various departments throughout the store, the digital price tags that make it part of a global trend to digitalise retail stores for customer convenience.
Benefits of the Pricer ESLs from NEC XON Retail are that they are always attached to the shelf, unlike paper labels that can be lost, they quickly show customers any specials that may be running, they completely eradicate manual price updates for as many as 4 500 prices on some days which means customers are assured prices are always correct, and, most importantly, they give owner Dimitri Elia shelf-edge access to a lot of information about sales, stock, and more so customers always get the products they want.
“The system gives you a lot of functionality,” he says, “and you can get all the information you want right at the shelf by using the remote control to query individual items. I’ve found the rate of sale to be particularly useful but you can query a lot of information, such as the stockholding at the DC, in your stores, when orders were placed, how much was ordered, and a lot more. It’s this type of functionality that the top retailers in the world are using to keep up to date and give customers the very latest technologies and convenience.”
Knowing that information, says Elia, ensures he allocates more shelf space for popular products and minimises that for less popular products.
“You may have four different types of gherkins, for example,” he says, “each one with an equal share of the shelf. But customers maybe prefer two brands, which you can see very quickly by checking the label right there at the shelf, without having to write down a product, go back to the PC in the office, run a query, then return to the shelf. You just see it, right there, and you can make your adjustments with the merchandisers. It’s quick and effective.”
Minesh Manga, senior manager at NEC XON Retail, says: “Monday morning price updates were understandably a challenge for Dimitri and his 13 merchandisers before the Pricer labels were installed. There is no way you can perform so many updates in a short space of time without a few errors creeping in.”
Elia says: “You can imagine getting up to 4 500 updates from head office, printed out in batches and not all of them necessarily products you stock. So you have to sort them first. Then you sort them again based on which aisles they’re in, and assign merchandisers to handle each of the aisles, and then they go out to the shelves and attach the new labels. Sometimes the labels get lost or they don’t get attached in the right place because people make a mistake. So you have to go afterwards and check everything. It takes a lot of time and it can be a real challenge. Now we don’t even get involved. It’s just automatic.”
Elia says the labels also help to eliminate other challenges typical to retail environments, such as shrinkage.
“When you print that many new labels in one day the merchandisers can inadvertently attach an incorrect price to a product and you may end up having to sell a nine-fin heater for R24,99. It’s that sort of thing that can ruin your margins and ultimately the trust that customers have in your prices,” he says. “Customers quickly get frustrated when they can’t find a label, if they think the prices may be wrong, and so they don’t buy the product. With the digital labels we give them the peace of mind they need.”