West Pack Lifestyle the first retailer in SA to use graphic electronic shelf labels throughout stores

11 Mar, 2015
Minesh Manga, director at XON Retail

West Pack Lifestyle in Vanderbijlpark is the first South African retailer to employ Pricer graphic electronic shelf labels (ESL) throughout its store.

The progressive, family-owned and run retailer wants to begin rolling the Pricer ESL system out to the remainder of its seven corporate stores during the course of 2015 while its first franchisee, in Thabazimbi, will retain the option to implement.

“We recently revamped the interior of our stores,” says Nelio da Silva, operational manager at West Pack Lifestyle, “and the new graphic labels complement the upmarket look we achieved. They do not look like the common LED type labels that other stores have, they are more attractive and therefore more eye catching for our customers, yet they offer the full benefits of digital electronic shelf labels connected directly to our operational system.”

Da Silva adds that Pricer was chosen after evaluating both it and a competitor product because XON Skydirect, the sole authorised African distributor of Pricer products, could install the system with minimal disruption to his business.

West Pack Lifestyle stocks a deep range of household categories including glassware, plasticware, stationery, pet care, and packaging as well as non-perishable food products. It has grown since 1996 from a warehouse in Krugersdorp where it focused primarily on packaging supply, such as polystyrene trays, plastic bags and other basic packaging materials including reams of white paper. Today, after growing through several stages, its seven stores are each nearly 3 000 square feet. They are in Vanderbijlpark, the Lifestyle Garden Centre in Randpark Ridge, Alberton, Benoni, Blairgowrie, Boksburg, Kolonnade Retail Park in Pretoria, and Krugersdorp. These stores collectively serve hundreds of thousands of customers per month.

“West Pack Lifestyle has grown significantly in the past 19 years,” says Minesh Manga, director at Skydirect, an XON company. “With the volume of items they stock in store, the markets they serve and the increasingly competitive retail market, they stand to benefit enormously in terms of customer loyalty, satisfaction and operational efficiencies.”

“We have over 12 000 items in each of our stores and that means updating prices can be a difficult and time-consuming task,” says Da Silva. “Many customers can walk through stores paying the old price in the time it takes you to update thousands of prices and that means that either we lose money or the customer does – neither of which is a situation we want.”

“The Pricer system, though, is so easy to use and it updates thousands of prices a minute,” he says. “We also know the prices are correct because you can interrogate the labels to check what price they’re displaying. The Pricer system is also integrated directly into our operational system, React, all of which is backed up so even if there is a problem the system sorts itself out when it restarts.”

He adds that the Pricer ESL system offers information such as rate of sale, displays whether or not orders have been placed when interrogated, and numerous additional useful information to ensure smooth running of the store and optimal customer satisfaction.

West Pack Lifestyle is using the SmartTAG HD200, SmartTAG HD110, SmartTAG HD Large Display and SmartTAG HD Medium Display labels from Pricer. These range in size from 161 x 97mm down to 48 x 20mm. The displays appear similar to electronic reader devices, as if they are plain paper, yet they are digital and support a range of programmable text and graphic options. Product information is initially entered by simply scanning the product barcode, which makes it simple and easy to use while eliminating the risk of human error. The tags are battery operated with life expectancy of between five and eight years. They are securely affixed to shelves and require a fair amount of force to remove, which makes them tamper resistant, yet a fitment tool makes them quick and easy for managers to shift if so desired.

The SmartTAG HD range of labels offer a crisp display that is viewable in a 170 degree arc with low reflection in all indoor lighting conditions. They can display images of product, QR codes, barcodes, other graphics, prices, promotions, photographs, and product information.

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