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Smart Retail: How to Achieve it with Digital Labels

Smart retail is the future of retail. And digital labels can help retailers achieve this by centralizing store operations and providing omnichannel possibilities.

Smart retail is proof that modern technology has made its way into the retail world. Change can already be seen in traditional brick-and-mortar stores that are embracing innovative solutions. Now, smart retail can be tricky. There’s no need for retailers to panic and get every smart retail technology there is. However, a good stepping stone, like digital labels, can open up a lot of possibilities for retailers. So what is smart retail? And how can retailers achieve it with SOLUM digital labels?

What is smart retail?

Smart retail, simply put, is the integration of modern hybrid or smart technologies in retail. It can also be defined as digitizing traditional shopping methods. Technologies like digital labels, IoT, smart lighting, artificial intelligence (AI), mobile apps, websites, and more are all part of smart retail.


Smart retail’s main goal, of course, is to optimize operations for retailers and provide a superior shopping experience for consumers of all kinds.

What are the advantages of smart retail?

Smart retail solutions or technologies can bring about a lot of positive changes in brick-and-mortar stores. Whether it be grocery stores, supermarkets, big box stores, food retailers, fashion stores, convenience stores, and more, smart retail can transform businesses. Here are some of the advantages of smart retail:


  • Increased efficiency - Smart retail technology can increase the overall efficiency of various retail stores. From inventory management to price updates, product label management, and even system reports, smart retail can help reduce time and labor costs for workers. Everything is more optimized, faster, and more accurate.
  • Better customer service - Smart retail also allows retailers to improve their customer service. Customer service matters a lot and is one of the biggest factors in every customer’s experience. With various technologies in place, retail staff will be able to focus on customers and give them the service and experience they deserve.
  • A more engaging store - Smart retail also creates a much more pleasant and engaging store. Features like digital labels, personalized ads, mobile apps and navigation, IoT devices, smart lighting, NFC capability, and more can create an engaging retail environment. The more customers find stores engaging, the more they’ll have a better experience and come back for more.
  • Omnichannel retailing - Omnichannel retailing can also be achieved with smart retail features. Omnichannel retailing ensures that all customers have a chance to interact with the store and complete retail transactions, no matter their preferred format. This includes physical stores, cash payments, mobile and cashless payments, self-checkouts, online web stores, social channels, and more.
  • Increased profit - Retail stores that have integrated smart features can also expect increased profits as one of the advantages. This is because smart retail features optimize operations in every way possible. They also create a better environment and experience for customers. With both satisfying operations and customer expectations, profit can increase for these various retail businesses.
  • Better sustainability - A smart retail business has better sustainability as well. This is because most smart technologies are eco-friendly. They consume less energy, produce a smaller carbon footprint, produce less waste, and produce less toxic or harmful chemicals. Smart technology can help retailers be more sustainable and more environmentally aware of the impact they can have on the world as an industry.
  • Better brand loyalty - And of course, better brand loyalty can also be expected because of smart retail. Integrating smart retail features means retailers are accommodating to the demands and needs of modern consumers. Once they know that certain retailers or stores have what they need, they will patronize and advocate for them. Loyal customers can turn into brand ambassadors or effective marketers themselves, which will then bring in more customers and more prospects.

What are digital labels for smart retail?

Digital labels are a good starting point for smart retail. Also known as electronic shelf labels (ESL), digital labels are small electronic devices with e-paper or e-ink technology that can be used to display product prices, barcodes, and other product information. With a proper management system and software, they can be easily controlled and integrated into the business. They may sound complicated, but it is easy to learn how digital labels work.


Imagine a retail store with sleek, modern digital labels instead of easily worn-out or torn paper labels on the shelves. This simple, yet powerful retail solution can magnify operations and pave the way for smart retail in businesses.


One good example of digital labels is the Newton ESL by SOLUM. Newton electronic shelf labels have state-of-the-art technology that allows retailers to centralize their workflows and operations. Digital labels like this are more than just digital labels. They become smart retail solutions for a lot of businesses. Solutions that will give retailers the advantage that they need to facilitate a great customer experience and apply efficient daily operations.

How can digital labels help achieve smart retail?

Digital labels are a key to smart retail. For businesses that want to digitize their operations and start integrating smart technology, digital labels like the Newton ESL are more than enough to transform them. Take a look at how digital labels can help retailers achieve smart retail:


1. Digital labels can centralize operations

First and foremost, digital labels can help retailers centralize their operations. Centralizing operations is a much-needed change if retailers want more efficiency and satisfaction for their customers.


Digital labels eliminate the need for manual paper tag replacements. Instead, retail staff can update hundreds of electronic labels in the store within minutes. They will be able to save on time and manual labor. They can also ensure that every price tag is accurate and updated before the store opens for the day.


Digital labels have a positive impact on stock and inventory management as well. Features like LED indicators and multifunctional, programmable buttons can help staff manage inventory. Retail staff will have a better time taking note of shelf stocks, restocking and refilling shelf items, doing inventory at storage, and more.


2. Digital labels can make omnichannel retailing possible

Omnichannel retailing refers to retail transactions that happen across multiple channels, such as physical stores, e-commerce stores, mobile payments at self-checkouts, social channels, and more. Fortunately, digital labels can be used for a business’s omnichannel retailing.


Electronic labels, like the Newton ESL, have NFC (near-field communication) capability built into them. This means that customers can perform mobile payments at self-checkouts. This makes for a much faster and more convenient payment system for a lot of patrons.


When powered by a reliable ESL management system, such as the Aims (Advanced Information Management System), Newton ESL will also allow retailers to integrate physical inventory with e-commerce stores. This means that online stores will always have the same accurate inventory and pricing as their physical counterparts. Customers and prospects will have a better time shopping no matter what channel they choose.


3. Digital labels give a better customer experience

Digital labels can make everything better for the customer. Going on a grocery run or shopping at clothing stores and other retail stores can be quite complicated sometimes. As much as customers want to go in and out of stores as fast as they can, more often than not, certain problems might arise. Smart retail solutions like digital labels are here to make sure that consumers have a pleasant experience within a store.


Digital labels can improve in-store marketing for a more personalized and engaging in-store experience. Electronic labels display clear prices and product information, which helps ensure shoppers that they’re getting the right products and the best options there are. Multifunctional buttons also help shoppers call for customer service or any other support in case they have more inquiries or concerns. With mobile payments and self-checkouts, customers also have a chance to cut their waiting time and finish their errands earlier than expected.


All of these together ensure that the shoppers enjoy a more personalized and productive experience at the store. No more waiting in line, no more getting lost among aisles, no more forgetting something from their grocery list, and no more incorrect prices that will mess up their budget.


4. Digital labels can help provide more data

Through an ESL management system, digital labels can also provide essential data to retailers. This is because an ESL management system, like Aims, can create system reports for managers and staff. Retailers will be able to know more about their inventory levels, which products are the bestsellers, which brands are preferred by customers, and more.


Retailers can use data like this to adjust their marketing efforts, rearrange store shelves, get to know their customers better, know more about buying decisions, and more.


5. Digital labels help retailers be more sustainable

And of course, as with other smart retail technologies, digital labels help retailers improve their sustainability efforts. This is because using electronic labels has a lower carbon footprint than using paper tags that staff need to replace daily or weekly.


Digital labels like the Newton ESL, also contain a proprietary protocol that is known to be more energy-efficient than more traditional RF (radio frequency) technologies. This helps retailers save money while also helping them lower greenhouse gas emissions.


Of course, Newton ESL also has batteries that last up to 10 years, rather than the usual five years. This means the return on investment for retailers is better, and there are fewer toxic chemicals that wind up in landfills.


Smart retail is just the start of a new age for the retail industry. And with a solution like digital labels, businesses can get there and give themselves a boost.


Looking for a reliable digital solution? Talk to SOLUM now and learn more about Newton labels for the retail experience.

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