Things to Consider Before Getting Electronic Shelf Labels
Electronic shelf labels in retail are a serious investment. There are many factors to consider before getting and implementing an ESL system for your business.
Electronic shelf labels, or ESL, can be a powerful piece of technology and solution for retail. In 2022, the global ESL market size reached USD 1.31 billion. With retail giants like Walmart, Tesco, and Target, other retail brands are bound to follow in their footsteps and embrace modernization. However, it’s no surprise that this retail technology is a serious investment. Retail companies, no matter how big or small the business is, will most likely take some time to determine if ESL is a worthy investment.
Why is it important to consider various factors before getting ESL?
Implementing electronic shelf labels (ESLs) is a significant decision for a lot of retail companies. One that can impact various aspects of the business and help improve operations. But before adopting ESL in actual retail stores, it’s crucial to consider various significant factors for the business.
Here are several reasons why it’s important:
- Determining cost implications: ESLs involve upfront costs for purchasing the hardware and software, as well as ongoing maintenance expenses. Retailers must evaluate whether the initial investment and long-term costs align with their budget and overall financial strategy.
- Determining scalability: Retailers must consider whether the chosen ESL solution can scale to accommodate the size of their store or business. A scalable solution allows for future expansion without requiring a complete overhaul of the existing system.
- Determining ease of implementation: The implementation process of ESLs should be relatively smooth to minimize confusion and hesitation from employees. Complicated installations can lead to downtime and negatively impact employee morale or the customer experience. ESLs also often require a stable power supply and reliable connectivity. Retailers must assess whether their stores have the necessary infrastructure to support ESLs. They must also consider factors such as power outlets and network connectivity.
- Determining security and data protection: ESL systems usually handle sensitive pricing and inventory data. Retailers need to ensure that the chosen solution adheres to industry standards for data protection and has robust security measures to prevent unauthorized access.
- Anticipating the return on investment (ROI): Retailers should conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis to determine the potential return on investment. The benefits of ESLs, such as improved pricing accuracy, operational efficiency, and enhanced customer experience, should outweigh the costs over time.
What are the things to consider before getting ESL?
If you think your retail store will greatly benefit from ESL, you’ll need to know exactly what essential things to consider to ensure a successful implementation. From your business type to the ESL capabilities, you’ll need to be prepared before your decision.
Here are the things to consider when it comes to getting ESL for your retail store:
Business type and business size
First and foremost, you need to consider the type and size of your business. How will you be using electronic shelf labels in your store and in your field? What are your plans for the integration and scaling of ESL in your store? Think about how ESLs can help your business operations and how you can maximize their features and capabilities.
Product waste can also be a consideration for implementing electronic shelf labels. This includes any food waste, food items with shelf life expiration, long-term inventory, and more. How much product waste does your store produce from various tasks? Will ESLs be able to reduce these? Will ESLs be able to make it easier for you to manage waste and improve sustainability practices?
Time and manual labor
Time and manual labor should also be at the forefront of this business decision. Analyze how much time and labor goes into completing daily or weekly operational tasks. This includes shelving products, assigning and replacing paper labels or tags, doing inventory and managing shelf life, correcting price errors and confusion, replenishing products on shelves, and more. If your team is spending a lot of time and manual labor on these tasks, then having an ESL solution that will modernize and streamline operations may be a good choice for the team.
Number of ESLs
The volume, or actual number of ESLs, should also be one of the things to consider for this decision. How many ESLs does a store need? Will they need multiple kinds or various sizes of ESLs? All of these will help project how much the store will spend on the initial installation or implementation of ESLs in the store.
Installation and maintenance
You may also need to evaluate the complexity and ease of installation. A straightforward implementation process reduces downtime and minimizes disruption to daily operations for your store. Consider whether you can deploy ESLs without significant disruptions to the store.
If ESLs are battery-powered, you also need to assess the battery life and ease of replacement. Consider any ongoing maintenance requirements and whether the solution offers features to monitor and manage device health.
User interface, usability, or flexibility
The user interface of ESLs should also be a big factor in the decision. It should be user-friendly for both your customers and staff. Make sure to consider the ease of use for updating product information, changing and managing prices, implementing promotions and offers, and more. A simple and intuitive ESL interface or system reduces the likelihood of errors that retail employees will need to correct.
You also need to check the flexibility of the ESL solution in displaying different types of content. Ensure that it supports various information and visuals. This includes pricing, promotions, product details, and any other additional information. The ability to customize and update content in real time is important for any modern retail store operation.
Compatibility and existing systems
Ensuring that the ESL solution seamlessly integrates with existing systems is also a must. This includes point-of-sale (POS) software, inventory management, and any other relevant technologies being used in your store. Compatibility issues can lead to data discrepancies and operational inefficiencies, which is the opposite of what an ESL solution is trying to achieve.
Your business objectives matter as well. Clearly define the goals and objectives for implementing ESLs. Whether it's improving pricing accuracy, enhancing the customer experience, or streamlining operations, understanding the business needs will guide the selection process.
Annual revenue and budget
Of course, your annual revenue and budget are also some of the most important things to consider before getting ESLs for a retail store. Ask yourself: With the revenue your store makes, will you be able to shoulder the initial installation and maintain any subscription or monthly fees that will occur? Will you be able to pay maintenance costs, if there are any? Will the money you save or the increase in profits be enough to justify the initial costs? It’s best to think about this before starting with ESL. If there is an ROI Calculator that can help you decide, even better.
Finding the perfect ESL solution with SOLUM ESL
After knowing what things to consider when getting ESL, it all comes down to finding the best ESL solution for you. Fortunately, SOLUM ESL is here.
SOLUM ESL is a pioneer with electronic shelf labels—streamlining retail operations and improving the customer experience. It comes with various Newton labels and variations, allowing retailers to pick the ESL best for their customers and their retail environment. From freezer labels (Newton Freezer) to fashion and clothing ESL (Newton X), to interactive digital signage (Newton TOUCH), and even to electronic labels for industrial settings (Newton GIGA), SOLUM ESL has the right options for retail businesses.
Here are some SOLUM ESL features you need to consider for your retail store:
- 7-page information capacity for accuracy and reduced errors
- IP67 rating for dustproof and water resistance
- 7 LED light indicators for operational efficiency
- 10x faster update speed for faster price updates and reduced manual labor
- Wide variety of screen sizes for various screen sizes
- AIMS label management system for overseeing individual ESLs and modifying content
- Two multifunctional buttons for operational efficiency and customer service
- Near-field communication capabilities for customer satisfaction and omnichannel retailing
- 10-year battery life and a built-in protection cover for longer life and less maintenance
- Encryption and security protocols for business data protection
Want to learn more about SOLUM ESL variations and what they can do for your retail store? Talk to SOLUM experts now and start your ESL journey.