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What is the Best Electronic Shelf Label Maker?

Finding the best electronic shelf label maker is integral for retailers. They need one that is reliable, competitive and provides exemplary after-sales customer care.

An electronic shelf label, or ESL, is one of the current and modern solutions in retail technology. Big retail stores and popular supermarket chains have implemented ESLs in their stores in recent years, including Walmart, Tesco, Coop, and Target. More retailers are following their steps, not just for the sake of following competitors but also because of modernization and the multitude of benefits that ESL brings.


The market for electronic shelf labels gets bigger every year, though, and retailers need to carefully choose from a number of label makers and companies to have the best ESL solution for their stores. So what is the best electronic shelf label maker there is? What qualities should retailers look for in an electronic label maker?

What is an electronic shelf label maker?

An electronic shelf label (ESL) maker is a company or provider specializing in supplying electronic shelf label solutions to various retailers. Electronic shelf labels (ESL) are small digital displays placed on retail shelves, tables, counters, and more. They are typically placed next to products or attached to actual shelves to provide pricing, product information, and other details. These labels can be updated remotely, which allows retailers to change prices, promotions, or product information across multiple labels and products across their stores simultaneously.


An electronic label maker can offer a range of hardware and software solutions tailored to the needs of retailers. This includes electronic shelf label displays, communication infrastructure (such as wireless networks), software platforms for managing pricing and content, as well as installation and support services. Each electronic shelf label maker also develops their ESL products with various ESL features and technology. Some of the ESL capabilities popular among retailers include multiple color displays, LED indicators, QR codes, and more.


The primary benefits of electronic shelf labels include improved pricing accuracy, streamlined pricing updates, reduced labor costs associated with manual price labeling and price changes, and the ability to implement dynamic pricing strategies more effectively. As a result, ESL makers play a crucial role in helping retailers modernize their operations and enhance the shopping experience for customers.


Because of this, retailers need to look at their options—see the different kinds of ESL and the various brands of electronic label makers. Not all electronic shelf labels are the same, and not all retail stores will need the same kind of ESL solutions. Retailers will need to assess their environment and retail operations and see which label maker will fit their needs and requirements.

Facts about ESL makers

  • According to Fact.MR, as of 2022, the electronic shelf label market was estimated to reach a valuation of 980 million USD. By the end of 2032, the global ESL market is expected to reach 5 billion USD. This means more and more retailers will invest in ESL solutions in the next few years as modernization impacts consumer behavior and industry insights. As automation and digitalization become a necessity for the retail sector, and the more modern retail technologies gain traction, the more chances there are that the ESL market will grow.
  • There are more than 10 key electronic label makers, with the top five companies making up an estimated 40% of the market share. The top companies in the ESL market include SOLUM, VusionGroup (formerly known as SES-image tag), Pricer, DisplayData, and M2COMM.
  • When it comes to regions and countries, however, Europe leads the market share as of 2021. Italy, in particular, is being considered the pivotal place for electronic shelf label makers and manufacturers in the European region. This is mostly because the country is starting to implement specific rules and regulations for the retail sector. Regulations like clear and transparent pricing for consumers will drive electronic shelf label sales-forward and increase the growth of the market. Next to Europe, North America leads the market share per region, as well as East Asia and South Asia & Oceania.
  • There is a great demand for ESL in hypermarkets and supermarkets, which is projected to grow. ESL solutions will also likely penetrate other niches in the retail sector, such as department stores, warehouses and logistics, food and beverage retail, and more. Meanwhile, as for product types, e-ink shelf labels are the most popular variation of ESL solutions.
  • The concept of ESL started to take form in the 1990s, with Swedish retail tech manufacturer Pricer considered to be one of the first label makers to have ESLs in stores around the mid-1990s. The very first variations of ESL had an LCD (liquid-crystal display) similar to the display of calculators. Modern ESLs nowadays, however, have improved display technology that mimics the experience of reading on paper. Apart from this, modern ESL solutions now have a plethora of features and capabilities that will elevate retail operations.

No matter what angle you look at, it’s a fact that the electronic shelf label market will only continue to grow, and the future of ESL is more engaging than ever. ESL solutions will continue to evolve to cater to the demands of modern consumers. And the retail sector will look to label markers and ESL companies to help transform retail operations.

Qualities of a good ESL maker

A good electronic shelf label maker or ESL provider should possess several key qualities to effectively serve the needs of retailers. They should not only have retail brands and employees in mind. They should also think of the actual end consumers and shoppers that will interact with the electronic shell label.


Make sure to look for these qualities when looking for an electronic shelf label maker:


  • Reliable
  • Offers scalable solutions
  • Prioritizes user-friendliness of products
  • Provides highly compatible devices
  • Offers customization
  • Provides support and maintenance
  • Recognizes the need for data analytics
  • Secured
  • Cost-effective


#1 Reliable

The ESL solution should be reliable, with minimal downtime or technical issues. Retailers rely on ESLs for accurate pricing and product information, so any system failures or hardware failures can disrupt operations and impact customer satisfaction.

  • Hardware Quality: A reliable ESL provider should offer high-quality electronic shelf labels that are durable and resistant to damage from handling or environmental factors.
  • Software Stability: The software powering the ESL system should be robust and stable, minimizing the risk of glitches or crashes that could disrupt operations.
  • Network Connectivity: Reliable communication infrastructure, such as wireless networks, ensures seamless connectivity between ESLs and the central management system or platform. This prevents data transmission issues.


#2 Offers scalable solutions

The provider should offer scalable solutions that can accommodate the needs of retailers with varying store types, sizes, and requirements. Whether a retailer has a single location or operates a large chain, the ESL system should be flexible enough to scale accordingly.

  • Flexible Solutions: The ESL provider should offer solutions that can scale up or down to accommodate retailers of various types, from small convenience stores to huge warehouses, big restaurants, supermarket chains, and more.
  • Multi-store Management: Scalable and advanced ESL systems can support centralized management of multiple stores or locations from a single interface. This can allow retailers to easily expand their operations without significant complexity.


#3 Prioritizes user-friendliness of products

The ESL solution should be user-friendly for retailers, store staff, and shoppers. This includes intuitive software interfaces for updating pricing and product information, as well as straightforward installation and fewer maintenance processes.

  • Intuitive Interface: User-friendly software interfaces make it easy for retailers to update pricing, product information, and promotions without extensive training. With this, they will also be able to modify any content or media for the ESL screen.
  • Simple Installation: ESL hardware should be straightforward to install to minimize disruption to store operations during implementation.


#4 Provides highly compatible devices

The ESL provider should offer compatible hardware and software solutions that integrate seamlessly with existing retail systems. This compatibility ensures smooth implementation and efficient operation of the ESL system.

  • Integration Capabilities: ESL solutions should seamlessly integrate with existing retail systems, such as POS systems and inventory management software, to ensure smooth data exchange and interoperability.
  • API Support: APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) enable custom integrations with third-party systems, offering flexibility and compatibility with a wide range of retail technologies.


#5 Offers customization

A good ESL provider should offer customization options to meet the unique needs and branding requirements of retailers. This may include customizable display designs and bezels, and the ability to tailor pricing strategies and promotions.

  • Branding Options: Customizable displays and bezels allow retailers to maintain a consistent brand identity across all ESLs in their stores.
  • Pricing Strategies: The ESL system should support flexible pricing strategies, including dynamic pricing, promotional pricing, as well as weekly or daily sales and discounts.


#6 Provides support and maintenance

The provider should offer comprehensive support and maintenance services to assist retailers with installation, troubleshooting, and ongoing system management. This ensures that retailers can rely on the ESL system to function effectively without significant disruptions.

  • Technical Support: Responsive customer support services help retailers troubleshoot issues and address concerns promptly. This minimizes downtime and disruptions to store operations.
  • Regular Updates: Ongoing software updates and maintenance ensure the ESL system remains up-to-date with the latest features, security patches, and performance improvements.


#7 Recognizes the need for data analytics

Advanced ESL solutions may offer data analytics capabilities that allow retailers to gather insights into customer behavior, pricing trends, and sales performance. This data can help retailers make informed decisions to optimize pricing strategies and improve overall business performance.

  • Insightful Reporting: Advanced data analytics capabilities provide retailers with reports and actionable insights into sales trends, customer preferences, and pricing effectiveness. This enables data-driven decision-making.
  • Predictive Analytics: Predictive analytics features can help retailers forecast demand, optimize pricing strategies, and anticipate market trends for improved business planning.


#8 Secured

The electronic label maker should also prioritize data security and encryption in their ESL products to protect sensitive pricing and product information from unauthorized access or tampering.

  • Data Encryption: Robust encryption protocols protect sensitive data and product information stored within the ESL system, which should prevent unauthorized access or tampering.
  • Access Controls: Role-based access controls, on the other hand, restrict system access to authorized users. This ensures that only authorized personnel can make changes to pricing or product information.


#9 Cost-effective

A good ESL maker should also offer solutions that deliver value for money. This includes competitive pricing for hardware, software, and ongoing support services, as well as a clear return on investment for retailers.

  • Transparent Pricing: Clear pricing structures and transparent cost models help retailers understand the total cost of ownership and calculate the return on investment (ROI) for the ESL solution.
  • Value-added Services: Additional services, such as training, consulting, and ongoing support, should offer added value to retailers. This maximizes the benefits derived from the ESL investment.


In a nutshell, an electronic label maker should cater to the overall needs and requirements of various retail environments. All of these key qualities together make a good ESL company that delivers ESL solutions worth investing in.

What is the best ESL maker?

SOLUM is currently one of the leading companies bringing ESL innovations into the retail sector. Newton ESL is just one of the various ESL solutions SOLUM has to offer. With reliability, state-of-the-art technology, durability, and a fully automated system for retailers, this makes SOLUM is the best electronic shelf label marker on the market right now. SOLUM goes above and beyond to ensure that ESL solutions bring advantages to specific retail environments based on their business needs and preferences.


Here are a few reasons why SOLUM is the best ESL provider right now:


Long lifespan

Newton ESL has a long lifespan, up to 10 years of battery life. This is two times longer than the usual ESL battery life, which allows retailers to reap the benefits of ESL investments for an extended period.


Flexibility and variations

SOLUM’s Newton shelf labels boast flexibility like no other. This is because the Newton ESL comes with various screen size options, ranging from 1.6 to 11.6 inches. It also comes with other variations like the Newton LITE (small and simple ESL), Newton Color (for bright and bold colors), Newton TOUCH (interactive ESL signage), Newton X (small and lightweight ESL), Newton Industrial (industrial environments), and more. This gives retailers limitless options and flexibility for any kind of retail environment or business.


Not only that, but Newton ESL also has a Freezer label variation that operates on temperatures from -25°C to 0°C, making it ideal for retail settings like laboratories, clinics, liquor stores, convenience stores, ice cream stores, supermarkets, and more.


Features for operational efficiency

Newton ESL, of course, is equipped with multiple advanced features and capabilities that contribute to better overall operational efficiency. This includes ESL features such as:

  • Breakneck update speed
  • 7-page capacity
  • 7-color LED indicator
  • 10-year battery life
  • IP67 protection rating
  • Multifunctional, programmable buttons
  • Full graphic e-ink display technology
  • Near-field communication (NFC) capability
  • Label management system

All of these features work together to streamline operations and workflows in a retail environment. 



SOLUM Newton labels have an IP67 rating, which refers to protections against shock, dust, and water submersion. With an IP67 rating, Newton labels have total protection against dust particles, and water submersion of up to 1 meter of water for as long as 30 minutes. Newton labels also have a built-in protection cover, protecting them from shocks, bumps, and other hazards.


Customization and branding

SOLUM allows users to customize their Newton labels as well. Newton ESL has bezels that can be designed with colors, patterns, and other branding designs. This helps reinforce brand identity and marketing messaging across the retail store, which, as a result, strengthens brand awareness.


Omnichannel retailing opportunities

SOLUM digital price tags can also be the gateway to omnichannel retailing for many retailers. This is because Newton ESL is equipped with NFC capabilities, which allow mobile payments or self-checkouts, and more. SOLUM labels also have their own inventory management system, which can help ensure that a brand’s physical stores and online stores have accurate inventory levels. Having multiple points and platforms for transactions can help facilitate omnichannel retailing.


Trusted by many

SOLUM, as an ESL provider and electromechanics innovator, is a trustworthy company. SOLUM has been trusted by big retail brands and retail chains for their Newton ESL for years now. From supermarkets to pharmaceutical wholesalers, warehouses, grocery retailers, sporting goods retailers, beauty stores, electronics stores, and more. Well-known brands like Loblaws, DOUGLAS, ShopRite, Xiaomi, and Lowe’s have all partnered with SOLUM to bring Newton ESL to their stores.


SOLUM is a pioneer when it comes to electronic shelf labels and will continue to be a prominent shelf label maker when it comes to the ESL market. Talk to SOLUM experts today and find out how you can transform your retail business with Newton Labels.

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