Best practice report • 19.01.2017

POCO uses ESLs: digital price tags benefit customers and employees

"You can’t put a price tag on preventing long wait times at the checkout"

Over the past few years, digital price tag or electronic shelf label (ESL) technology has improved considerably, especially in the area of visual display. Recently furniture discounter Poco has started to use ESL systems at its store in Goch, Germany – much to the delight of its staff members.

“Lately, my employees are especially happy to see me when I visit our market in Goch,“ says Sebastian Schrader, Head of Organization at Poco. The reason for this: since September 2016, the ESL system installation has –among other things- made price changes of the roughly 7,000 products much easier. 

At the beginning of last year, Poco had decided to use digital price tags in a pilot project to simplify the numerous price changes – more than 10 million processes – it conducts each year. “Compared to manual paper labeling, this system has made our pricing and tagging processes much quicker and it allows us to change prices several times a day. It also adds a high degree of reliability, ensuring that the right prices are on the product at the right time since the process is fully automated, “ explains Schrader.

Sebastian Schrader, Head of Organization at POCO,  is already convinced of the...
Sebastian Schrader, Head of Organization at POCO, is already convinced of the benefits of ESL
Source: POCO

“It’s not about reducing labor costs with ESL“ (Kai-Uwe Jensen)

From his point of view, it’s not only the employees but also the customers who benefit from this streamlined process: the prices are always updated and the associates are able to devote more time to customer service. He adds, “It was important to us to communicate that the project is not intended to reduce labor costs.“

Kai-Uwe Jensen, Sales Manager Germany at Delfi Technologies, the ESL solution provider for Poco, explains, “It is a common misconception that ESL systems result in a reduction of manpower because this technology also takes work.“ Having said that, he sees the greatest advantages in the time flexibility because price changes can be scheduled and the transparency of this digital technology. “The system behind ESL generates error logs of incorrect prices. Meanwhile, with paper labels, you don’t notice that something went wrong until the customer is already at the checkout. You can’t put a price tag on preventing long wait times at the checkout,“ Jensen emphasizes.  

ESL is red hot – advantages thanks to ePaper technology

The latest development in the ESL sector makes it possible to display more than just the price. Next to black and white, red as well as simple graphics are now also available to accommodate visual display. This is made possible by ePaper technology. It eliminates some of the drawbacks of previous LCD displays. Here, visual contents look the same from every angle due to the short distance between the imaging elements and the surface. There is no flicker thanks to the static display.

Cross-selling campaigns can be highlighted with symbols like diamonds or stars for example. A red border around the price tag can alert sales floor associates about product availability at the warehouse or indicate increased sales. Kai-Uwe Jensen explains how this works. “An inventory management system should make it possible for retailers to display logos or to distinguish organic products by including product characteristics. An image that has been stored in templates can then be assigned to specific characteristics. The ESL provider’s system must also ensure access to this data.“

The system is easy to understand and can be used by every employee...
The system is easy to understand and can be used by every employee
Source: POCO

The challenge: attaching the labels to the display shelves

On the one hand, software that’s compatible with the inventory management system and the applicable characteristics need to be stored, while it is also necessary to determine the optimal way to attach the actual labels to the shelves. In the case of Poco, this presented the biggest challenge.

Sebastian Schrader explains, “After we selected the first 3,000 top items we wanted to tag – from the special items section and not the furniture selection – we took a look at the way we present our merchandise in the market together with our shelving supplier and the ESL service provider. This revealed how we wanted to position the labels on the products in an easy-to-read format for customers. Right now, special attachments are being made for us.“

During a second step, the best label sizes for each product, article, and marketing medium were selected. “At the moment, Poco uses five standard label sizes, ranging from small size Chroma 16 for fasteners that are displayed very closely together all the way to Chroma 74 for boxed items that are showcased in bulk, “ he adds.

Finally, the layout of the labels was created by associates in the organization department. They are also the contact persons if there are any issues at the store. “We provided in-depth training to three additional people on site at the store to handle details. For example, they know how to create labels and take care of defective ones,“ Schrader adds.

All sales floor associates who work in the areas that apply ESLs know the system and are able to assign the labels to an article using handheld devices; and they are not at all afraid to use them. According to Schrader, the costs of the ESL installation in Goch are in the six-figure range. And Poco’s confidence in technology goes even further. “Next year, we are going to equip two more stores with digital price tags – one new and one existing store,“ he says.

ESL in the little supermarket Frischemarkt am Blücherplatz in Kiel, Germany...
ESL in the little supermarket "Frischemarkt am Blücherplatz" in Kiel, Germany
Source: Jensen

Small businesses can also benefit from ESL

“ESL systems are not just suited for larger stores,“ says Kai-Uwe Jensen of Delfi. Small-sized retailers can also benefit. “After all, you don’t have to equip the entire product assortment all at once with electronic shelf labels.“ For example, the Frischemarkt (English: Fresh Market) at Blücherplatz in Kiel uses electronic shelf labels for fruits and vegetables, sweet goods and Maggi products. In addition, weekly deals in the produce department are showcased on a large screen via ESL software. “It’s important for retailers to understand what they generally would like to achieve with ESLs. Once that’s clear, the technology can be used to deliver the best results,“ concludes the software expert.       

 

Advertisement
Autor: Natascha Mörs, iXtenso

related articles:

popular articles:

Thumbnail: Photo: The future of logistics works digital, connected and autonomous...

Report • 03.07.2017

The future of logistics works digital, connected and autonomous

How digitization changes retail logistics

Thumbnail: Photo: Increase consumer loyalty through mobile self-scanning...

Company News • 09.05.2017

Increase consumer loyalty through mobile self-scanning

Scansation helps retailers create personalized offers for anonymous consumers

Thumbnail: Photo: Enhanced customer service through productivity savings...

Case study • 07.06.2017

Enhanced customer service through productivity savings

An APG case study in partnership with Grupo Compostelana

Thumbnail: Photo: European retail trade shows – no signs of slowing down...

Company News • 24.05.2017

European retail trade shows – no signs of slowing down

Technology vendors are really keen to showcase their cutting-edge products

Thumbnail: Photo: In-store tracking: customer buying behavior analysis ever more precise...

Report • 29.06.2017

In-store tracking: customer buying behavior analysis ever more precise

… but keep it anonymous and compliant with data protection legislation

Thumbnail: Photo: The right touch when it comes to price changes...

Electronic Shelf Labels • 12.06.2017

The right touch when it comes to price changes

Who is afraid of ESL?

Thumbnail: Photo: Instant payment solutions offer great potential...

Specialist article • 16.06.2017

Instant payment solutions offer great potential

For customers, making payments is becoming as easy as sending an email

Thumbnail: Photo: Robots and automated processes are the future of warehouse logistics...

Report • 01.07.2017

Robots and automated processes are the future of warehouse logistics

Staff shortages and the e-commerce boom call for all resources

Thumbnail: Photo: Travel retail technology: Enticing passengers to buy...

Interview • 24.05.2017

Travel retail technology: Enticing passengers to buy

Whether in airports, railway stations or on cruises – the duty free and travel retail industry is facing an enormous change.

Thumbnail: Photo: Electronic shelf labels ensure accurate pricing...

Company News • 17.07.2017

Electronic shelf labels ensure accurate pricing

Department store giant Bauhaus is launching a pilot project to replace its in-store paper pricing

Supplier

StrongPoint
StrongPoint
Schießstrasse 35
40549 Düsseldorf
Axis Communications GmbH
Axis Communications GmbH
Adalperostraße 86
85737 Ismaning
Delfi Technologies GmbH
Delfi Technologies GmbH
Landgraben 75
24232 Schönkirchen
NCR GmbH
NCR GmbH
Steinerne Furt 67
86176 Augsburg
prudsys AG
prudsys AG
Zwickauer Straße 16
09112 Chemnitz
QUAD GmbH
QUAD GmbH
Windmüllerstraße 30
59557 Lippstadt
Xovis AG
Xovis AG
Industriestrasse 1
3052 Zollikofen

Scansation GmbH
Scansation GmbH
Zielstattstr. 133
81379 München
APG Cash Drawer
APG Cash Drawer
5250 Industrial Blvd NE
55421 Minneapolis