What is an Electronic Shelf Label

Electronic Shelf label

As technology continues to cut across the world, each industry adapts to newer processes and workflows. One major field deploying digital systems is the RETAIL SECTOR. Even though traditional paper price tags are still commonly used, most retail businesses in developed countries are beginning to adopt electronic price tags.

Adidas and NESCAFE Electronic Shelf Labels

But what exactly is an electronic shelf label (ESL in short)? And how does it work? These and many other questions will be answered in this post.

What is an Electronic Shelf Label

An Electronic Shelf Label

Electronic shelf labels are known by many names, including digital price tag, electronic price tag, digital price display, electronic price label, and digital price label. Simply put, it’s a small e-paper display used by retail stores to show product prices, and in some cases product features.

The e-paper display allows product prices and features to be changed remotely. This means that the management can change the information displayed on the shelves without walking through each shelf. Gone are the days when workers had to change paper price tags manually.

Usually, an electronic shelf label system is attached to the front edge of retail shelves for customers to have an easy glance at the price and features of the products in the store. This frees employees to focus on activities that will make the business profitable, such as customer service and technical assistance.

Development of Electronic Shelf Labels

As the world becomes progressively more digital on a daily basis, there has been frequent development in the electronic shelf labeling sector. Briefly, let’s explore the 4 basic generations in the ESL tags development:

  • Early Electronic Price Label Product: This generation was the transition period between traditional paper price tags and ESL pricing. Several tryouts were executed during this period to make retail store management and accountability easier. After various trials, the first breakthrough was made, hence the first generation.
  • First Generation: This generation made use of LCD and infrared communication. During this age, product information was displayed through the principles of diffusive infrared spectrum, to the front of retail LCD shelves. But LCDs require constant power to keep displaying the information, so more development had to be made, hence the second generation.
  • Second Generation: This generation made use of e-paper and infrared or radio communication. During this age, the electronic shelf tags were equipped with electronic paper (e-paper) technology, connected to Wi-Fi, 2.4GHz, or other proprietary radio communication technologies. Each pigment particle in the e-paper is programmed and electronically charged to show a different color, which forms the product information displayed.
  • Third Generation: This generation made use of planograms and picking. Thanks to the previous generation developments and geo-location technology, store management can be conducted anywhere. The connectivity of the electronic shelf label technology to the store management system enables employees to monitor every sale and gives shoppers easy access to the whole store.

Working Principles of Electronic Price Labels

While the digital price tag manufacturer expertly engineers the construction of the electronic labels, the system is pretty easy to operate. The labels are integrated with the retail store’s ERP or POS software, which is often managed through a centralized command center. This allows you to control your pricing from a single point.

Once this is done, every price change that is made on the ERP or POS system will automatically reflect on the electronic price labels on the shelf. With this, you can rest assured that your product prices are accurate and up-to-date.

Types of ESL Shelf Labels

These are the 5 basic types of ESL tags, and they are classified based on their connectivity.

  • NFC Price Tags: This type of electronic shelf labels function by putting an NFC reader into a mobile device, which is then pointed at the label to manage its display. NFC electronics shelf labels use a wireless power supply, which helps in maintaining the connection and display for a long time without having to plug in the battery.
  • Electronic Shelf Label Wi-Fi: This digital shelf label uses Wi-Fi for connectivity, with the capacity of working through a long distance. Even if the distance of the ESL label software connection to the store’s ERP or POS is situated in far distance, this Wi-Fi shelf label can function.
  • Bluetooth Electronic Shelf Label: This is similar to Electronic Shelf Label Wi-Fi, but it makes use of Bluetooth for connectivity. This allows for the transfer of images to the product label by saving them on the server cloud. The product information images are then transferred to the shelf labels.
  • 2.4G ESL Display: This is a highly reliable ESL electronic shelf label for real-time price updates. It’s a wireless and super-efficient electronic shelf label solution used for data transmission in retail stores with servers and devices that are not far apart. This type of ESL label is also capable of stopping interruption and can allow the free transfer of data.
  • 433Mhz ESL Display: This type of digital shelf labels is used in conjunction with POS, ERP, CRM, and MCR systems of various establishments. They support immediate price change and barcode information transmission. Retail stores use this for efficient price control and to provide customers with stress-free payment options.

Comparison between Electronic Shelf Labels and Traditional Paper Price Label

Electronic shelf labels and traditional paper price labels have significant differences, which sets them apart in their functionality and efficiency.

  • Pricing Accuracy: Electronic shelf edge labels offer real-time pricing updates and centralized control, which guarantees accurate prices across all shelves. On the other hand, traditional paper price labels require manual updates, which are prone to human errors.
  • Efficiency and Time-Saving: Digital price displays automate the price management process within a short time. Traditional paper price labels, on the other hand, require more staff and time because of the labor-intensive task of changing price labels.
  • Dynamic Pricing: Digital price tags allow for dynamic pricing strategies and the quick adjustment of product information for promotions, discounts, or demand fluctuations. In contrast, traditional paper price labels lack this flexibility and need more time and resources to execute price changes.

Benefits of Using Electronic Shelf Labels

Digital price labels don’t only help to streamline the in-store pricing process but also offer some additional benefits like less labor, dynamic marketing, and improved operational efficiency.

  • Less labor: Electronic price tags help to reduce the labor required for pricing and label management. Digital shelf labels automate this process, making prices to be updated from a central position. This reduces the number of staff needed to work in the store.
  • Dynamic Marketing: ESL tags enable you to quickly tap into market demand changes. With this system, sales and promotions can be launched with the press of a button. Hence, you can counter competitors’ moves immediately to dominate the market.
  • Improved Operational Efficiency: Electronic shelf labels streamline store operations by simplifying price management and stock control. You can change product information across multiple shelves simultaneously. This eliminates manual price checks and possible errors.

Why Choose ZhSunyco Electronic Shelf Labels

Ranked among China’s best 10 electronic shelf label manufacturers, ZhSunyco has provided businesses in more than 180 countries with advanced digital price display systems. We assist retailers in transforming their brick-and-mortar stores into valuable digital assets.

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Dedicated to bringing businesses to the digital age and streamlining operations, our ESL pricing technology is updated, inexpensive, and easy to integrate into your store’s management system.

To get the best electronic shelf label to improve your business control and profitability, you can contact us. We have a bunch of custom and after-sale services available for you.

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