Are Electronic Shelf Labels Worth It for Your Business?

Electronic shelf labels (ESLs) are very popular in the retail industry. Many major retailers use ESL systems to replace conventional paper price tags. ESLs allow stores to update product pricing and information digitally and remotely in real time. While they provide several benefits over paper tags, the initial investment required for ESL systems can be considerable. The question then arises: are electronic shelf labels worth it for your business?

Are Electronic Shelf Labels Worth It?

There are 5 key considerations that can help you determine the viability of electronic shelf labels for your business:

1. Pricing Frequency

Evaluate how often your prices change. If prices are adjusted weekly or more often for things like promotions, market fluctuations, etc., then utilizing ESLs may be worthwhile. ESLs could streamline the process of pricing by allowing remote updates with a single click. But if price adjustments are infrequent, then digital shelf label systems may not provide enough benefits to offset the costs.

2. Paper Waste

Evaluate your current paper label usage and waste. If a large volume of paper labels needs frequent replacement, then ESLs could help your business eliminate ongoing printing and disposal costs over the long run.

3. Manual Labor

Assess the labor required for existing price change processes. If label updates currently require significant supervisor time to coordinate employee work and ensure accuracy, then ESLs may help free up that labor by automating updates centrally. This freed-up time could be reallocated depending on specific staffing needs. However, if label changes rarely need more than one person or take very little time currently, then ESLs may not do much to improve labor efficiency.

4. Business Objectives

It is recommended that you review your strategic goals and return on investment requirements. Carefully model your potential cost savings and revenue increases to analyze if and when the investments of digital shelf label might pay themselves off. Objectives prioritizing rapid growth or tight margins may find ESLs take too long to generate a positive ROI. Meanwhile, those focused on customer-centric tech solutions are more likely to benefit from electronic shelf label scale and efficiencies.

5. Customer Preferences

Understand your target customers’ preferences when shopping in-store. Younger digital native customers may engage more with digital price tag systems, signage, and targeted promotions. However, some shoppers still rely on and feel comfortable with traditional paper price tags. As a retailer, you need to evaluate if your core customer base would value dynamic ESL displays or prefer the consistency of paper labels.

Importance of Choosing Reliable ESL Suppliers

Once you decide ESLs are worthwhile for your business, selecting the right technology provider partner is crucial. Serious evaluation of potential vendors is necessary to weed out incompetent or under-qualified solutions companies. There are a few aspects retailers should examine when choosing electronic shelf label solution providers:

1. Examine the ESLs

Ask for sample units to thoroughly inspect build quality, ergonomic design aspects, battery longevity ratings, and crispness of screen displays under various lighting conditions. These attributes directly influence the operational reliability of the investment.

2. Check Customization Options

Flexibility is key, so explore the degree to which suppliers can tailor sign templates, integrate with different inventory and pricing systems, and offer remote management features through smart mobile/web dashboards.

3. Verify Certifications

Reputable electronic shelf label suppliers will have acquired important assessment marks from organizations like UL, FCC, and CE marking to prove their systems meet international standards. This provides regulatory peace of mind.

4. Evaluate Brand Reputation

Check ratings on third-party websites, case studies from long-term clients, any industry awards/recognition, financial stability, and capacity/experience level to ascertain if the company can appropriately service the scale of the installation with responsive field support over the product’s lifespan.

Transform Your Business with Hanshow

Overall, electronic shelf label systems provide clear benefits around labor and paper savings but require careful cost-benefit analysis based on business needs and goals. For retailers where frequent pricing adjustments are routine and operational efficiency is a priority, ESLs are likely to prove their value over time. It’s also important to partner with experienced ESL solution providers like Hanshow that offer reliable, customizable, and future-proof technologies.

Hanshow designs and delivers full-suite retail technology platforms to help businesses maximize both investments and returns. Its global leadership, robust product portfolio, and dedication to customer service make it an ideal choice for retailers seeking digital transformation through electronic shelf label systems and beyond. Visit Hanshow’s website to learn more about how Hanshow ESL solutions can streamline operations and boost sales.


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