Retail is currently divided between two worlds: digital and physical. Digital services only cover retailers’ mobile websites and e-commerce sites, with no direct connection to each store. Shoppers, however, expect the same services everywhere. When going to stores, they expect human assistance and immediate product availability. They do not understand why they should forego search and reviews that are obvious improvements from the Internet Age.
The new normal in retail
As they shop, consumers expect to have access to a wide range of services that are available online:
- Immediate access to information, without signups or downloads
- Local information with stock availability
- Product ratings
- Customer reviews
- Real-time price information
- Immediately available coupons or promotions
Electronic shelf labels provide the basis for such an omnichannel experience, as they can either provide this information directly on their displays or through a smartphone via QR codes / NFC interactions.
Facilitate in-store product search
Finding the right product in store can be very challenging and a big source of frustration for shoppers. Several factors are involved when it comes to product availability and in-store navigation: stock levels, on-shelf availability, product & shopper geolocation, in-aisle guidance, etc.
IoT solutions such as electronic shelf tags, shelf-edge cameras, sensors, and so on can help.
Electronic shelf labels can help indicate their positions on shelves and in stores, as well as guide consumers in the aisle thanks to flashing, multicolor LEDs. This can significantly reduce the time spent finding items, effectively making the shopping experience. Meanwhile, sensors and cameras enable store managers or category managers to make sure that products are always available.
Scan & Go
Waiting in line at the checkout is by far one of the most painful experiences when shopping in stores. Substantial investments are being done constantly to address this pain point. Yet, at the same time, simpler solutions can exist by leveraging existing in-store technologies.
As they’re connected to the Cloud, electronic shelf labels can display QR codes or enable NFC interactions that point toward an e-basket solution. Shoppers can then add their desired products to their baskets and purchase them with their smartphones, without having to go to traditional checkouts.
The value electronic shelf labels can bring to retailers is crucial into bridging the gap between physical and digital worlds.