Electronic Shelf Label: Introduction to the electronic shelf tags technology

15 Feb 2024

Introducing ESL systems: how does electronic shelf label work?

Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) leverage e-paper technology and wireless communication to dynamically display product and pricing information at the retail shelf edge, replacing traditional paper labels. They connect to a central hub, allowing for real-time price and information updates across a store’s network. This system reduces manual labor, ensures pricing accuracy, and enhances customer engagement by providing immediate access to current promotions and stock levels. Additionally,Electronic Shelf Labels are energy-efficient, supporting sustainable operations and enabling dynamic pricing strategies through seamless integration with inventory management systems.


Comparison Chart of electronic shelf label and paper price tag:

Electronic Shelf Labels outperform paper tags by offering improved efficiency, accuracy, flexibility, and environmental friendliness in retail settings.

Electronic shelf labels (ESLs) represent a significant advancement over traditional paper price tags in the retail industry. Unlike paper tags, ESLs offer real-time updates and dynamic pricing capabilities, reducing labor costs and enhancing operational efficiency for retailers. Electronic shelf labels ensure accuracy and consistency in pricing information, mitigating the risk of human error associated with paper tags.

Additionally, ESLs provide greater flexibility and customization options, allowing retailers to adapt quickly to market changes. Moreover, Electronic shelf labels contribute to sustainability efforts by reducing paper waste and energy consumption.
Here is the comparison chart of ESL and paper price tag; the details of the benefits of electronic shelf label will be provided below the table.

Electronic Shelf LabelsPaper price tag
Pricing StrategyBest fit for dynamic pricing strategy and price change can be conducted remotely within few secondsRelatively Slower, price change needs to be done manually and it might take one or two days to finish the change
Promotion(changing the price)Easy and doesn't incur extra costIncur additional paper cost for changing the price
Transportation Cost (for transporting white paper)NoYes
Labor Cost when changing priceNoYes
AccuracyHigher Lower
Pricing error Lower, also the error is manageable and measurable with the help of electronic shelf labels systemHigher


Accurate pricing across channels

By integrating with e-commerce systems, Electronic shelf labels enable real-time updates that reflect consistent pricing across all channels. This synchronization not only enhances the customer experience productively but also empowers retailers with dynamic pricing capabilities, enabling them to respond promptly to market conditions and optimize strategies for maximum profitability.

Additionally, Electronic shelf labels streamline operations by eliminating the need for manual price adjustments, freeing up staff to focus on delivering exceptional service and gaining valuable insights into pricing trends and consumer behavior. Ultimately, Electronic shelf labels facilitate a synchronized approach to pricing management, enhancing efficiency and competitiveness in the ever-evolving retail landscape.


Enhance omnichannel sale experience

Electronic shelf labels (ESLs) play a pivotal role in enhancing the omnichannel sales experience by seamlessly integrating online and offline retail channels. Through real-time pricing updates and accuracy, ESLs ensure consistency across platforms, enabling features such as click-and-collect for convenient in-store pickups guided by ESLs.

Additionally, Electronic shelf labels support personalized recommendations and targeted promotions based on customer data, fostering engagement and loyalty. By serving as a bridge between online and offline sales, Electronic shelf labels empower customers to access additional product information and ordering options, creating a seamless and convenient shopping journey.

Overall, Electronic shelf labels enhance the omnichannel sales experience by providing a cohesive and personalized shopping experience across all channels, driving sales and customer satisfaction.


Decrease error rate of pricing

Electronic shelf tags can also improve product price and other information accuracy while eliminating human errors in traditional paper labeling and pricing. Accurate pricing across channels and standardized pricing systems will allow customers to no longer be disappointed and confused by price differences at different touch points across the store because electronic shelf tag operators can review changes and fix any pricing errors at any time. After integration with retail point-of-sale (POS), ESL systems can ensure the overall shelf product information and pricing are in perfect synchronization and consistency with those in the POS systems, contributing to better tailored promotion and advertising campaigns.


Conform cost-effectiveness of corporation

As for the electronic shelf label costs, it might seem like a big amount of money to move to the ESL system, however, using electronic shelf label actually saves quite much money compared to traditional price tags. By electronic shelf label, you can save paper cost, transportation cost, printing cost, and labor cost. What’s more, paper labels sometimes need to be removed on the shelves even if item in stock, however, by using ESL, you can simply change the image remotely.

Lower costs and power consumption mean greater conformity with the corporate ideology of cost-and-eco-effectiveness. As the world struggles to achieve carbon neutrality, electronic shelf tags are offering significant help with the reduction of logging. Deforestation is no longer just a slogan, but an actual goal. Remember the days when people used to line up in front of the zerox machine waiting for piles of paper to magically self-produce so their productive day could be saved with a basket of flyers and price sheets. E ink ESL is achieving more visibility with less paper. And low power consumption signifies decreased carbon traces, so the more electronic shelf tags are used, the less carbon taxes are to be paid from a corporate point of view.


Understanding the ESL epaper:evolution of an epaper display tag

First generation of the electronic shelf tag: LCD and infrared communication

The first generation of Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) introduced LCD display technology coupled with infrared communication protocols. This combination provided clear and visually appealing displays for showcasing product information and pricing details in retail environments. Infrared communication facilitated seamless data transmission between the central management system and individual ESLs, ensuring timely updates and maintaining information accuracy throughout the store. These innovations laid the groundwork for subsequent advancements in Electronic Shelf Labels technology, paving the way for interactive displays and wireless communication protocols in later generations.


Second generation of the electronic shelf tag: E-paper and Infrared or radio communication

The second generation of the epaper display tag utilizes electronic paper (e-paper) technology, connected to communication technologies like 2.4GHz, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, or proprietary radio systems through access points or routers. These labels replace traditional paper labels and stickers. Each pigment particle inside the thin film of the ESL epaper display is electronically charged, displaying a different color. These particles form the fundamental elements of batteryless RFID-enabled tags. By utilizing radio or infrared (IR) communication with a back-end platform, administrators can efficiently update data on the epaper display tag for batch adjustments of store labels. This advancement enhances retail operational efficiency, provides better control over commodity information and price adjustments, and promotes investment and development of the epaper display tag solutions in the retail sector. The goal is to achieve breakthroughs and accelerate the application development of epaper display tags.

Electronic shelf label

For higher retail operational efficiency and better control over commodity information and price adjustments, owners and entrepreneurs are actively investing in the application and development of Electronic Shelf Label solutions in the retail field, hoping to achieve breakthroughs and accelerate the epaper display tag application development.


Third generation of the electronic shelf tag: Planogram and picking

Thanks to the ESL epaper display tag and its radio technology, store management and staff can now be freed from the laborious task of locating products and changing paper labels and stickers. With a centralized platform, shelving staff have greater flexibility and precision in updating information for target products, including pricing, product placements, online order fulfilment, and planogram management on shelves. Employees can command sales remotely, generating a floor plan that allows shoppers to easily navigate the store. Guided by store PDAs or mobile apps, customers can swiftly find desired items following an optimized route. Online orders, whether single or bulk purchases, can be efficiently fulfilled. This revolutionizes the shopping experience by eliminating physical demands associated with shelving and shopping.

Now with the visual representation that demonstrates the precise placement and exact layout of products on various display points, planograms help keep stores highly efficient and maximize selling space with aesthetic appeal and category flows in consideration. Boutique and retailers, small or large, can also benefit from planograms’ visual appeal while taking into account merchandising principles and sales performance. Using planograms is simply like reading the pages of a book in which shoppers can have a clear grasp of the merchandise and determine how much inventory the stores have for each product through the consistency created between store locations, and the product pairing suggestions promoted by the stores.


Becoming a future trend: Future of an epaper display tag

Key factors of the growth of epaper display tags

Key factors of Electronic Shelf Label growth lie in the dynamics of applications across various industries. Examples include marketing flexibility on pricing and sales campaigns and future is found where ideas are created. For umbrella retailers it means proactively promoting rain gears on a nice rainy day. And excessive food waste has always been one of the biggest headaches for food producers.

The dynamic information and pricing features of electronic shelf tags with wireless technology will help overcome the problem by having sensors read the IC tags of fresh products with short expiration dates in order to pick out the shelf life of the products, or even change prices at any time according to the product expiration date. Electronic Shelf Labels features save consumable food from waste bins and more people from starving.


Industry application of epaper display tags

ESL applications can be envisioned across various industries ranging from automotive and transportation, hospitals and healthcare, public and private institutions, and educational sectors all the way to personal consumer and wearable electronics. Epaper display tag technology is an indispensable tool because fast information exchange has become one of the most basic yet essential way of life. Hospitals will be saving lives by communicating more effectively between caretakers, patients, and patient families. And traffic will benefit from more precise transportation schedules with accurate dispatches and surgical arrangements of mass transits. These improvements are merely some of the most fundamental applications available, as more are being developed and implemented.


Introduction to Pervasive Displays:A choice for an epaper display tag

Who is Pervasive Displays

Pervasive Displays is the leader in e-paper displays for IoT applications, it designs, manufactures and markets e-paper displays that deliver high resolution, ultra-thin form factor, sunlight readability and ultra-low power consumption. Pervasive Displays provides suitable solutions for businesses which hope to gain use of ESL epaper technology.


What can Pervasive Displays provides

Pervasive Displays Inc. (PDI) offers specialized custom services, complete post-sales service, high-quality EPD modules and various EPD development kits to fully optimize customer’s operation process and improve customer’s production efficiency. Pervasive has served ESL solution providers around the world for over 13 years, and has become the EPD module manufacturer and designer with the most ESL shipments. PDI’s full collection of EPD models from 1.54” to 12”, with various temperatures ranging from freezer to cool room, will custom make your storefront, help develop more IoT, in-store and innovative applications, and turn your physical environment into a digital asset.


An Epaper display tag revolutionize the retail industry by replacing traditional paper tags with ESL epaper. ESLs offer cost savings, improved operational efficiency, and enhanced customer experiences. With their ability to remotely update information and facilitate omnichannel sales, ESLs are driving the future of retail towards greater sustainability and convenience.
Click the link below to understand more about Pervasive Displays!

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