Carrefour, Walgreens, and Apple Increase Efficiency Through Digital Shelf Level Signage

Walgreens Digital Shelf Level Pricing

Retailers around the globe are trying to find ways to keep up with the digital age.  Some of these strategies include self-checkouts & scanners, or in-store kiosks (See earlier post “A Comparison in Kiosk Based Retailing: Best Buy, Aldi, and Stop & Shop”).  Another strategy retailers like Walgreens, Kohl’s, Apple, and Carrefour are employing is the inclusion of digital signage at the shelf level.  The digital pricing tags allow retailers to reduce labor costs and increase efficiency.  Instead of having store personnel traverse the store to manually change pricing below individual products, they have turned to a digital solution.

The Walgreens store in Oak Park, Illinois includes digital signage (Top Left) below each SKU in its health & beauty department.  These digital displays remove the need to print paper labels for each product, thereby making the store environmentally friendly.  Additionally, store personnel are able to walk through the store and simply press buttons to display the intended price.

Kohl's Digital Shelf Level Pricing

Kohl’s is a good example of a department store that changes its prices on a regular basis.  The store features large digital signage monitors (Right) on its apparel merchandise displays, which each feature multiple SKU’s.  By incorporating digital signage on the shelf, the retailer is able to offer promotions like “early bird specials” without having to devote extreme amounts of personnel time to changing pricing displays.  During high traffic times of the day the retailer is able to lower prices, and during lower traffic times the price can be raised on an automated basis through its POS system.

Apple Stores, iPads Selling iPads

In the specialty electronics world, Apple Stores have proved to be the most innovative.  Retailers like Best Buy and the new Microsoft stores have seen the success of Apple’s new 2.0 store format and are trying to imitate it as best they can without tripping over Apple’s trademark restrictions.  Perhaps the biggest change between Apple’s old stores and the new stores is the signage being used to sell items on the shelf.  Today, Apple is using the iPad to sell iPads, MacBooks, iPods, and iPhones(Left).  The iPads at the shelf level have not only replaced all paper signage on the shelf, but they include in-depth information about the products, user reviews, and instructional videos.

Carrefour Shelf Level Digital Signage

One final example of retailers using digital shelf level signage effectively is Carrefour.  The retailer uses these LED, battery powered displays below SKU’s to promote its products.   Carrefour stores include a mix of digital signage, as seen on right, as well as paper, promotional signage.  The combination of the two is interesting in that the retailer is able to easily change the price of multiple goods on the shelf, while only needing to change one large paper display to make shoppers aware of the discounts being offered on the shelf.

While digital shelf level signage is expensive for retailers to implement, it results in an extensive list of benefits for both the retailer and the shopper in the long term.  Shoppers are able to learn more about products in-store and retailers are able to take on new pricing strategies while increasing efficiency with regard to price adjusting at the shelf-level.

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About Sean Deale

Sean is a Retail Industry analyst at RetailNet Group LLC. His focus is on tracking the leading retail growth platforms and the strategies behind them.

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