ESL “Electronic Shelf Label” is a widely spread technology in production for the largest retails in the world for over two decades. The efficiency and effectiveness are tangible and the ROI is clear. It saves effort, it is far more accurate or better – less error prone, and it looks better than the paper-based price tags. It uses E-Ink and IR for interface which makes it super-efficient for maintenance and ongoing OPEX.
In the last few years, as the prices of LCD/LED shelf screens started to significantly drop, we can see and increased usage of this technology, although it is not yet widely spread.
The advantages of this technology are visible, literally. It looks better, it provides much more options to catch the customers attention, promote sales and advertise products in addition to shelf labeling and pricing. In ESL the basic implementation is two colors, recently we can see the ability to add more colors, the LED/LCD screens obviously allow full capabilities of video and other rich and dynamic content.
It seems like during the last few years the LCD/LED shelf screen are complimentary to the ESL, but are we in the tipping point in which the coin will flop and the center of gravity will move towards the “sexier” solution?
It seems to us that indeed the tables begging to turn and the biggest retailers are looking for richer, more dynamic, interactive and attractive solution. As the prices keep dropping, this trend, to our humble opinion will continue.
The ESL is here to stay, it is not going to disappear, at least not in the coming decade. It has a lot of advantages, but the high end “Real Screen” solutions will keep growing and take more and more market share and attention by the retail leads.
As far as the LCD/LED option, it seems like there is another layer we can peel here, and differ between LCD and LED. The advantage of LED is the ability to shape and size the screens, while the power consumption is 10x more and the wasted energy on temperature is significantly higher so when installing instore in large number of locations/branches LCD, might be a more cost-effective solution.
Also the screen resolution of LCD is much higher than LED. With LED shelf display, you cannot generate a QR code, as you have too few pixels there. LCD is the much better choice.
Personally, I think that a store should be filled with ESL labels, a couple of LCD shelf displays to be positioned in a strategic place in the store, such as the end caps. For LED – that can be a nice-to-have option, but not for shelf edge displays. Maybe for a pillar of folded display in the center of the store.