Pick n Pay Coachmans Crossing has deployed more than 11,000 refurbished Pricer electronic shelf labels (ESL) from XON Retail.
The labels will support an upcoming just-in-time stock keeping process that speeds up and improves the accuracy of regular daily and weekly price updates, cuts labour costs of price updates, costs of paper labels, and costs of incorrect prices.
“Physically demarcating space to specific products with electronic labels that are fixed to shelves and can’t be easily moved is important for the just-in-time process,” says Michael Simmons, who owns Pick n Pay Coachmans Crossing. “It helps in-store managers set the layout of product lines on the shelves instead of merchandisers and suppliers who could shift other product as they choose. This means we also get merchandising consistency that helps us run the store more efficiently and helps satisfy our customers that product will be available when they shop with us.”
Merchandisers previously drove stocking and Simmons says the Pricer ESL system sets the ball rolling for in-store merchandising control.
The labels are supplied with a remote control store managers can use at the shelf edge. They can interrogate labels directly to check stock levels, rates of sale, and more – up to 32 parcels of information. This helps them maintain stocking and stock levels.
“As part of the rollout we also cleaned up our product line range which clears the way to extend the range,” says Simmons. “Range extension is a natural part of daily retail operations that’s essentially tailoring the range of products we offer to customers based on their preferences and buying patterns.”
Simmons and his team of managers can interrogate the refurbished Pricer labels to discern all such relevant information.
“Many customers have told us that they understand the benefits of the labels and they can see they’d be beneficial in their stores,” says Hendrik Bredenkamp, MD of XON Retail. “But the price often makes them hesitate. Once the labels are in they never look back but it’s overcoming that initial hurdle that takes some getting used to.”
XON Retail is the only global Pricer partner to refurbish and resell Pricer ESLs pulled from active duty in France. It fully refurbishes the units at the soon-to-be ISO-certified facility in Midrand. Refurbishment covers a full physical examination of each and every unit, battery replacement, and complete digital diagnostics.
Refurbished labels are offered back for active duty at a fraction of the cost of new labels and also with full swap-out warranties.
“They cost just R29 each so they are highly commoditised – about the same as a 2l milk which lasts you three days if you’re lucky,” says Bredenkamp, “and retailers can get annual warranties for just 2.5% of the cost of the labels – which is slightly more than the cost of a plastic shopping bag.”
The units last between five and 10 years before they need any typical maintenance, which is usually only a battery replacement. The replacements can be done in-store, with labels removed directly from shelves for just seven seconds during which time the battery is replaced and the ESL replaced on the shelf using a special tool. Only those batteries that have run down are replaced which is reported on automatically by the two-way communication system.