News that Southern Co-op will be rolling out electronic shelf-edge labels to all of its stores was received positively, as colleagues in trial stores say they couldn’t go back to paper labels.
The regional, independent co-operative started trialling two different types of electronic shelf edge labels (ESELs) in December 2020 before gradually widening the trial to a total of 15 stores over the last 12 months.
Taking into account the demand, the accuracy and the astoundingly positive feedback, Southern Co-op has agreed to invest further into the technology with a roll out to all of its stores towards the end of 2022 and throughout 2023.
Adam Skiller, Store Manager of The Co-operative Food – Stockbridge Road, in Chichester, which has had the ESELs for 19 months, said: “They make such a difference. We are able to save so much time and, from a wider perspective, I have got the confidence that all the prices are accurate.
“We are lucky really that the business is investing, looking forward and exploring how to make tasks easier in the store. We used to get through around 40 packs of paper for shelf-edge labels a year so that is a huge saving in paper and financially.
“Overall, we really benefit and all the colleagues love it. Replacing all the paper labels – the job always fell to the same people and it is incredibly monotonous. So it does help with morale and it looks clean, tidy and organised.”
It is estimated that around £220,000 will be saved each year in paper and consumable costs such as printing.
The cutting-edge technology is manufactured by SoluM, a Samsung-invested company, and is run in partnership with Cambridge based technology integrator, Herbert Retail.
The installation programme was delivered in partnership Scotmid Co-op which is hoping to complete its ESEL installation programme to all of its stores later this year.
“Since we started the trials, it is one of the things that I have had regular requests for,” said Mark Barnett, Southern Co-op’s Retail Transformation Project Lead. “Store managers have been calling out for this technology as changing physical shelf labels is laborious and something no one wants to be burdened with.
“It’s a big investment but it’s worth it as our stores will have increased efficiency, assured pricing and product information, reduced paper wastage and an enhanced store team morale.
“It means promotions can change over as soon as a store opens its doors. Plus the larger electronic labels can display legal information such as allergens, Think25 messaging, and home delivery options.
“It is fast, accurate and offers our customers a seamless in store experience.”