Sainsbury’s has launched an innovative way to create a more streamlined and efficient pricing process in-store. They’re replacing the tedious paper labels with digital displays that can be changed on the fly and color-coded to indicate a special.
The trial, which has started at the Sainsbury’s Local (a scaled-down version of the sometimes voluminous market) in Shoreditch, London, will help the company gather information on how the signs affect customer behaviour and the business behind the scenes.
“This trial will give us useful feedback about quicker, efficient digital pricing information and how much time and paper we’ll save in the process,” said Jon Rudoe, director of digital and technology at Sainsbury’s.
The units will be programmed by trained employees and thereafter will have their pricing determined by a centralised system. They use a special type of display called colour EPD (better known as E Ink) that is built to withstand cold temperatures in refrigerators and freezers, and they use secure, encrypted software.
Several other U.K. grocery stores, such as the Co-Operative and Tesco, have trialled similar units in the past, but thus far they haven’t caught on. Sainsbury’s might have some challenges ahead of them in keeping the labels sustainable; in the past, the cost of the hardware, as well as training staff to use the system, has made it so that it takes stores years to recoup their initial investment. But the new display technology, as opposed to the LCD screens used by stores like Tesco in the past, could make a key difference in cost-effectiveness.
It’s likely to give both environmentalists and store managers reason for applause, but Sainsbury’s is likely already on to new tech-based solutions that are more aimed at customers, such as its video streaming service.