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John Lewis epaper ESLs, Exeter store (Credit: Pierhouse)

John Lewis and Kiddicare digitise shelf edge

By Retail Technology | Wednesday February 6 2013

Exeter store trials ‘epaper’ system and NetTickIT software to strengthen omnichannel strategy, while baby retailer expands countrywide digital shelf-edge display roll out

Two retailers have today revealed strategic technology deployments designed to streamline the management of on-shelf product labelling in their stores.

UK department store chain John Lewis is trialling electronic shelf-edge labels (ESLs) as part of its new flexible format shop in Exeter.

And, like John Lewis, baby specialist Kiddicare is rolling out ESLs from provider ZBD to strengthen its multichannel strategy and support an ambitious store expansion programme.

Improved customer communications

Karen Dracou, John Lewis head of omnichannel, said: “Our Exeter shop is our most omnichannel to date, and this technology is a key part of creating a really integrated experience for customers.”

The John Lewis trial has been undertaken to automate the communication of offers and product information instore, freeing up sales Partners to provide the high level of service for which John Lewis is famous. The retailer has used several hundred of ZBD’s graphic ‘epaper’ displays to replace traditional print ticketing in its Exeter store.

The move is designed to provide customers with product information, pricing, promotions, reviews as well as quick response (QR) codes in a digital format, all driven by NetTickIT software from integrated signage management provider Pierhouse

Dracou added: “The tickets allow us to trial how we can break down some of the barriers traditionally associated with shopping through different channels. They have an option to include QR codes, which allow customers to access information online, compare products and check stock.”

Baby retailer expands with ESL

Following its acquisition by UK supermarket giant Morrisons in 2011, Kiddicare took over the leases of 10 former Best Buy sites, which will eventually bring its total number of physical superstores to 11.

Today it reported that its ambitious store roll out programme (Retail Technology magazine, November/December 2012 issue) to convert these big box sites into stores of the future is now well underway with ZBD’s epaper system set to be rolled out countrywide as part of the expansion. The first three of these new stores opened in 2012, and the remaining seven stores are due for completion before the end of 2013.

Scott Weavers-Wright, Kiddicare chief executive, said: “As a multichannel retailer, keeping store pricing in line with our website is one of our biggest challenges. ZBD’s technology removes the limitations of paper from the equation, allowing us to deliver a seamless, consistent experience to our customers, however they engage with us. The ZBD solution gives our in store teams the chance to focus on what’s important – ‘WOW’ customer service.

He added: “With ZBD’s fully graphic displays, we can add QR codes to the shelf in the future to provide additional information on customers’ mobile phones, or store assistants’ tablets. This information could include product demonstrations, customer reviews or anything else that will enhance the shopping experience. It’s all available via our free instore Wi-Fi network.”

Multichannel store thinking

The Kiddicare epaper system plays a key role in the new superstores, providing instant multichannel price and information changes, an important capability given the size and scale of the stores. The displays also give the store a tech-forward look and really appeal to the growing number of tech-savvy mums and dads, who expect to see the latest technologies in store.

Kiddicare carries out price checks on a daily basis and updates product pricing daily to give it a competitive edge. This also helps maintain product and pricing information consistency between the store, the Kiddicare website and apps. Revised stock figures update automatically, giving customers visibility over items in stock in real-time.

“ZBD’s technology has been a vital part of our growth strategy, helping us to deliver the best possible service to our customers. We look forward to working with ZBD in the future to expand our operations and enhance our multichannel strategy.” concluded Weavers-Wright.

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