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QFC tests digital shelf labeling in Redmond store

Posted: January 8th, 2019, 7:51 am
by Brian Lutz
https://www.geekwire.com/2019/future-re ... ft-kroger/

Kroger is collaborating with Microsoft on adding digital shelf labeling to a QFC store in Redmond, which enables shoppers using Scan Bag Go to easily locate items and simplifies the process of updating shelf tags, with an aim of reducing customer shopping time and improving productivity. Based on the photos it looks like the Bella Bottega location (where I used to shop often when I lived down there.) If I get a chance I might have to check it out and see how this works.

More info here:

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/k ... he-future/

Re: QFC tests digital shelf labeling in Redmond store

Posted: January 8th, 2019, 10:59 am
by arizonaguy
Seems like an awful large expense for next to no improvement in the customer experience.

Maybe it is helpful on the back end, but it seems like another swing and miss by Kroger management.

Re: QFC tests digital shelf labeling in Redmond store

Posted: January 8th, 2019, 11:25 am
by Brian Lutz
Right now it's a test project in two stores, plenty of time to collect data before deciding whether to expand further with this. The articles tout benefits to customers in terms of being able to provide wayfinding within the store to highlight items they are looking for. I do have to imagine that most of the benefits will be in terms of back-end efficiency (the articles also mention the ability to use cameras to monitor inventory in real time.) Even if it only saves labor costs in updating shelf tags (which I understand to be a fairly labor intensive process) they can probably recoup their investment over time, although this gives no indication of what upfront costs would be.

Re: QFC tests digital shelf labeling in Redmond store

Posted: January 8th, 2019, 1:15 pm
by BillyGr
These seem a bit more advanced (which makes sense given the time lapse), but Stop & Shop had (at least in CT I remember seeing them) a version of digital tags quite some time ago (early 2000's, I'd say).

These certainly will make it easier for sales (as they take some time to get the tags up many places, so you aren't always sure if the item is the one on sale or not) - many times they also forget and leave old ones up, which means giving extra away when you don't get the price you expect at checkout and go to the service counter as many stores give you either a free item or a coupon off a future order for the inconvenience.

Re: QFC tests digital shelf labeling in Redmond store

Posted: January 8th, 2019, 2:44 pm
by Brian Lutz
Kohl's uses a form of digital price tag in their stores extensively, although theirs is a passive system that uses LCD tags that can be updated remotely. I suspect the costs of a system like this are going to be very high initially, but they are likely betting on cost reductions as display technology and whatever embedded systems the digital tags use continue to get cheaper (for comparison, apparently the digital tags that Kohl's uses cost somewhere around $5 each with an expected useful life of around 5 years.)

Also, it's interesting to see Microsoft involved in this project, which seems to be primarily in cloud services. My guess is that they see a potential market in brick-and-mortar retailers who want cloud-based solutions, but don't want to deal with Amazon/AWS.

Re: QFC tests digital shelf labeling in Redmond store

Posted: January 8th, 2019, 3:17 pm
by klkla
This partnership is about more than just the electronic shelf tags:

https://www.supermarketnews.com/retail- ... e-platform

Re: QFC tests digital shelf labeling in Redmond store

Posted: January 8th, 2019, 6:08 pm
by storewanderer
I have already seen a Kroger with electronic shelf tags somewhere years ago. This part of the story is not new news. This is nothing new. But for some reason no chain has rolled it out on a wide scale (except Kohls as noted). Albertsons was pushing this sort of technology back in the early 00's too. It is like Kroger is using old Albertsons annual reports for many of its current "initiatives."

Re: QFC tests digital shelf labeling in Redmond store

Posted: January 8th, 2019, 7:21 pm
by rwsandiego
The Scottsdale AZ Whole Foods has d9bital shelf tags, but they are difficult to read.

Re: QFC tests digital shelf labeling in Redmond store

Posted: January 11th, 2019, 9:03 pm
by mbz321
rwsandiego wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 7:21 pm
The Scottsdale AZ Whole Foods has d9bital shelf tags, but they are difficult to read.
Just like your post :P :lol:

Re: QFC tests digital shelf labeling in Redmond store

Posted: January 11th, 2019, 11:34 pm
by storewanderer
In all seriousness, I have wondered why digital shelf tags have not taken off. If they got digital shelf strips that spanned the entire shelf, they could handle resets, tinker with shelf space allocations driven by demand by season/week, etc. with a simple software update.

One thing I have noticed in the few stores where I have seen digital shelf tags is the tags do not "stand out at you." The tags I saw had a gray background so sale items, etc. did not stand out. The digital shelf tag was designed to "look" the same format/font as a regular shelf tag but the coloring was not the same.

Remember 20 years ago the industry said everything would have RFID on it and you would no longer even need to go through a checkstand anymore; still waiting on that initiative... this is the problem when you pay too much attention to a technology money pit. There are a ton of good ideas but for whatever reason(s) they often do not get off the ground yet still cost millions. Kroger needs to get back to investing in its store base before Albertsons takes that $660 million they just got from selling/leasing back distribution centers and opens 50 new stores.