Shopper looks at labelling on tin on shelf

Price-conscious shoppers are being driven to online sites to get better experiences, according to the new study by Planet Retail

Inaccurate and inconsistent pricing is costing retailers in lost sales and consumer trust, according to new research.

The study by Planet Retail, commissioned by electronic shelf labelling company Displaydata, has claimed that price-conscious shoppers are being driven to online sites to get better experiences.

However, it claimed “unjustified” fears among retailers of the acceptance of switching to so-called dynamic pricing was holding them back from changing to new technologies such as electronic shelf labelling.

The report, Analogue to Automated: Retail in the Connected Age, which surveyed 5,000 consumers and 1,000 retailers globally, found shoppers were growing more tolerant of “dynamic pricing” if it saved them money and reduced waste. Nearly two thirds (65%) of consumers said they would welcome price changes throughout the day if a product was approaching its sell-by date.

However, a quarter of retailers were not convinced of customer acceptance if they were to change prices more frequently.

The report claimed consumers were less sceptical about using new technology than customers feared. More than two thirds of shoppers wanted technologies that enhanced their experiences in stores: 33% wanted promotions sent direct to their mobile devices; 31% wanted Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) to show accurate, real time prices, promotions, and detailed product information; and 27% wanted to be identified as a loyal customer.

The report claimed that retailers spent $104bn globally in 2017 manually changing price labels.

“Our research shows that despite the huge changes retail has undergone in recent years, a fair and accurate price, consistent across channels, remains the key purchasing factor for the vast majority of shoppers, said Andrew Dark, CEO, Displaydata. “However, to effectively harness the power of price, thrive against online competitors and retain shoppers’ trust, retailers must create a digitally-connected environment to meet the high customer expectations that are being shaped by online experiences.”

Sarah Herrlein, senior retail analyst at Planet Retail, added: “Consumers today are digitally empowered, with access to real time information on products, and are more price sensitive than ever.

“Our research shows they expect a more consistent, automated experience, but their trust and faith in the store is lessening due to basic technological inefficiencies.

“With retailers spending billions on things like manual price changes, the case for deploying digital technologies that optimise efficiencies, deliver the customer a better experience and better value in store has never been greater.”