Central Co-op ESELs (4)

Source: Central Co-op

It follows a trial at three stores last summer 

Central Co-op has completed the rollout of over one million electronic shelf labels across its food estate.

Since a trial with three Lichfield stores last summer, including at its flagship Boley Park site, the society has been installing ESLs at 20 stores every week.

With 260 food sites overall, Central Co-op said it decided to introduce the technology to counteract the inefficiencies and challenges that were being posed by traditional paper labels.

This included the labour-intensive process of printing, tearing and placing labels, causing operational disruptions and taking up staff resources. Replacing promotional messages also required extensive manpower, and could be susceptible to human error, it added.

Since implementing ESLs, Central Co-op colleagues at its support centre in Lichfield have been able to manage pricing and promotions centrally “with ease”, eliminating the need for manual label adjustments. There was also less risk of errors, helping to ensure consistency across all stores, it added.

With the rollout saving staff time and labour, it was allowing colleagues to focus on customer service and shelf-stocking instead, according to the society. 

It was also presenting “significant sustainability benefits” through reducing paper and printing costs. It was also minimising energy consumption with the battery-powered ESLs lasting about 10 years.

“The recent installation of ESLs has improved the look and feel of the store massively and has helped the front of store stand out to customers as well,” said a store colleague at Central Co-op. ”Great first impressions.”

Central Co-op said it was looking to leverage the technology further, with plans to enhance in-store navigation for stocking and food delivery services, as well as introduce dynamic PoS designs.