Lidl electronic shelf label passata

Source: The Grocer

Digital signs highlighting a price cut on Lidl’s own-label passata

The discounters are leading the adoption of electronic shelf labels, The Grocer has learned.

Aldi is rolling out electronic labels across its estate, as Lidl trials them in about 30 stores.

Aldi told The Grocer this week it had started to gradually roll out ESLs across its estate, having trialled them in some stores since 2021.

Lidl said its pilot had been launched to improve efficiency by giving staff more time to focus on tasks other than changing labels.

The move would also save a large amount of paper, Lidl added, making it a more environmentally-friendly option.

While ESLs have proven increasingly attractive in the convenience sector during the past 12 months, Aldi is thought to be the first major supermarket to embark on a full rollout.

Tesco and Sainsbury’s have both previously trialled ESLs but do not currently use them. Co-op and Waitrose also have none, while Asda has the labels in a single store, in Stevenage, in a trial that began in 2020.

Morrisons has them in a small number of stores including two newly opened ones this year – in Chelmsford, Essex, and Great Park, Newcastle – while M&S has trials in two stores.

The ESLs were spotted in Lidl’s Tooting store in London on everyday own-label lines including frozen peas and passata.

In a sign of how they may be useful for the discounters in competing on price, one of Lidl’s electronic signs highlighted a price cut on its standard tier own-label 500g passata, from 49p to 45p. It put it at the same price as Aldi’s standard-tier own-label 500g passata on that day (25 April).

“ESLs save money in terms of staffing and ticketing and enable real-time price changes, which must be a no-brainer for Aldi and Lidl, particularly when price inflation is so high and volatile,” said retail analyst Nick Bubb.

Sentinel Management Consultants CEO David Sables said: “This is an extension of efficient instore practice and pricing agility.

“When you consider the fact they have no real competitive position in online sales, they need to do instore brilliantly and this is what they aim for, along with price.”