Waitrose has launched trials of video shelf-edge technology to display prices and target consumers with point of sale marketing, The Grocer can reveal.
The supermarket has become the first retailer to use full-colour LCD video shelf-edge ticketing, having started a 12-week trial at its store in Trumpington, Cambridge, which will run until April.
The technology is being used to support seasonal campaigns, but potentially opens a major new front for in-store advertising and promotional activity.
The trial comes amid a new focus on electronic shelf labels (ESLs) following the controversy surrounding a BBC investigation into out-of-date promotions at dozens of Tesco stores.
All the major retailers are believed to be considering the possibility of electronic shelves being brought in to improve transparency and promotional compliance.
However, Waitrose said its trial was also potentially a way to transform the in-store experience.
The trial has seen 80 11-inch LCD clips placed on 20 shelves. All can display prices, promotional messages and advertising campaigns, which can be controlled centrally by Waitrose.
The store has been running a gin offer in the BWS aisle. It said the system had opened up an opportunity for its buying team by displaying tasting notes and recommendations.
Waitrose said it would capture customer feedback from the trial through surveys and sales data to evaluate its potential before making any decisions on a wider rollout.
“We are always looking at how we can bring the Waitrose offer closer to our customers and give them clearer, more convenient access to product information and recommendations from our buyers,” said customer relationship manager Charles De Clerck.
“It is a new generation of digital ticketing. This small trial is a first step to enable us to determine if the technology is something that has the potential to improve our customers’ shopping experience further in the future.”
Chris Brown, managing director of SFD Systems, which developed the technology being used by Waitrose, said: “We’re not just doing this for in-store theatre but for promotional accuracy.
“It also opens up a great new opportunity both for own-brand promotions using video technology but it’s also something that is potentially of huge interest to brands wanting to bring their marketing to life on the shelves.”