The Rise of Electronic Shelf Labels

by Lottie Atkin

Electronic shelf labels refer to systems used by retailers to sell their products in stores. Typically, the display modules are attached to the front edge of retail shelving, and display the pricing and additional information of the product, such as sell by dates and nutritional value for food products, or product information for electronics. The concept dates all the way back to 1991, when Scandinavian based tech company Pricer was founded in Sweden. The first ever Pricer ESL system was installed in a Cash & Carry store in 1995. The modules use electronic paper or liquid crystal paper to display this information. A communication network allows the price display to be automatically updated whenever a product price is changed, and it is this what makes ESL a strong solution for modern retail. In order to operate properly, the wireless communication must have a reasonable range, speed, battery life and reliability, which can be based on radio, infrared or even visible light communication. 

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