Retail deployments of electronic shelf labels in the U.S. may be few and far between, but elsewhere in the world, especially Europe, ESLs have found a far more receptive audience.
“Adoption is much greater in Europe because of the VAT [value-added tax] used there,” noted Diana Crane, spokeswoman for PCC Natural Markets, Seattle, one of the few U.S. retailers implementing ESLs. “The VAT causes multiple price changes on a daily basis.”
Last year, for example, ZBD Solutions, Windsor, U.K., which is supplying PCC Natural Markets' ESLs, announced that Iper Lando, the Italian Hypermarket, implemented ZBD's epop (electronic point of purchase) displays in the fresh-food departments of one store to display price and product information as well as “provenance information,” a legal requirement in Italy. CBA, one of Hungary's largest retailers, also announced the deployment of ESLs from ZBD at one of its stores late last year.
Pricer, based in Stockholm, Sweden, said late last year that it has more than 5,300 ESL installations in over 40 countries with about 60% worldwide market share. In its 2009 annual report, Pricer said that France is the European country where ESLs have gained the greatest traction, though Southern Europe has experienced increasing numbers of ESL installations in recent years. “The ESL market is also beginning to gain momentum in Eastern Europe while it is coming to a new life in Nordic countries,” the report said. However, adoption remains low in the U.K.
Store Electronic Systems (SES), Bezons, France, has ESL installations in a wide range of European retailers, including Carrefour, Delhaize, Auchan, Tesco and Edeka. Carrefour, for example, employs as many as 65,000 ESLs in some stores, according to SES' website.
Another major ESL supplier, ILID, Melbourne, Australia, has many retail customers in that country, including Kmart Australia, IGA Australia and Foodland.
In Mexico, Soriana, that country's second largest retailer, placed an order in December for the deployment of Pricer ESLs in 46 of its hypermarkets and supermarkets. Soriana also has ESLs in more than 100 other stores.