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Smart_Shelf_Tags_with_ELi_Codes-Cornerstone_for_Natural.png Cornerstone for Natural
Fresh Thyme products with Cornerstone for Natural Smart Shelf Tags generated over three times the sales of other items within their categories, based on SPINS data.

Fresh Thyme Market tallies sales gains from ‘smart’ shelf tags

Products merchandised with enhanced QR code technology outperform counterparts

Fresh Thyme Market has seen a sizable sales lift since deploying enhanced QR code technology on shelves for some products over a year ago.

Business management software provider Cornerstone for Natural said Fresh Thyme products merchandised with its Smart Shelf Tags generated more than three times the sales of other items within their respective categories, based on SPINS retail sales data. Equipped with patented ELi Codes, the interactive shelf tags display videos, PDFs, web content, images, and product information and attributes when scanned by a smartphone.

“It comes as no surprise that partnering with our suppliers to provide our shoppers with great product information at the shelf would increase sales,” Jonathan Lawrence, senior director of grocery and natural living at Fresh Thyme, said in a statement. “What is surprising is that more retailers haven’t caught on to it.”


When a Smart Shelf Tag is scanned by a smartphone, customers get access to videos, PDFs, web content, images, and other information for that product.


Downers Grove, Ill.-based Fresh Thyme, with over 70 stores in 10 Midwestern states, began adding Smart Shelf Tags with ELi Codes to products in its Natural Living department in the fall of 2020. The product-based QR codes can be read natively by most current smartphones without requiring an app. Fresh Thyme’s suppliers were prompted to work directly with Cornerstone for Natural to enhance the content displayed by upgrading their ELi Codes to include videos, PDFs, images, URLs and other items. The sales analysis by SPINS reflected Fresh Thyme unit sales of smart-tagged items for the 12 months ended Oct. 3, 2021,  versus items without the tags in the same categories.

Tampa, Fla.-based Cornerstone for Natural noted that the Smart Shelf Tags, created in partnership with ELi Techology, help in-store shoppers better understand the benefits, features and attributes of products on the shelf, as well as the companies that make them. That, in turn, fosters product transparency and boosts consumer confidence in the items they purchase, leading to increased sales and engagement, the company said. The tags, too, give suppliers an easy way to train retailer store associates about the products they sell to better assist customers.

“It all speaks to how important shopper education and engagement truly are at retail,” according to David Williams, executive vice president of business development at Cornerstone for Natural. “Today’s shoppers care more about what goes into the products they purchase. Promoting product attributes and content drive sales. The results speak for themselves.”

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