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CUSTOMER: PLUS Retail
TOTAL NUMBER OF STORES: Approximately 265 supermarkets
NUMBER OF LABELS: On average 11.500 ESLs per store, the average store is 1200 square meters
SOLUTION: Full roll out in all stores with Pricer Plaza (SaaS solution) and SmartTAG Power ESLs. The project also contains complete implementation and installation services.
STARTING YEAR: Full roll out in 2020-2021, independent stores since 2011.
Henk Vergeer is one of the approximately 220 independent store owners within PLUS Retail, the Dutch supermarket cooperation who has chosen to implement Pricer’s platform with electronic shelf labels (ESLs) in all stores during 2020 and the beginning of 2021. Having had Pricer’s ESLs since 2014 and being one of the nine pilot stores, he is truly eager to get the full roll out with the upgrade to Pricer’s new SmartTAG Power tags and start using the system for all possible applications such as Click & Collect, replenishment, inventory etc. in his 1,100 square meter store in Ouderkerk aan den Ijssel close to Rotterdam.
If Plus hadn’t taken the decision centrally to install the Pricer platform, I would have done it anyway. We really need the automation of our in-store processes to have control of the operation, meet the competition and stay on the market”, he says.
He cannot imagine not having ESLs in his store. When he thinks of the time before 2014, the year he invested in the platform and started working with ESLs, he shivers:
“I never want to work that way again, with all the hassle changing paper price tags or having to deal with upset customers when they paid the wrong price at check out”, he says.
Out of the nine pilot stores, five already had ESLs and four only had paper price tags. After having tested and evaluated several competing systems, PLUS decided to go with Pricer and make a full roll out in all independent stores.
PLUS is organized as a cooperation, so it was important to make everything to get all store owners enthusiastic and positive about the project. The decision to choose Pricer was taken due to a combination of highly reliable labels and ESL platform, long battery lifetime and Instant Flash capability which is a prerequisite for advanced use cases.
The rollout of Pricer’s solution includes the new SmartTAG Power labels running on the Pricer Plaza (SaaS solution). The project also contains the complete implementation and installation services.
The 265 stores differ in size and number of labels. The average store size is 1200 square meters with approximately 11,500 labels, where the biggest part is Medium, some Small, freezer labels and HD110 (Fruit & Vegetable) to complete the installation.
Pricer and PLUS have built a test and development platform to realize a full integration of the PLUS apps and the Pricer Plaza SaaS solution (mainly based on API support). All apps are running on the same graphical user interface (GUI) on a store PDA directly connected to PLUS’ back office.
PLUS run their own user interface which gives one switchboard to all store solutions. This means that the store employees work in their own well-known environment but that they benefit from the fully integrated Pricer solutions and a dedicated Pricer section.
Every store can work as an individual entity on the Pricer Plaza, but at the same time they benefit from the unique Pricer Central Server capabilities as part of the Pricer Plaza. This means that they, amongst other things, can have local pricing but at the same time central templates for the labels, campaigns, and actions according to national advertisement.
But what is most important is that in this project Pricer and PLUS work in a true cooperation, as partners.
“We constantly look for improvements and realize them together”, emphasizes René van der Horst, Sales Director BENELUX at Pricer.
The combination of a highly reliable ESL platform, superior battery lifetime, instant flash capability, and Pricer Plaza, gives the store owners a direct business advantage and added value to the stores, improving their competitiveness and lowering their cost. The platform is the prerequisite for digitalization of in-store processes, from price management, dynamic pricing and Click & Collect, to inventory, replenishment, information about out of stock products or expiration date management.
Store owner Henk Vergeer is very clear about the major benefits:
They will definitely come from the Click & Collect possibilities. This has been more obvious than ever with the COVID-19 pandemic. Before, we used to have 80 e-commerce orders per week. Now we handle more than 350. We will save lots of time that we can spend on marketing activities or helping customers in the store”, he says.
Henk Vergeer also sees that the upgraded system will benefit the customers in several ways, apart from the obvious benefits from the price management solution that he has used since 2014.
He will now be able to give his customers better customer experience with information about products and promotions. With a message on the label, the store can also inform the customers when a product is out of stock and, if known, the next delivery date.
Having been in the retail business and a store owner for many years, Henk Vergeer is very clear about the value of the ESL system.
“Today the needs of a store are much higher. We need the wealth of information so we can take immediate action and steer the in-store processes. The biggest difference with the upgraded system is that we now will have the flash on the labels that is essential for all processes. That will help us save both valuable time and money”, he says.
The decision to implement the Pricer solution was taken during spring 2020. Pricer and PLUS built a test and development platform to realize a full integration of the PLUS APP’s and the SaaS solution Pricer Plaza. Pricer also started the preparation in the stores.
In May 2020 the complete installation, APP integration and Pricer Plaza was tested in a POC, proof of concept. In June nine stores were implemented for a pilot study and September 1st the full rollout with 16 stores per week started. This is planned to be completed during the first quarter 2021.
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