The Future of Retail: Unpacking Electronic Shelf Labeling

Say goodbye to the days of manually swapping price tags. Electronic shelf labeling (ESL) is not just an upgrade but a transformation in retail efficiency, offering a sharp contrast to the cumbersome paper labels of yesterday. Faced with the old challenges of inconsistency, inaccuracy, and waste, retailers find relief in ESL’s promise of streamlined operations and heightened customer satisfaction. 

At the heart of this shift is ComQi’s ESL solution, Easel, which infuses digital technology with wireless communication for a smarter approach to shelf management. In the following sections, we’ll peel back the layers of ESL technology to reveal why it’s becoming a vital tool for retailers looking to stay ahead.

Key Takeaways

  • Operational Transformation: ESL replaces outdated paper labels, ensuring accurate, consistent, and instantly updatable pricing, streamlining retail operations.
  • Customer Engagement: ESL provides shoppers dynamic pricing, product details, and tailored offers directly at the shelf, improving satisfaction and trust in retail brands.
  • ComQi’s Integrated Solutions: ComQi’s ecosystem leverages cloud-based CMS for seamless in-store digital integration, offering retailers centralized control with local customization capabilities.
  • Sustainable Innovation: ESL’s future includes eco-friendly practices promising a greener, more interactive retail environment.

Benefits of ESL for Retailers and Customers

Navigating the competitive retail landscape requires agility and accuracy, especially regarding pricing and promotions. Electronic Shelf Labeling (ESL) steps in as a transformative force for both retailers and their customers, delivering a spectrum of benefits that go well beyond the price tag. 

Let’s explore how ESL is making its mark by providing consistent, efficient, and engaging solutions that cater to the needs of the modern shopper and the savvy retailer.

Benefits for Retailers

Retailers are on the cusp of a major shift with Electronic Shelf Labeling (ESL), ready to tackle the challenges of accurate pricing and operational efficiency. This technology not only simplifies the critical task of pricing management but also amplifies efficiency across the board:

  • Consistent Pricing Displays: Price consistency is the cornerstone of retail trust. ESL ensures that the price customers see on the shelf seamlessly matches those online, at the point of sale, and during promotions, eliminating any discrepancies that could disrupt the shopping experience.
  • High Operational Efficiency: Relegating the task of manual price updates to history, ESL ushers in an era of heightened efficiency. Retailers can reallocate the valuable time and resources once spent on laborious pricing updates to other business areas, enhancing overall productivity.
  • Responsive Label Updates: With ESL, retailers can swiftly adapt to market fluctuations, customer demand, and competitive strategies by updating shelf labels instantaneously. This agility ensures they remain competitive and relevant in a market that never stands still.

Benefits for Customers

The advent of ESL also brings a positive change to shopping, providing customers with a transparent, interactive, and enriched shopping experience. The direct benefits to the consumer are clear and compelling:

  • Enhanced Shopping Experience: ESL transcends the traditional shopping journey, offering customers a seamless and informative experience. Easy access to product information, price comparisons, and personalized offers, all available at the shelf edge, empowers customers and simplifies their decision-making process.
  • Increased Trust and Loyalty: When prices are consistent and transparent across all platforms, customers’ trust in a retailer’s pricing policy is strengthened, fostering a sense of loyalty and confidence in the brand.
  • Improved Engagement and Satisfaction: The interactive nature of ESL invites customers to engage with more than just products. By using their smartphones to scan QR codes on ESLs, customers can receive tailored coupons, access detailed product information, and provide instant feedback, creating a dynamic and satisfying shopping experience.

Incorporating ESL is more than just a technological upgrade—it’s a commitment to operational excellence and customer-centricity. As ComQi’s ESL solution, Easel,  integrates into the fabric of retail environments, they weave a narrative of innovation and attentiveness that resonates with the retailer and the consumer.

ComQi Ecosystem

Integration is vital in the current retail landscape, and ComQi addresses this need with a cohesive ecosystem that merges digital signage and ESL. This union empowers retailers to manage their in-store experience with unparalleled seamlessness.

At the core lies the EnGage content management system (CMS), an industry pacesetter renowned for its robustness and intuitive operation. Content creation, scheduling, and management are centralized here, ensuring a consistent narrative across every digital touchpoint. Extending this system’s capabilities to ESL means shelf labels become more than just price carriers; they are active, dynamic elements of the retail store.

Moreover, the ecosystem is enhanced by the OnSite CMS tool, which allows store managers the flexibility to customize messaging for local audiences. Here’s where the ecosystem’s power truly shines:

  • Localized Customization: OnSite CMS empowers local staff to fine-tune content to the store’s unique demographic, ensuring relevance and personalization.
  • Brand Consistency: Even with localization, the overall brand message remains unaltered, preserving the retailer’s core identity.

The culmination of this ecosystem is a streamlined workflow that integrates various aspects of in-store marketing and operations. Whether digital displays, interactive kiosks, or ESLs, all elements deliver a cohesive and engaging customer journey. Retailers can quickly adapt to market trends, manage promotions, and update pricing across all locations with a few clicks.

ComQi’s ecosystem represents the next step in retail management, uniting every piece of in-store technology to orchestrate robust customer engagement and streamlined operations. With this system, retailers are equipped not only to meet but exceed the expectations of today’s consumers.

To illustrate the real-world impact of such an ecosystem, let’s delve into the story of iConnect Suomi Oy. 

Their experience highlights how the scalability and effectiveness of ComQi’s solutions translate into tangible success for businesses facing the complexities of digital signage at a global scale.

A Case of Global Impact: iConnect’s Story with ComQi

In Finland’s competitive digital signage market, iConnect Suomi Oy faced a critical challenge: how to scale their services globally while managing diverse CMS solutions tailored to each client. The complexity of handling multiple SaaS products and microservices was becoming a barrier to growth and efficiency. 

In search of a solution that could simplify their operations and support their expansion, iConnect turned to ComQi’s EnGage CMS.

  • Streamlining with EnGage CMS: ComQi provided a single, cloud-based platform that could be effortlessly deployed across continents, centralizing iConnect’s operations and reducing the complexity of their systems.
  • Major Project Success: Using the EnGage platform, iConnect delivered Finland’s most prominent digital signage project at Hartwall Arena, where they managed intricate video walls and live streams, enhancing the venue’s atmosphere and guest experience.
  • Partnership Excellence: The collaboration with Fortum, a leader in sustainable energy, further demonstrated the potential of ComQi’s system. Together, they crafted a digital signage experience that resonated with Fortum’s brand identity and operational goals, leaving a lasting impression on stakeholders.

The partnership between iConnect and ComQi, underpinned by the versatile and powerful EnGage CMS, showcases the transformative effects of a unified digital signage solution. It’s a testament to the benefits of scalability, centralized control, and the ability to meet clients’ specific needs across various industries.

Future Outlook of ESL

A combination of technological advancements and a shift toward eco-conscious retailing shapes the future of Electronic Shelf Labeling (ESL). Looking ahead, ESL’s future is defined by three key trends and opportunities poised to transform the retail sector.

1. Growth Potential

The expansion of ESL is more than a trend; it’s a wave set to elevate the retail industry to new levels of efficiency and customer engagement. Two key aspects underscore this growth:

  • Market Expansion: Retailers worldwide are poised to embrace ESL, propelling market growth and enhancing the customer experience. In fact, It’s projected to reach $3.5 billion by 2031, growing at an impressive CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 15.5% from 2022 to 20311.
  • Retailer Readiness: The shift toward ESL signals a broader transition to more agile and customer-responsive retail models as more retailers adopt this technology to enhance their competitiveness, profitability, and customer loyalty.

2. Innovation Potential

Innovation is the lifeblood of progress, and ESL technology is at the cusp of introducing breakthrough features that could redefine the retail landscape:

  • Advanced Features: Anticipated developments in ESL technology include adding NFC capabilities, video, and AI analytics, which will open up new avenues for customer interaction and data insights.
  • Enhanced Interactivity: These innovations are expected to enrich the customer experience, making it more interactive and immersive. In fact, “More than four out of five (84%) Americans said they like using self-service kiosks, and 66% said they would choose to use one over a manned checkout.”

3. Impact Potential

The implications of ESL adoption extend beyond operational improvements, offering a vision of retail that is more sustainable and aligned with consumer values:

  • Environmental Sustainability: ESL stands to significantly diminish the retail sector’s ecological footprint, contributing to sustainability efforts.
  • Social Responsibility: Enhanced pricing transparency and the efficiency of ESL build consumer trust and support ethical business practices.

As we integrate these insights, it becomes clear that the future of ESL is about embracing technological innovation while fostering a more mindful approach to business operations. With companies like ComQi at the helm, ESL is on track to revolutionize the retail experience and influence the industry toward a more sustainable and ethical future.


As we wrap up our exploration of Electronic Shelf Labeling (ESL), it’s evident that ESL is not just a technological leap forward but a strategic rethinking of customer and retailer relationships. ComQi’s innovative solutions are carving out a future where pricing accuracy, operational efficiency, and customer engagement are harmoniously aligned. By integrating ESL into the retail environment, ComQi is paving the way for a streamlined, responsive, and sustainable shopping experience that resonates with the needs of modern consumers and forward-thinking retailers.

For those ready to participate in retail’s exciting evolution and harness the full potential of ESL, reaching out to ComQi can be the first step towards transforming your store’s capabilities and customer experience. Let’s start the conversation and unlock the future of retail together today!