Discover More in Our Blogs, Articles and Use Cases

How Do Electronic Shelf Price Tags Work?

Apr 22, 2022

Electronic Shelf Price (ESP) tags are the new icon of retail technology. Smart, fast, and completely customizable, these ingenious products allow retailers to enhance their shoppers' shopping experience by providing them with information relevant to their purchase.

Electronic price tags, also known as EPR, EPL, or just shelf labels, are electronic labels that display the price of the product. They are not new they have been around since the 1980s. However, now electronic shelf labels are rapidly growing in popularity as they improve customer service and provide opportunities to interact with customers. With advancements in low-cost electronic components coupled with unique label printing techniques, electronic shelf labels are predicted to be one of the next big things in retailing.

shelf price tags.jpg

Traditional shelf price tags

How Electronic Shelf Labels Are Different from Paper Labels

Electronic shelf labels represent the next generation of in-store signage, combining the versatility of digital displays with the practicality of self-adhesive labels.

Electronic shelf labels (ESLs) are devices that use electronic ink displays to display retail prices, product information, and other information. They are a viable alternative or supplement to the traditional paper price tags used in many stores today. ESLs can be easily updated by wirelessly transmitting new data, which can include promotions, inventory levels, and special offers, among other things.

Electronic shelf labeling systems allow retailers to update prices and other information instantly, without having to print new labels or manually attach them to shelves. The system is automated, which means it doesn't require a lot of time or labor on the part of store staff. And because they can be automatically updated from a centralized system, ESLs eliminate human error when it comes to pricing items and ensuring customers are charged correctly at checkout.

ESL for retail.jpg

Electronic shelf price tags in supermarket

Features of An Electronic Shelf Label

  • Provide More Information

Electronic shelf labels (ESLs) are electronic displays that are used as a replacement for traditional paper price tags. They have become an important tool in the retail industry as they provide more information to the customer than regular paper tags.

Electronic shelf labels display a variety of information to the shopper, including price, name, stock availability, and other product data. This information can be changed or updated remotely at any time, and many retailers use the system to change prices instantly in response to market conditions.

  • Update with one click

Electronic Shelf Labels, ESL, are electronic displays that replace the traditional paper labels and stickers found on the shelves in stores. The main benefit of ESL is that they are dynamic. Price and stock can be updated from one central system without the need for staff to walk around with a ladder or to manually update each label.


Electronic price tags can also be used to display additional information like a product description or promotion. This can give retailers greater flexibility in how they present their products and increase the visibility of their promotions.

ESLs are often linked to the store's inventory management system, allowing them to automatically update as stock levels change. This allows for real-time stock information, as well as delivering an improved customer experience by reducing instances of customers trying to purchase out-of-stock items.

saving cost.jpg

ESLs can help save cost

  • Cost Saving

Paper shelf labels cost more than electronic ones because they require more labor to print and apply. Plus, all these processes are done manually, and therefore, errors cannot be avoided. With ESL, a single system controls everything, which means that errors will be corrected immediately and there will be no need for manual work. This results in great cost-saving benefits for retailers.

  • Product Promotion

ESLs also allows retailers to set promotions at the group or individual level. This provides the ability to target specific customers by location, time of day, and purchasing habits. Retailers no longer must work with "one size fits all" pricing or promotions when they can communicate directly with their customers through ESLs.

The electronic displays on ESLs provide a great opportunity to promote other products. For example, a product on promotion can display a promotion for a similar product not on sale. This helps improve sales and increases average order value by promoting items that may be in stock but left unnoticed by consumers. The interactive displays engage more customers in the store by allowing them to purchase an item directly from the shelf without having to wait in line at a cash register.

  • Benefits to Retailer

Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL) or Electronic Price Tags are digital displays that are placed on the shelves of retail stores to display the current price of a product. These labels are connected to a back-end system and can be updated in real-time. The ESLs provide several benefits to retailers including:

    • Speed

With electronic shelf labels, prices can be changed in seconds by simply sending a signal from the back office to the label. This means there is no need for store personnel to manually change prices saving time and money.

    • Flexibility

Most electronic price tag systems can display more information than just the price; they can have multiple languages, show images, sell-by dates, nutrition information, and even display video advertisements.

    • Accuracy

Electronic shelf labels can be used to automatically update prices at all locations eliminating human error during manual price changes.

    • ROI

The initial cost of implementing an electronic shelf label system is often quickly recovered through lower labor costs and increased sales.

Electronic Shelf Label System.jpg

How electronic shelf labels system works

How Does Electronic Shelf Label Works?

An electronic shelf label (ESL) is a device that displays the price of a product. The ESL system consists of a display unit, a communication unit, and a communication networkThe display unit is installed on store shelves to show the prices of products on the shelves. The communication unit is used to control the display units via wireless communication and the communication network is used to manage information related to products, and download data to communicate units.

The Electronic Shelf Label System can be decentralized by using several controllers or centralized by using one controller for all ESLs in a store. Centralized ESL systems generally use Ethernet technology for communication between the controller and ESLs, while decentralized systems generally use RF technology for this purpose.

MinewTag offers fully updated and highly customizable ESL. It used Bluetooth technology and an online ESL cloud platform that keeps everything updated.