Pick n Pay on July 15 opened its revamped Faerie Glen Hypermarket, and has become the first Hypermarket to deploy Pricer’s electronic shelf labelling (ESL) system.

The ESL system in Pick n Pay Faerie Glen was implemented in just three weeks. This system brings the store and its customers a number of benefits that results in improved efficiencies that get passed on to the consumer as lower prices.  
Neal Quirk, director of operations at Pick n Pay, says: “The South African economy has been under pressure and we need to take every opportunity to put a smile on the faces of our customers. We now have world-class infrastructure at Faerie Glen and the people with the passion to serve our customers and make a difference.”
The Pricer ESL system is bi-directional, which means the digital shelf labels can receive updated pricing information from Pick n Pay’s central SAP pricing system and can also transmit information back to it. It reduces the time it takes to update prices in the shop because it eliminates the need for workers to physically replace paper labels. It therefore also improves price integrity substantially. With the addition of an infrared key, store managers and selected employees can use the digital shelf labels to query stock levels at the shelf which substantially enhances stock control and ultimately customer service.
“As it is, the system helps us to offer fantastic customer service and improve efficiencies in our Faerie Glen Hypermarket, but the upcoming additional functionality that allows us to interrogate the system to ascertain stock levels at the shelf is what will ultimately drive return on investment for us,” says Bronwen Rohland, director of Supply Chain, Sustainability, Information Services and E-tailing at Pick n Pay.
Dharmalingum Dass, director for Hypermarkets at Pick n Pay, says he expects the revamped Faerie Glen Hypermarket will set a new record in turnover for the group. “We are showcasing some new initiatives here and Faerie Glen is the first Hypermarket to launch with electronic shelf labels.”
Pick n Pay has proven the concept since it uses the Pricer ESL system at all its KwaZulu-Natal corporate stores and has started rolling it out at the corporate stores in the Western Cape with four stores already live and nine stores rolling out Pricer ESL during the remainder of 2010.
“Although this was a known entity for Pick n Pay, it is the first time that they have deployed in excess of 30 000 labels in a single system and it is the first Hypermarket to go live,” says Hendrik Bredenkamp, MD of Skydirect, an XON company and Pricer’s exclusive South African partner. “Pick n Pay started to evaluate the possible implementation of an ESL system with Pricer nearly two years ago. The successful first phase rollout enabled Pick n Pay to measure the significant benefits of a robust two-way ESL system. ESL can help in optimising the price changing process and supporting a dynamic pricing policy. It reduces scan right policy claims, improves profitability by ensuring timely updates of promotion prices and enhances the customer experience.”
Customer perception is improved as pricing is more accurate between the shelf and the till, and labels are clearer and easier to read. Employees are more readily available in store to assist customers instead of spending time replacing or checking paper labels.
If all goes according to plan, says Nick Badminton, CEO of Pick n Pay, the company’s Constantia, Western Cape store will become the flagship that showcases the full digitisation of a supermarket. “Pick n Pay plans to roll out ESL to all our stores over time,” says Badminton.