Are Dynamic Pricing Landing in Physical Stores?

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After a successful test in Grapevine, Texas, Walmart is rolling out digital shelf labels (DSLs) to 2,300 stores by 2026, transforming both pricing and customer experience. Walmart is not the first retailer using this technology, but their footprint is massive and their appetite for data is well known, which can open the door to more advanced use cases than we’ve seen until now.

Digital shelf labels are small devices that replace traditional plastic and paper price tags on shelves. They can be remotely managed to update prices instantly, eliminating the need for re-printing and manually swapping tags.

This allows stores to quickly and massively update prices for thousands of products on their shelves. Sound familiar? Like e-commerce, perhaps? 😅

While dynamic pricing has been a norm in e-commerce for the past 20 years with platforms like Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce making it a breeze, this change opens up new opportunities for physical stores.

Benefits for Stores:

🔹Instant Price Updates: Enable agile promotions and rapid market response.

🔹Operational Efficiency: saves labor time, less “time per tag” when updates are needed.

🔹Sustainability: Reduces paper waste.

🔹Dynamic Pricing: Shops can automatically adapt prices based on competition, weather, time of day, A/B testing, ensuring their prices are always in line with their pricing strategy. Yes, sounds like e-commerce!

Benefits for Customers:

🔹Accurate Pricing: Ensures clear, up-to-date shelf prices, reducing confusion.

🔹Faster Shopping: Guiding customers directly through the store.

🔹Comprehensive Information: Possibility of adding additional information on the tags (Nutri-scores, price per unit, etc.).

This is more than a change in the physical medium used; digital shelf labels can have a huge impact on the shopping experience and behavior and will likely require reflections on several levels: regulatory (addressing price discrimination, fairness), consumer perception (trust, fairness), and operational (a new transition from human labor to IT labor).

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