Can Retail Stores Compete with Online Retailers’ Instant, Dynamic Pricing?

The Short Answer Is, “Finally, YES!”

In-Store Versus Online Buying

Retail stores have been hustling to keep up with ecommerce pricing. Online retailers have the advantage of leveraging sophisticated algorithms to change pricing instantly based on supply and demand. Brick-and-mortar establishments, on the other hand, must leverage their people to change prices on thousands or even millions of products overnight. This is time-consuming, expensive, and error-prone.

Electronic shelf labels (ESLs) have certainly helped ease some of that burden for in-store price changing; but have you noticed that not too many retailers have adopted ESLs? That’s because deploying the technology has been limited by costly wiring and functionality has been limited by not-quite-powerful-enough coin batteries.

Ossia has been working hard to change all that.

The First-Ever Battery-Free “E-ink” Electronic Shelf Label

Ossia has launched our first-ever wirelessly powered, battery-free electronic shelf label, using Cota Real Wireless Power. This ESL is designed for modern retailers that want to achieve multiple, dynamic price changes on a regular basis without having to worry about costly wiring or replacing batteries.

The benefits don’t stop there. With Cota-enabled electronic ink and ESLs, retailers can:

  • Innovate quickly to meet changing consumer buying behaviors
  • Dynamically compete with online pricing
  • Rapidly change prices across multiple products and multiple stores
  • Not worry about cost battery replacements and disposal
  • Leverage multi-color displays and attention-getting LEDs
  • Make multiple updates per day
  • Keep register prices in agreement with shelf label prices

Because Cota-powered ESLs are always receiving power, retailers can achieve all these things without worrying about the power limitations or battery replacement costs of batteries. What’s more, setup, management, and maintenance is simple, which encourages mass market adoption.

In addition to frequent price changes, ESLs can also provide information that static signs cannot, such as:

  • Active displays with notifications to employees
  • Dynamic guidance for order picking
  • Time-sensitive promotions, such as discounts within certain hours

It can take millions of dollars in resources to staff and manually change the price on multiple products per store, per day. As the industry shifts, the retail industry forecasts billions of ESLs to be installed across the Americas, Europe, and Asia by 2021.

The Cota-Enabled ESL Wireless Power System

The Cota battery-free ESL design is:

  1. Flexible, scalable, and can wake from a cold start
  2. Inherently safe and doesn’t interfere with other wireless technologies
  3. Functional today and available for license

Flexible, Scalable, and Quick to Start

The Cota system is flexible and scalable for supporting small, medium and very large retail deployments.  In fact, Cota can support up to 1000 ESLs per Cota transmitter, as well as wirelessly power other devices such as handheld prices scanners, environmental and safety sensors, and eventually, consumer mobile devices.

Ossia has developed a 4.2” e-ink display model and is working with retail partners to explore smaller ESL sizes such as 2.7” and 2.3” displays that will have 3 or more colors.

The Cota battery-less ESL design has the capability to wake from a cold start, which is unique in the ESL market. When the Cota-powered ESLs are in idle mode, the power draw is expected to be less than 10 micro watts.

Inherently Safe without Exclusion Zones

The Cota-powered ESL is environmentally friendly and inherently safe for people and pets in the room. It coexists with Wi-Fi and other wireless technologies in the area without interference.

Functional Wireless Power ESL Technology Available for License

Cota wirelessly powered ESLs are a dream come true and will enable many innovative retail applications Cota Real Wireless Power, available for license through Ossia, represents a significant step for the brick-and-mortar retail world to continue to compete with the growing ecommerce world. Ossia will demonstrate a mock retail shelving system that showcases the Cota-powered ESLs at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), January 7-10, 2020.

The benefits of shopping in person in a retail store are obvious: you can experience the product in person and often can get the instant gratification of taking it home with you. But how often have you stood in store and scanned a barcode with your price-match app or did a quick Internet search to see if you could get a better deal online? Now, with wireless power ESLs, in-store retailers can adapt to this shopping behavior to stay current and competitive and keep customers happy.

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