The greatest automation opportunity for retailers lies in not having to change shelf-edge labels. Recent UK. changes to the V AT regime meant that Sainsbury's had to change 25,000 product pricings. Digitisation would have meant the supermarket did not have to re-print all 25,000 labels.
Computer giant IBM has developed digital shelf labels using electronic paper that can be programmed to self change or be altered by remote control. Electonic tags using e-ink mean retailers can easily change prices. e-ink electronic paper works by using electrodes to arrange thousands of tiny black and white charged capsules into shapes to form characters. Changing the charge changes the characters the electronic paper dis¬plays. The intelligent ink uses power only when the price is changed, so the battery lasts for ages. This technology can free up staff time considerably.