Home » Industry & Business » Future of Retail & Payments » How Retail Can Step into the Future Without Leaving the Best of Itself in the Past

John Ricci

Founder & CEO, Danavation

To a modern shopper, a paper label raises many questions. Danavation’s Digital Smart Labels™ are smart enough to provide answers.

What a strange time it is to be a retailer. Just a decade ago, with online shopping on a steep ascent, everywhere you looked it seemed there was another breathless article foretelling the death of brick-and-mortar retail. Soon, they proclaimed, we would buy everything on the web and never step foot in another actual store. Today, coming off two years of intermittent lockdowns, it’s clearer than ever that no one actually wants that. We crave the human connection, the social interaction, the simple sneakers to floorboards experience of in-person shopping.

At the same time, consumers have grown accustomed to the convenience, the personalization, the agility, and the flexibility of digital storefronts, so their expectations of the shopping experience have shifted and grown more discerning. And, in an era of aggressive online price-matching and personal financial uncertainty, they aren’t willing to compromise on the sticker either, putting pressure on the already thin margins of many stores. All this while the cost of labour is skyrocketing and retailers are still struggling to make up revenue lost during the pandemic.

In short, customers demand that the doors stay open and the prices stay low while the shopping journey undergoes a thorough digital transformation. Simple, right?

In fact, it can be.


Where we’re going, the old maps won’t take us 

Surely it would be too much to ask that a single unobtrusive technology could lay the foundation for a complete revamp of the retail experience, meeting all the expectations of the modern digital shopper without obstructing the charm (or hurting the bottom line) of even the coziest shop. Right? Well, let’s talk about Digital Smart Labels™, the technology that strikes at the heart of retail’s hidden engagement problem.

The labels in the store, whether they’re price tags or sales announcements or in-store navigation aids, are the informational hooks of the retail voyage, and comparing Canadian innovator Danavation’s micro e-paper Digital Smart Labels™ to traditional labelling is like comparing a full-featured modern internet-enabled GPS navigation system to a torn and coffee-stained folding roadmap bought at a gas station in 1992. Either might get you there, if there aren’t any unexpected surprises, but one is going to have you in a very different mood when (and if) you arrive.

The way information is packaged and delivered matters. Danavation’s Digital Smart Labels™ ensure that prices are always accurate with instantaneous point-of-sale synchronizing. They create an environment where the right information can always be presented in the right place at the right moment. They provide a context-appropriate gateway to remote resources like product reviews, inventory updates, and loyalty programs. But it’s not just the content they display. To quote Marshall McLuhan for a moment, the Digital Smart Labels™ are the message. They tell the customer by their very presence that this is an environment where information is vibrant and reliable. This is a store they can engage with on their terms.

“Today’s customers are getting younger, smarter, and faster,” says Danavation’s founder and CEO John Ricci. “They rely a lot on technology, and they’re very sharp and price-sensitive. As a retailer, you have to find a way to impress and engage them.”

An engaged customer is an empowered consumer

Danavation, LCBO

The little things make a big difference. And, though most labels are small, they play an outsized role as conduits of information. Out of date flyers, incorrect prices, mislabelled shelves, missing product information. Any one of these things can break the flow of shopping and send the customer to their phone, or to another store. Digital Smart Labels™ remove all these stumbling blocks in one fell swoop, while simultaneously cutting costs by easing the workload of employees, shrinking the carbon footprint of the store, and increasing the agility of operations. And interactions that were once a point of frustration and uncertainty become an opportunity for engagement, right there at the shelf.

“Engage customers at the shelf and they will buy more,” notes Ricci. And that’s not a trick. It’s what people want. They have spent enough time in their homes, shopping online. They’re getting back out into the world and going into stores now very much on purpose. People are there to shop, to engage, to buy. They just want it to be easy.

Technologies like Digital Smart Labels™ make the little things easy, so that your business can focus on the big things. Because that’s where you shine.

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