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An E.Leclerc Supermarket Automates Its Pricing

The store has installed thousands of Altierre's electronic shelf labels, enabling it to instantly change the prices of goods, via RFID readers.
By Claire Swedberg
Jun 15, 2012When prices are updated at the E.Leclerc supermarket in Saint-Jean-du-Falga, France, as many as 30,000 labels can change automatically, bringing an end to a time-consuming process by which staff previously had to manually print and swap out printed labels on store shelves.

In March 2012, the Saint-Jean-du-Falga store installed the Electronic Shelf Labeling (ESL) system, which employs radio frequency identification (RFID) to communicate pricing information to the labels. With the system in place, says Patrick Sobraquès, the store's owner and the president of E.Leclerc's IT Infomil subsidiary, "We don't need to have employees update the prices in the store at all anymore." This, he says, provides a significant cost savings for the store, though the exact amount of savings has yet to be measured.

The E.Leclerc store installed a total of 30,000 electronic price labels.

Click here to view a larger version of the above diagram.

The RFID-enabled electronic labels, along with readers (access points), software for the read data, and integration services, were provided by Altierre, a technology firm based in San Jose, Calif., while the software linking the read data from Altierre's hosted server to E.Leclerc's back-end management system was supplied by Infomil.

Patrick Sobraquès
Sobraquès says he first met with Altierre to investigate a possible ESL solution that would enable the store to update prices easily (the store's prices may change daily, based on sales and promotions). Without an electronic system, he explains, the store needed to have its staff make those changes manually, which was a very time-consuming process in the approximately 5,000-square-meter (53,800-square-foot) store. The retailer needed price labels for 30,000 different products—including some stored in refrigerators or freezers, in which case the labels would be located within the coolers themselves. Thus, the store required a solution in which the active RFID tags could operate at -20 degree Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit).

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