Sainsbury’s is trialling e-ink pricing labels

The problem with the current supermarket system of having paper price labels is that they need to be changed by hand, and because of that the prices you see can sometimes be wrong. Sainsbury’s has now announced that it’s going to try ditching that system in favour of an e-ink version.

The trial will take place at the Old Street Sainsbury’s Local in Shoreditch, and if it’s a success the supermarket chain will consider rolling the new tech to stores across the UK. Staff will be trained on how to use the new labels, and prices will be updated automatically by a central database.

The e-ink labels will still function normally in fridges and freezers, and the background colour will change in accordance with offers and the types of products currently on the shelves.

John Rudoe, Sainsbury’s director of digital and technology, said:

“A key part of our strategy is to make sure we’re looking at new technology on behalf of our colleagues to make their lives easier. This trial will give us useful feedback about quicker, efficient digital pricing information and how much time and paper we’ll save in the process.”

He’s not wrong, and if you consider how many price labels are actually present in your average supermarket then installing an e-ink system is going to save an awful lot of paper. Plus the automatic updating system means that not only do staff not have to spend time swapping the labels manually, it also means that you won’t take an item off the shelf and later find that the price was wrong.

Sainsbury’s has yet to say how long the trial will last, and what the expansion timeframe will be if it’s successful.

Tom Pritchard