“Good for the customer experience, handy for employees”

Published on 31/05/2024 in Customer talks

The ability to implement price changes quickly is an important advantage in retail. That is why WEBA has successfully made the transition to digital price tags. With these Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL), the furniture store is a leader in its sector.

“Good for the customer experience, handy for employees”

With electronic shelf labels you can display all sorts of price and product information in your store in a flexible, dynamic way. “That’s very handy, especially if you want to adjust prices quickly and regularly,” says Matthias Snauwaert. “That’s typically the case in sales periods, for example.”

As the IT manager at WEBA Systems, which offers support services to the WEBA stores in Ghent, Deinze, Bergen, and as of the end of 2024, Tongeren too, Matthias Snauwaert is not only responsible for the IT support of those physical stores but also of the webshop. “We launched our webshop back in 2013,” he recalls, “which made us more or less a pioneer in the furniture sector at the time.”

Optimizing the process

However, the ease of a price change in the webshop was in greater and greater contrast to the effort necessary for WEBA employees to implement those same price changes in the physical stores too. “Those price changes on paper price tags were just impossible to keep up with. Especially in sales periods, when we had to adjust the prices of a thousand or more products all at once.”

In 2020, both the time and the technology seemed ripe for thorough digitalization of that cumbersome, time-consuming, and expensive process. “From stock management to register management, we’re always in search of opportunities to increase efficiency in the workplace. That’s why we already invested in an ERP system thirty years ago. And that’s why now we decided to investigate the possibilities of ESL too.”

The use of electronic shelf labels improves both the shopping experience of our customers and the productivity of our employees.

Matthias Snauwaert, IT Manager, WEBA Systems

Future-proof approach

WEBA was guided in that study by Proximus NXT, its trusted IT partner that was also previously responsible for connectivity in the company’s various stores and warehouses. WEBA relies on Proximus NXT for management of its datacenter and its mobile communication in the workplace.

“This way we have one fixed point of contact for all those services,” Matthias Snauwaert explains. “Our relationship with Proximus NXT has grown into a real collaboration. Their experts offer more than just technical support. They also advise us on the possibilities of the technology offered.”

“In addition, they always keep one eye focused on our current business context and the other on the future. A prime example is their suggestion to install a wireless network along with the ESL system we requested. That was not absolutely necessary to bring the ESL project to a successful conclusion,” Matthias Snauwaert explains. “But it does open the door to a lot of extra possibilities, both for our own store staff and for store customers.”

Our stores are fairly large. To have the right coverage everywhere, Proximus NXT also conducted the necessary site surveys.

Matthias Snauwaert, IT Manager, WEBA Systems

Customized solutions

In conducting a proof of concept in a small department of the Ghent WEBA store, Proximus NXT had used several Cisco Meraki antennas. They were so suitable, even in terms of pricing, that WEBA agreed to include that wireless technology in the ESL project. “Any subsequent step for improvement for which we need Wi-Fi is now a lot easier to take,” says Matthias Snauwaert.

Proximus NXT also presented solutions for attaching the electronic labels. “We don’t have the standard shelves that you find in supermarkets and most other stores. That provided an extra challenge,” he says. “In our stores you find both small and large furniture items, not to mention all sorts of home accessories.”

So WEBA works with both small and larger labels. “On the larger labels we have more than enough space to display detailed price and product information, for example on the various sizes, colors or models of an item.” WEBA now has about 8000 labels in use in each store. Proximus NXT also took care of proper attachment of the labels, depending on the product.

More than an IT project

The next challenge was to also present those larger labels to the customer in an attractive way. The marketing department gave us advice on how to do that. “They do many campaigns in A4 format. On their recommendation we supplemented the information on the labels with one of our typical WEBA cartoons, which benefits recognizability and branding. The labels also help to make some promotions stand out even better.”

With the opening of a new store in Tongeren another new challenge has arisen. “We’re close to the language border there, so we want to work with bilingual price tags. So it’s good that we’ve invested in the larger labels; there’s enough space on them for information in two languages. With the help of Proximus NXT, which has a lot of experience with multilingualism in its own business and with customers, it’s sure to work.”

WEBA is a Belgian furniture store with branches in Ghent, Deinze, and Mons.


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