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UNFI Offers Retailers Smart Shelf Tags For Product Transparency

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Providence, Rhode Island-based United Natural Foods Inc. has reached a new agreement with Cornerstone for Natural to bring its Smart Shelf Tag program to UNFI’s suppliers and retailers.

Smart Shelf Tags contain ELi QR Codes, an enhanced, secure version of a QR code, which can be scanned to provide shoppers with additional product information and digital content on their mobile phones without requiring an app. Smart Shelf Tags are a versatile program for suppliers and retailers to engage and educate consumers while they’re shopping in-store.

UNFI is working to provide product transparency on the shelf. Because most in-store shoppers consult their mobile phones about products, these Smart Shelf Tags are designed to engage shoppers with targeted content direct from suppliers while they’re physically shopping in the grocery aisle. In addition, the tags create a touchpoint between suppliers and shoppers and can help grocery retailers build consumer loyalty and trust.

While the ELi QR Codes used on Smart Shelf Tags look like QR codes, they are more secure. They provide a scannable code and incorporate the back-end content to which users are directed. The content for an ELi QR Code is sourced from the supplier, populates for each individual UPC and may include promotional offers, nutrition and allergen information, testimonials, traceability information, brand stories, videos and images.

The codes are automatically printed on the tags. Cornerstone has built more than 120,000 ELi QR Codes, thousands from prominent consumer packaged goods brands and new and emerging brands.

Consumers have shown that they value information when selecting a brand and will remain more loyal to brands that provide greater transparency. Certain product categories are a natural fit for Smart Shelf Tags, especially those from which consumers seek more information before deciding on a purchase: vitamins and supplements, wine and spirits, gourmet cheese, natural and organic products, functional foods and local items.

“UNFI is excited to enable better transparency and communication between our suppliers, retailers and shoppers,” said John Raiche, EVP of supplier services and merchandising. “Consumers have shown that they care about the values and beliefs of the brands they purchase, and with Smart Shelf Tags, suppliers can communicate with shoppers about their products and tell the stories behind their brands.”

With more than 150 customizable solutions, UNFI Professional Services helps grocery retailers by reducing operating costs, driving traffic, increasing basket size and enhancing the customer experience. Services offered include pricing support, in-store shelf management, planograms, POS and cashier-less checkout technology and store remodels, helping retailers keep pace with the changing landscape of grocery.

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