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An ethnography of Electronic Shelf Labels: The resisted digitalization of prices in contemporary supermarkets

Author

Listed:
  • Bastien Soutjis

    () (LISST - Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Solidarités, Sociétés, Territoires - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - UT2J - Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès - ENSFEA - École Nationale Supérieure de Formation de l'Enseignement Agricole de Toulouse-Auzeville - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Franck Cochoy

    () (LISST - Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Solidarités, Sociétés, Territoires - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - UT2J - Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès - ENSFEA - École Nationale Supérieure de Formation de l'Enseignement Agricole de Toulouse-Auzeville - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • J. Hagberg

    (GU - University of Gothenburg)

Abstract

Contemporary retail markets have experienced and are experiencing an important digitalization shift in the form of computers and associated technologies. Among a large array of digital innovations, Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) deserve particular attention. ESLs, despite their long history and many benefits, have not become ubiquitous. The purpose of this paper is to account for this "resisted evolution" of digitalized prices. It draws theoretically upon science and technology studies, infrastructure studies, market studies, and previous literature on price representations in retailing. It draws empirically on a combination of ethnographic and historical methods. The paper shows that ESLs do not replace paper prices, but, rather, work together with them: on one hand, they compete to represent prices with their respective features, and on the other, they co-operate in order to reinforce the visibility and attractiveness of products and promotions.

Suggested Citation

  • Bastien Soutjis & Franck Cochoy & J. Hagberg, 2017. "An ethnography of Electronic Shelf Labels: The resisted digitalization of prices in contemporary supermarkets," Post-Print hal-01708416, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01708416
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jretconser.2017.08.009
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01708416
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Levy & Sourav Ray & Li Wang & Mark Bergen, 2019. "Pricing Better," Working Papers 008-19 JEL Codes: M31, E3, International School of Economics at TSU, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.
    2. repec:mup:actaun:actaun_2018066030737 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:joreco:v:44:y:2018:i:c:p:253-265 is not listed on IDEAS

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