Some of the questions that retailers often grapple with are:
- How to entice customers to enter the store and make them feel comfortable within the space?
- How to show product in a manner that most attracts a customer?
- How to guide customers through the retail space to the pay point?
In terms of lighting, the solutions to these questions can have an impact on both revenue and cost. The advances in LED lighting technology have been so dramatic in recent years that LED luminaires now provide a viable alternative to traditional halogen and metal halide lighting technologies. LED luminaires generally last 3 – 5 times longer than lamps using tradition technologies resulting in less disruption within the store due to needing to change failed lamps. Also, displays are less likely to be compromised by failed lamps. Further, LED lighting technologies generally consume 50-70% less energy than legacy lighting technologies. Thus, from an operating cost perspective, it is difficult to argue against upgrading the lighting within the store.
However, more importantly for retailers, is the potential impact on revenue. The advances in colour rendering of LEDS makes it possible to display items, such as fabrics, in their “true” colour and produce in a manner that customers find appealing. Recent studies are inconclusive in this regard. LED lighting manufacturers indicate that there has been a positive impact on retailer’s revenues after upgrading their in-store lighting. However, retailers themselves require further evidence. Whilst both Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury have upgraded to LED lighting, they suggest that “there need to be more studies done to see whether LED lighting or specifically higher Colour Rendering Index (CRI) products, actually has the benefit of increasing sales in a store”. Often in-store lighting is focused on product and displays, however, a study conducted by Zumtobel and Gruppe Nymphenburg found that the importance of lighting at the point of sale is dramatically underestimated.
In future, we will look at the how LED lighting, with the same colour temperature but using different parts of the light spectrum, can be used to light different products in the most appealing way.