The ongoing growth in online shopping is forcing many retailers to reconsider how to make effective use of their store space while finding new ways to attract customers through their doors. At the same time, the growing costs of keeping retail stores operational and the need to become more sustainable are adding to the challenge. Here, we examine these challenges and explain how modern lighting approaches can help overcome them.
1. Brand engagement
If customers can buy your products online, how can you get them back in store? The key, it seems is to offer unique brand experiences. With over 85% of consumers saying they would pay more for better experiences, repurposing retail interiors for this purpose seems an obvious choice. Indeed, ‘retailtainment’ as it has become known, is the new trend for the UK high street.
Those paving the way in this retail revolution are making use of the latest technologies to provide exciting and memorable experiences that increase footfall, revenue and brand loyalty. The House of Vans flagship store, for example, now puts on movies and music events and has an in-store skate ramp. Of course, customers can also buy the latest Vans products while they are there. These new types of stores are taking full advantage of technology like digital displays, EPOS systems, in-store app shopping and, crucially, modern LED lighting systems.
The benefit of using LED lighting systems in these experience-led stores is that they give unlimited flexibility to create new and interchangeable lighting environments that enhance the range of experiences being provided for the customers. LEDs can be individually controlled, can have lighting states programmed into them and are able to change brightness, colour and colour temperature to perfectly match whatever activity is taking place. Even within a single space, different lighting zones can be established to create different moods and ambiences.
2. Cutting costs
In order to remain competitive with online stores, high street retailers are continually shaving profit margins. One way to counteract this is to cut costs elsewhere. An area where significant savings can be made is by introducing LEDs into in-store lighting designs.
Not only can LEDs make store interiors more inviting and provide greater flexibility; they can also drastically reduce costs. Where fluorescent and incandescent bulbs waste most of their energy by converting it into heat, LED bulbs are far more efficient, with only minimal heat produced. By comparison, an LED can use up to 80% less energy than an incandescent bulb of equivalent brightness. Considering the number of luminaries that retail stores make use of, the potential reduction in lighting bills, year on year, is significant. Of course, for retailers with more than one store, this saving can be multiplied.
The savings, however, don’t stop there. With the latest LED lighting controls, the reduction in costs can be even greater. With the use of daylight and occupancy sensors, these intelligent systems can cut energy waste and ensure the energy used is always kept to a minimum while maintaining desired lighting levels. Able to collect usage data, some of these systems even provide important insights to help cut costs even more.
3. Becoming greener
With the government now accelerating the pace towards its 2050 carbon-zero target with the introduction of a mid-term goal for 2035, there will be increasing pressure on retail businesses, either through regulation or clever incentivisation, to become greener. Perhaps of even greater urgency in the marketplace is the growing number of consumers now choosing to shop with eco-friendly brands. Over half of UK consumers take a brand’s sustainability into account when shopping and over a quarter have stopped using brands because of environmental concerns. Retailers, it seems, are being squeezed at both ends to bite the sustainability bullet.
While LEDs cannot solve every environmental problem, they are an important piece of the jigsaw. They are a solution that can be implemented swiftly, can pay for itself out of cost savings and deliver instant benefits for the environment. What’s more, the pace at which LEDs bring down carbon emissions enables businesses to quickly take advantage of the appeal it can have to customers.
How is this achieved? In the same way that LEDs save money. By using up to 80% less energy than other forms of bulb, LEDs also help reduce the carbon emissions caused by lighting by 80% at the same time. For example, if a retailer replaced 100 x 60W bulbs with LEDs of equivalent brightness, the company could cut its annual carbon footprint by sixteen tonnes.
It is a time of transformation for the high street in which brands have to look at ways to reengage customers while cutting costs and becoming more sustainable. When it comes to the important role that lighting has to play in the modern store, LEDs are the best solution available, providing unlimited versatility in lighting states as well as significant reductions in costs and carbon emissions.
For more information, visit our LED Lighting Design and Installation page.