Posted: 5 September 2018
Posted: 5 September 2018
Sylvania explores how smarter lighting improves the retail experience
Truth be told, smart isn’t always better. Smart-enabled technology, including lighting, may be more suited to certain environments than others. Vast fulfillment warehouses don’t need to be lit 100% of the time in all areas. This means low volume goods that are rarely required and are situated hundreds of metres away from where the majority of picking and loading takes place, can be stored in dark areas thanks to smart analytics and sensors. This may not be as relevant to retail environments where the customer needs to be able to browse and wander at will around a store. However, in storage areas, the same principles apply and the same smart lighting system may be the solution.
Lighting is well positioned as the backbone of smart technologies. It doesn’t matter if you are facilities manager for a single site or a whole estate, lighting is installed everywhere and has an available power source, characteristics which makes it the ideal starting point to connect technologies in store. Being smart-enabled doesn’t have to be about wholesale upheaval or thinking big, but it is about thinking clever. There are plenty of tactics that retailers could benefit from now that are based around smart technologies. What is important is how you approach smart – there must be a commercial decision underpinning it, whether that is monitoring footfall to particular types of merchandise to make a strategic decision on whether to reduce the number or type of product lines offered, or looking to reduce operating costs by lowering electricity consumption through smart-enabled energy-efficient LEDs (during energy audits retailers have been shown to typically identify opportunities to reduce energy consumption by between 20% and 30%).
To continue with the earlier analogy, occupancy sensors in a warehouse can also be used within the retail environment but in a slightly different way. Rather than on/off sensors, high volume areas can be lighted continuously but dimmer triggers used to reduce the level of light in more out of the way corners. As this type of technology progresses and customers get used to the concept we should start to see more auto-on displays appearing in our high street shops.
Capturing how shoppers use the store, and tracking their visit, provides business-critical data that can be analysed to develop in-store journeys that are better suited to customers’ needs, and allow goods to be positioned to drive up sales. This sort of occupancy data can be collected through add-ons to smart-enabled LED lighting and provides useful information on shopping patterns and the overall retail experience that can be applied to deliver operational and strategic benefits.
No single supplier can do it all when it comes to smart. A partnership approach is needed and collaboration will be critical to ensure best of breed technologies and relevant sector expertise come together to deliver the best possible solution for the retail sector.
Discover the advantages of smart lighting in the retail environment in our eBook, ‘A Public Display of Acumen’.