We all know the power of good lighting. It can change the way a space looks, feels and operates. It has the ability to enhance your retail environment both for customers and staff and – if managed efficiently – can even offer the opportunity to create an in-store experience that reflects your brand’s ethos, identity and purpose.  

All too often, however, lighting is viewed just as a necessary expense rather than as a tool for enhancing the functionality of your retail space. So the question is: when is a light not just a light?

Customer experience, store safety and real time feedback

Increasingly, the world of in-store lighting is starting to recognise the huge opportunities that smart lighting strategies have to offer. While lighting is, of course, vital for creating an enjoyable in-store experience for your customers, taking a smart strategic approach to lighting your space can move far beyond this to deliver enhanced safety solutions, energy savings and even data analytics that can help inform store layout strategies.  

For example, LED lights with smart IoT control can create an atmosphere that unifies your brand identity, and your store’s purpose. You can vary intensity and contrast to define your products’ appearance and appeal. Lighting can also guide customers to specific areas or promotions.  

Similarly, connected LED lighting is incredibly flexible and can be altered daily. Spotlights, colour tone and dimming can all be adjusted ad hoc or according to set schedules for scene management. Automated schedules ensure lighting appears at desired design levels consistently without relying on employee interactions.

Significantly, smart lighting can include sensors for gathering real time feedback. For example, they can count footfall in various areas, providing results in real time. You can also perform time series analysis on these results to spot trends. Understanding customers’ movements, where they head to first, where they dwell the most, the average time they spend at tills and counters, and more, allows you to make decisions about store layout designs to accommodate changing customer trends.

You can use sensors with lighting for occupancy management to improve safety in many ways. Occupancy sensors in storerooms and offices can ensure that employees always enter a well-lit space, providing protection from slips and falls. By eliminating the need to touch light switches in bathrooms, you can improve hygiene; a requirement being highlighted by the current pandemic.

During an emergency, real time occupancy information shows where people are in your building at any time. This can be vital to first responders and help with efficient evacuation, as well creating a response plan.

Over time, a history of which spaces are used at different times of day can help you maximise energy cost savings by tailoring lighting schedules around when spaces are being used. Lighting can also be balanced against the amount of natural light entering your building, using ‘daylight harvesting’ to avoid unnecessary lighting and energy efficiency losses. Further energy optimisation can be achieved in the back-of-house where there are aisles of stock; for example occupancy detectors can ensure that lights only illuminate when someone enters the space.

Lighting as a Service

One of the smartest ways retail operators can future proof their lighting services is by considering Lighting as a Service (LaaS) solutions, such as that offered by IGS’ Intelligent Grid product. This option removes the necessity for you to invest in expensive hardware: instead, you enter a contract which commits the supplier to install and maintain a system that meets agreed energy performance, light level, and uptime KPIs.

You can achieve easy lighting upgrades with minimal disruption is to use the Intelligent Grid. This is based on a mounting, power and communications platform that can be quickly and simply installed to facilitate your flexible retail spaces. It accepts the lighting and sensors needed for your smart light management system, with all its scene management, safety, monitoring and any other lighting applications. Its modular design means that it can just as rapidly be uninstalled and redeployed to different locations as you launch new promotions throughout your retail area.

Aside from zero capital investment, benefits to you as a retailer include no time, resources or expertise needed for design, installation, and maintenance. LaaS contracts can also ensure that your lights are regularly updated with the latest in LED lighting technology. This will reduce your energy costs, as LED efficiency is consistently improving over time. Additionally, LEDs of diminished performance are automatically replaced.

To learn more about how you can use smart lighting to improve customer experiences, provide a safer environment, and collect valuable customer behaviour data, please contact our team.

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