Lighting the Way With LEDs

Increasingly, retailers are using ambient lighting to impact the in-store experience. Andrew Peck of Enlighten Luminaires spoke with Chain Store Age about retail lighting trends and the rapidly expanding use of LEDs.

What are the biggest concerns when it comes to illuminating merchandise?

Retailers are most concerned about the way products look, and enhancing the shopper experience.

Where does LED lighting fit into this scenario?

LED technology is extremely versatile, both in spectrum and character of light. It can significantly impact the way products look and the way shoppers perceive them. By modifying color temperature and light intensity, a variety of effects can be created, making colors appear more vibrant and appealing, or creating nuances for specific promotions, seasons or holidays.

Similarly, LED lighting has an unparalleled ability to subconsciously impact consumers’ moods and feelings, especially toward products. Flattering lighting helps consumers feel good about themselves and the products, leading them to spend more time in the store.

In addition, intelligent lighting can improve the shopping experience by “reacting” to customers’ movements — illuminating products or sections as they maneuver through a store. This enhances the shopping experience and can lead to higher sales.

What are the advantages of LEDs?

One of the main advantages of LED technology is its significantly lower cost of ownership, as measured by electrical consumption, maintenance/replacement costs and government rebates. These savings are achieved through greater energy efficiency — LEDs are a green technology that utilizes a fraction of energy used by traditional incandescent, fluorescent or halogen bulbs — and improved durability. LEDs have a very long life, providing up to 50,000 hours of illumination, greatly extending the time required for replacement of bulbs. LEDS also require near-zero maintenance, allowing retailers to virtually eliminate labor costs associated with changing lamps, repairing ballasts, etc. This also allows sales floors to remain open for business rather than closed at times for maintenance.

Also, LEDs generate approximately 90% less heat than incandescent bulbs, resulting in reduced air-conditioning costs.

And as a green technology, LEDs are environmentally friendly. And LEDs can be controlled digitally, from a computer or mobile device.

As previously mentioned, LEDs are also powerful tools for merchandising and enhancing shoppers’ in-store experiences.

How can Enlighten Illumination Systems help retailers with their lighting needs?

Enlighten offers comprehensive 24-volt merchandising and lighting solutions for chain stores of all types. We help clients maximize ROI with products ranging from LED-powered graphic displays through LED lighting.

We recently unveiled C-Lumé, a revolutionary illumination system for retail environments. This 24-volt ceiling luminaire emits 9,000 lumens of light — perfectly distributed through an Evonic. In addition, special coatings by White Optic provide 97% reflectivity.

C-Lumé combines sleek looks with a compact knock-down design that’s easy to install and is maintenance-free. It eliminates risk of technical obsolescence by being fully upgradeable — LED strips may be replaced or upgraded in less than five minutes.

A variety of performance packages are available, including the ability to control brightness and intensity from any desktop/laptop or mobile devices. Also available are real-time tracking of shopper movement, allowing customization of lighting and promotions, and built-in security features.

What is the scope of Enlighten’s services?

Enlighten specializes in providing retailers with fully integrated 24-volt DC environments that power ambient light, illuminate graphics on walls and power floor fixtures. This energy-efficient system may be centrally controlled from the back office or corporate headquarters.

After we design a customized illumination package, our sister company, MIK Construction Group, installs it anywhere in the country. By working with MIK, the process is seamless and cost-effective since there is no need for additional outside contractors, electricians, etc.

How do you see retail lighting evolving over the next few years?

LED technology has been around for over 50 years, but it will be adopted faster than ever over the next few years. As the technology improves and prices drop, retail lighting will convert to LEDs, with traditional lighting used only in very specialized cases.

Seamless integration of store management functions, such as lighting, air conditioning, security, etc., will also become more mainstream. Thus, lighting and operational functions will operate in “smarter” fashion. Similarly, retailers will increasingly use computers and wireless devices to monitor and control vital activities within the store.

I also see retailers tapping into the ‘human science’ of illumination technology — using intensity and color to direct consumers’ shopping experiences, emotions and purchasing behaviors.

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