Climate change and the energy crisis are present-day challenges that retailers across all investment sectors must address – using the latest digital technologies and innovative products. This applies particularly to store lighting, one of the biggest energy consumers in food retail – and most specifically in the non-food sector; accounting for a 55% share in energy consumption the latter is a key target for energy-saving measures at the POS. At EuroShop – The World’s No. 1 Retail Trade Fair – held in Düsseldorf from 26 February to 2 March 2023 companies exhibiting in the Dimension Lighting in Hall 9 will showcase their concepts and ideas for the sustainable, energy-efficient and at the same time individual illumination of the retail space. This Dimension is designed, among other things, to drive the energy transition in the retail sector.
High efficiency and markedly lower prices for LEDs, however, have contributed to a curious situation: the energy-potential of LEDs is still far from sufficiently exploited. On the one hand, this can be attributed to poor light planning and high-waste LED application. Currently however, store operators can no longer afford this in the wake of digital change and scarce energy resources. A different mindset is needed to take energy savings to the next level. This is why this topic is as important as ever for the store lighting exhibitors at EuroShop, for retailers, light planners and architects. Light quality and smart lighting must increasingly feature as the two pillars of contemporary lighting technology in retail landscapes both on a national and international level; and with a special sense of urgency as light planners and luminaire manufacturers highlight. This is why the exhibitors will also leverage the trade fair to raise even greater awareness and develop know-how regarding smart control systems and the quality of lighting technology.
Saving energy with illumination – the next step
For many retailers refurbishing their lighting systems continues to be centre stage. Lighting experts stress time and again that refurbishing conventional illumination solutions with LED luminaires can save as much as 50% energy costs while reducing environmental burdens at the same time. However, if LED lighting is also combined with light management systems and sensors – such as movement or daylight sensors – the energy-saving potential can even be substantially higher.
This is precisely the mission of the Swedish ITAB Group at EuroShop. The exhibitors’ dynamic lighting solutions are said to halve energy costs while improving the customer journey at the same time. “We have succeeded in doubling the light output ratio which also shortens pay-back times,” says Chris Bright, ITAB Vice President Solution Design, explaining a further savings effect of such measures. Simple – if need be – pre-programmable light control systems that can be effortlessly refitted using Bluetooth or other wireless technologies can increase the already noticeable energy savings as much as the integration of sensors, software and digital services. This means smart building management including a connected lighting infrastructure offers the best prerequisites for sustainably optimising energy consumption and workflows on retail spaces.
But this is just the start: new solutions in the lighting industry also focus on optimising suitability for the circular economy so as to minimise the complete (and long-term) carbon footprint of illumination installations. Bamberg-based exhibitor RZB will present a multi-functional surface-mounted and recessed luminaire as part of its sustainable lighting solutions and management systems in Düsseldorf. This luminaire scores points in terms of environmental protection and resource conservation by means of exchangeable components and a multi-lumen package feature. Alongside the replaceability and reusability of luminaire components the focus is on innovative packaging concepts for luminaires.
There is no doubt energy savings and environmental protection enjoy high priority in light planning at present. But future themes also provide exhibitors and trade visitors with inspiration for store lighting. From the sector’s perspective store lighting – as the most powerful emotional and especially flexible tool – has a particular role to play in staging products and bricks-and-mortar retail spaces. At the same time, digital illumination also offers the right infrastructure to blend the physical and digital worlds into one holistic and unique experience.
This means smart lighting solutions are another ace up retailers’ sleeves: during the digital transformation they help them to stay more attractive than their rapidly growing online competitors. The Covid pandemic with its lockdowns over the past two years has put offline retail under added pressure just as much as current record energy prices – leading to perceivable reservations on the shoppers’ part. So the attractive illumination of products, retail areas and architecture is a key theme when it comes to securing the sector’s future. The task is to make shoppers return to the physical stores again, thrill them, create brand experiences – because brand loyalty is largely built during the contact between shoppers and merchandise. One example being the new building complex erected by Bamberg-based Mercedes-Benz car dealer Scholz. The lighting technology for the new building came care of RZB Leuchten, Bamberg, who effectively staged all six customer touchpoints thereby decisively contributing to the success of the new Mercedes-Benz brand architecture placing the right light in the right place.
The prerequisite for a positive customer experience in offline retail is to understand customer needs from A to Z and be able to respond to these in a tailor-made fashion for each individual shopper. In actual fact, this customer journey already starts on the parking lot and when entering the store, continuing in the various departments and ending when they leave the store through the check-out area. For each stage of this journey convincing (lighting) solutions must be offered based on shoppers’ specific needs. Indispensable to this is a connected light infrastructure that enables digital communication and services such as indoor navigation, mobile push marketing and virtual customer service, thereby contributing to a positive customer experience.
Smart lighting technology also increasingly blurs the borders between online and offline retail. Omni-channelling as a key component of the customer experience substantially strengthens the competitiveness of offline retailers versus their online counterparts. The advantage of e-commerce vs. classic bricks-and-mortar business still lies in the transparency of shoppers: what shoppers do and buy online is already tracked and analysed and this data is used to make online shoppers appealing, personalised offers. This is precisely what needs to become possible for physical retailers, too – thereby enhancing the customer experience even further – and this is the key to building customer loyalty and boosting sales.
The Special Areas at EuroShop – brimming with ideas
Also featured again as part of EuroShop 2023 at Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre will be the Italian Lighting Lounge. On this Special Area Italian branded lighting manufacturers will be showcasing a comprehensive cross-section of products and components specifically for retail on over 300 square metres. On show will be a fireworks display of ideas for illuminating retail spaces attractively and in a demand-driven way. Visitors will see how a variety of products can be effectively staged with different colour temperatures while still fulfilling specific demands and requirements. In all of this, aesthetic purity, material quality and perfect finish – in brief the very epitome of Italian lighting design – must be retained.