With smart lighting solutions, the lighting industry accompanies retailers on their journey from points of sale to points of experience.
Store lighting remains one of the most important investment focuses in German retail, as revealed by the latest EHI Energy Monitor 2020 among other things. For this reason, lighting continues to play an important role at EuroShop, the world's largest trade fair for retail investment needs. When the doors open again at Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre on 16 February 2020, more than 120 exhibitors in Halls 9 and 10 will be at the ready showcasing trend-setting concepts and product ideas for the lighting of retail space.
The revolution in LED technology that began more than a decade ago has produced an almost inexhaustible repository of application options for the retail sector. These go far beyond store lighting in the classic sense and are now being developed step by step. Digitalisation is an important keyword here, as it offers numerous innovative approaches, such as communicating with light in a subtle way, emotionalising customers, creating USPs in retail and supporting company branding. "We are only at the beginning of developments here, but light can already act as infrastructure today without the need for additional installations," says Austrian lighting expert Zumtobel adding that this is a unique advantage.
Also in the opinion of such industry observers as Kplus, Büro für Innenarchitektur und Kommunikationsdesign in Düsseldorf/Leipzig the market as a whole has by no means grasped, let alone exhausted the potential of LED technology yet. The learning process in terms of digital lighting technology is far from completed they say. And yet: be it a new building or refurbishment project – more and more future-oriented retail space concepts at both national and international level now demonstrate that digital lighting technology is already part and parcel of our everyday shopping lives. In terms of lighting technology, LED is regarded as a standard, and users expect high efficiency. The spectrum ranges from the emotionally designed, high-impact staging of goods, retail space and architecture through to the enhancement of the quality of customers’ stay and from customer and staff well-being to the central topic of connectivity, i.e. the connection of luminaires to create intelligent lighting systems. Whether the integration of lighting into the entire building control system, indoor navigation or mobile push marketing and virtual customer care – not all of this is always associated with a major roll-out at chain stores; many things are still in pilot project stage. But one thing is becoming more and more apparent: LED lighting is proving to be an extraordinarily versatile, subtle and at the same time effective means of communication in an increasingly digitalised shopping world.
The added value this medium can generate for customers, staff and retailers is demonstrated by Signify in the field of indoor placement. In the digital age, in-store navigation gives this classic guiding principle a whole new dimension: light guides the shopper directly to the goods sought after. In a MediaMarkt store in Gründau-Lieblos, Hesse, an intelligent lighting system with VLC technology (VLC = Visible Light Communication) has been used since summer 2019 to determine the exact position of shoppers in the store in addition to the classic lighting task. The existing ceiling lighting system enables shoppers to conveniently locate products in the store using their smartphone and digital store guide App and navigates them directly to the relevant shelf. Signify's cooperation with the Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn provides a similar application example.
Research and development interests in the lighting industry are currently focused on generating added value with smart lighting solutions that help retailers to be more attractive than their competitors in the long term. The continued strong growth of online retail is unmistakably presenting physical retailers with ever greater challenges in getting consumers off the couch and away from convenient shopping at the click of a mouse back into stores. "Emotionalisation and eventisation are the directions we are all pursuing in response," says Oktalite. The aim is to permanently establish shopping venues as places for people to spend large portions of their leisure time in an extremely appealing environment. In this context, Zumtobel also refers to the development of POSs into hybrid concepts that combine cafés, social encounters, leisure with gaming and learning. Places of experience and emotion are created where people do not necessarily shop but buying decisions are taken. So the classic POS is developing into a Point of Experience where light brings about unique experience worlds.
Within seconds luminous colours and intensities change the complete atmosphere in the room, they adapt to the weather, season or time of day controlled by sensors or are given a thematic focus. Walls turn into screens, rooms into envelopes that can be designed flexibly – light can definitely have a strong influence on the experience. For architects, planners and creative minds this is an “El Dorado” for developing emotional sceneries, thereby breathing new life into retail areas and guest and event facilities using comparably simple means. The dynamisation of lighting by means of electronic lighting control systems offers both higher efficiency and more creative scope and plays an outstanding role in custom lighting solutions where the light has to match the brand. All of this helps retailers’ central aim of boosting their business by improving loyalty of existing shoppers and winning over new ones.
For some time now the quality of light has been centrestage again for the research done by lighting manufacturers and light engineers. “Today, we attach more attention to the qualities of LEDs in terms of their spectral composition and light directing properties,” is Bäro’s answer with regard to innovative lighting concepts that initiate and accompany current developments on retail spaces. The company wants to demonstrate the impressive possibilities that the use of merchandise-specific luminous colours and spectrum offer in retail to visitors at its stand. In addition to this, the company will bring new luminaires to the fair that – thanks to state-of-the-art technologies – combine ever more compact dimensions with higher luminous efficiency while also offering increased visual comfort in terms of photometric curves, glare limitation and quality of colour.
Retailers are increasingly realising that the value of light engineering must be considered in terms of light effects rather than quality alone. The Mülheim based lighting expert is convinced that this mindset also presupposes new standards for assessing the quality of light. The widely used LOR (Light Output Ratio) which defines the light output ratio of a luminaire (its efficiency) and reveals the percentage of light generated that is really emitted by the luminaire, he feels, should be replaced by the ROL (Return of Light). The latter describes how much light “arrives” at the merchandise. And this is precisely what quality store lighting concepts are all about: light that is efficiently directed onto the merchandise which – through the eye – produces an effect in the observers’ brains.
As part of the 20th Euroshop 2020 the Italian Lighting Lounge will yet again be presented in Düsseldorf. Here Italian brand manufacturers from the lighting segment will present themselves on over 300 square metres of exhibition space. They exhibit a complete cross-section of products and components especially geared to retail. The aim is to impressively stage retail spaces in which various objects co-exist with different luminous temperatures. On display will be various proposals for designing LED lighting in line with specific demands and needs without ignoring the aesthetic purity, material quality and perfect finish.
EuroShop 2020 is held on approx. 127,000 m² of net exhibition space and is open daily to trade visitors from Sunday, 16 to Thursday, 20 February 2020, from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm. 1-day tickets cost EUR 80 (EUR 60 purchased in advance online/e-Ticket), 2-day tickets are EUR 120 (EUR 100 purchased as e-Tickets) and season tickets are EUR 180 (EUR 150 e-Tickets). Admission tickets include a free return trip to EuroShop on all networks of the VRR transport authority (Verkehrsverbund-Rhein-Ruhr).
Also take a look at the EuroShop online magazine, which offers news, interviews, reports, expert articles, studies, photo galleries and videos on topics and trends from the international retail community 365 days a year. mag.euroshop.de