SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Lighting can have a powerful effect on customers.
If you walk into a store that has bare bulbs or burnt out fixtures that are casting sections of the store into darkness, your first impression is tainted. Automatically the store seems low-end, possibly dirty and unsafe. Instead of lingering, you grab whatever you came in for and leave as quickly as you can.
Typically, lighting in convenience stores is utilitarian and often unattractive, designed for function and probably selected for cost savings. But, lighting does not have to be a one-time decision made with little thought to more than just the numbers.
Connected lighting is turning on new opportunities for business owners to reduce energy usage and costs while also improving the aesthetics of their stores. For example, rather than walking in and flipping on overhead lights that stay at one level all day long, a store equipped with connected lighting can have fluctuating lighting levels.
In the morning and evening, schedules can be set to raise or dim the lights based on the amount of daylight sensors detect filtering in through the windows. Dimming lights during the middle of the day can create compounded cost savings over time. Similarly, the color tone of lighting can be changed depending on the time of day or weather conditions. Customizing the lighting of a store by day or by hour based on the environment can make the store more appealing to customers, influencing their moods and response to the store. The same effect can be had on employees.
Lighting can also be used to help influence sales.
In the early hours of the day, lights above the coffee and breakfast food area of the store can be brightened, drawing in customers and directing them toward their morning craving. Snacks, sandwiches and soda cases can be highlighted midday, adult beverage sections in the evening and when the lottery jackpot spikes, the ticket machine can be spotlighted to draw more attention and push sales.
One of the most appealing features of connected lighting systems for store owners is scheduling. Spotlights, color tone and dimming can all be adjusted ad hoc or according to set schedules. Schedules ensure lighting appears at desired design levels consistently, without relying on employee interactions.
Connected lighting installations rely on sensors to monitor a store and detect when lighting should be adjusted based on scheduling. These sensors can serve multiple purposes and deliver benefits beyond lighting control.
For starters, occupancy sensors in storerooms and offices can ensure that employees always enter a well-lit space, providing further protection from slips and falls. Bathrooms equipped with occupancy sensors make the space feel safer for customers or employees who don’t have to fumble for a light switch. Eliminating the switch also reduces potential for germ transfer, a particular concern for employees who might be handling food and beverage products. Sensors can also inform a store owner of customer traffic trends and keep a watchful eye over the store outside of business hours.
In an age of smart homes and buildings, consumers will be more likely to shop at businesses where technology is emphasized. Connected lighting is a smart decision for store owners who want more insight into their customers, are concerned about reducing energy usage, want the benefits of cost savings as a result, and who are interested in how technology can influence and even improve sales, employee production and the overall customer experience.
Photograph courtesy of Cortet
David Parrett is director of product marketing for Cortet by CEL, Santa Clara, Calif.