Ask the Expert: Let there be Light

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Lighting can make all the difference retail – have you got it right?

How a shop it lit can make all the difference between a customer purchasing an item or walking out empty-handed. Nick Wraith, manging director of retail lighting specialist Lumenal, explains how the emergence of LED lighting can offer jewellery retailers a boost to sales.

Throughout the last few years, the switch to LED lighting has become one of the most rapidly growing trends within retail display, which has been particularly apparent in sectors such as jewellery, where quality of light is vitally important to the appearance of often elaborate merchandise and, therefore, sales.

Top quality illumination
The first and foremost function of display lighting is to enhance the visual appeal of merchandise on display. High quality display lighting has the ability to highlight the most beautiful details of jewellery, especially if the colour of light emitted is right for the different materials and colours of pieces on display. Colour of light is described in terms of whether it appears warm white (reddish), neutral or cool white (bluish).

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This is the first of many examples where LED lighting stands out from other light sources. The flexible nature of LED fittings allows the manipulation of the colour of light they emit to ensure optimum illumination of all jewellery on display. Then, a combination of different coloured lamps can be incorporated into a single fitting. For instance, a jewellery display case can be optimally illuminated by an LED strip light that incorporates both warm white light and neutral white light, which will enhance the appearance of gold and silver respectively within the one display case.

What’s more, LED lighting delivers this high quality light output without simultaneously emitting ultra-violet (UV) light, which is emitted by conventional light sources and can fade packaging and display materials.

Improved lifespan
High quality LED lighting will deliver a high quality light output, in terms of both colour and brightness, with faultless consistency throughout a lifespan in excess of 50,000 hours constant use (roughly equivalent to 10 years, assuming 85 hours trading per week). This is far greater than the life expectancy of conventional lighting, which varies from approximately 2,000 hours for halogen lights to 10,000 hours for long-life fluorescent lights.

LED lighting’s durability in comparison to conventional fittings stems from the fact that the latter rely on a highly delicate filament, whereas the former do not. The vulnerable filament problem is particularly prevalent in jewellery stores in which merchandise is often accessed through locked doors, which are continuously being banged open and shut throughout the working day. LED lights do not depend on this filament. Their robustness eliminates the maintenance costs of replacing blown bulbs as well as the inconvenience of less effectively merchandised displays because of poorly illuminated units.

Store environment
Display lighting can affect sales through customers’ shopping experience within a store. Customers are less likely to revisit or stay for a longer period of time in a store which is made uncomfortably warm by the excessive heat emitted by conventional lighting. Particularly, this can be a problem for both customers and employees of jewellery stores, which are often relatively small and confined environments. However, as LED lighting emits no infrared light (heat), its installation removes this problem. Not only does this improve staff and customers’ experience within a store, it can also remove the costs of running air conditioning.

Return on investment
LED lighting can also significantly cut annual running costs in terms of the energy required to run the lighting itself. First, their reliability removes the costs of repeatedly replacing blown lamps. Second, high-quality LED lamps are significantly more energy efficient than conventional fittings. They typically require 30% to 40% less energy to provide the same, or improved, quality of light. As the price of electricity continues to rise, such reductions in energy requirements are going to become even more attractive.

The long-term savings will usually provide a return on investment within 24 to 30 months of the installation. This, along with the delivery of a light output of consistently high quality, is why so many retailers are switching to LED lighting: because it is an environmentally friendly, long lasting and sales-improving investment.

Lumenal specialises in cost-effective, energy efficient and aesthetically appealing lighting solutions for the inside and outside of display cases, designed to meet retail customers’ individual requirements.

This article was taken from the June 2011 issue of Professional Jeweller. Read the magazine in full here.

 

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