Energy efficient Retail showroom/mall lighting systems in Indian market

Retail lighting is gaining unprecedented priority, and the beneficiaries are many, observes, S. D. Khan.

Lighting

A well lit retail outlet can build long lasting relations between the buyer and the seller! And there are reasons to buttress this contention. Firstly, good lighting uplifts the overall ambience of a showroom, and this encourages people to step inside the premises instead of being content with window shopping. Secondly, lighting is scientifically proven to be mood uplifting, a gem of a trait that makes shoppers feel good and keeps the sellers charged up. And most importantly, well lit display areas enhance the appeal of objects on sale as customers can gauge their intricacies very minutely. Put together, these meritorious attributes play a pivotal role in increasing buyer footfalls and generating higher sales.

Lighting

Retail, as we all know, is all about playing with a buyer’s subconscious mind and this rule applies to lighting as well. Sticking religiously to this philosophy, manufacturers and influencers such as architects, designers and consultants are working shoulder-to-shoulder, to set new benchmarks every passing day. For manufacturers, feedback from consultants is invaluable as it is a bright reflection of their informal involvement with clients. Enriching inputs from lighting designers convey a lot of vital information about preferences and requirements of the catered lot.

Sankalp Sahu
Influencers, on the other hand, also benefit immensely as they are able to express their creative side and satisfy their clientele. So, if lighting up retail spaces is your passion, then it’s a broad spectrum of expression for you! As Mr. Sankalp Sahu, Architect & Partner of Delhi-based 02JUNE Design Studios, observes, "Categorically, retail is a diverse segment with a gamut of verticals such as supermarkets, hypermarkets, stores, malls, and product specific showrooms. In these categories too, there are various diversifications such as garment showrooms, apparel outlets, food and beverage items, and much more. Now the point to be considered is that the lighting applications and products for each category/segment depend on various factors such as the products being displayed, the amount of time a customer spends inside a showroom, and the impact a retailer wants to create in a buyer’s mind."

Lighting

Now the question that strikes the mind immediately is that what are the ideal lighting fixtures for modern day retail outlets? The knee-jerk reaction is LED lights as they are energy efficient, cost saving, and provide focused luminance. And considering the fact that the benefits of LEDs are being ‘pushed down our throat’ by the lighting fraternity, it ought to be the first choice.

Ankur Gupta
Mr. Ankur Gupta, who offers lighting design and consultancy services through his Delhi-based firm Absence of Darkness, affirms, "New trends in retail lighting are clearly to do with the new and upcoming LED technology in addition to the specialization of the optics which manufacturers across the globe have been putting a lot of research into over the years. Retail lighting falls under the technical category of lighting and requires very specific products designed for specific applications. With the availability of some very well designed products with very specific optics, competitive pricing, and high performance output on LED products and innovative support technologies in managing LED and their functionality (specially with color); has enabled a lot of designers to achieve very energy efficient lighting solutions, with very high performance levels, in a very energy and power hungry lighting environment which is Retail."

Lighting

Ankur Gupta’s Project in Meerut

"One of the Retail projects, I would like to highlight is a Jewelry Store done at Meerut, UP, India. The main challenges on this project were"

  • Energy efficiency (lower the total energy consumption with respect to the existing chain stores) - We had done an initial survey of the client’s existing stores and a few stores in competition to analyze the average running load comparison and it came out to be approx. 20-30 kW per store.
  • The Lighting Performance - for any retail and specifically for Jewelry, not only the lighting levels are key but also the color rendering for the gold and diamonds. An average of 1000+ lux was to be achieved at display counters and a provision for 2 types of color temperatures of lighting was to be provided for gold or diamond displays.
  • Aesthetics - The visual appeal of the lighting system as to be maintained to give the space a warm and soothing look rather than a heavy industrial space look.
Lighting
At the end of the project, we were successfully able to meet and exceed all our goals & requirements. The total running load of the lighting system was reduced to less than 10 KW, with an average 1100+ lux on display counters and an aesthetically pleasing space design. Very specific products designed for jewelry retail were used and the entire project was done WITHOUT the use of LED’s and with conventional lamp sources to keep the budgets in control.

Mr. Sahu differs slightly, "When we talk of lighting in retail, traditionally Indians have been using halogens, and conventional lighting structures. However, with the advent of technology, these trends are fast changing. LEDs, for instance, have played a major role in this. Meanwhile, the other option is CDM-T lights which are more focused vis-à-vis LEDs, and highlight the products to a great extent. For example, a garment shop selling readymade clothes is suited to CDM-Ts, whereas LEDs are ideal in a food and beverage outlet as they provide the required LUX and are cooler, also in consumer electronics and mobile phone shops, LED down lighters are the perfect fixtures as they enhance the appeal of these items without giving a high glare."

He elaborates, "Naturally, the top priority of any showroom owner is to increase the number of footfalls in an outlet, and in order to do that, it’s imperative to create an appealing atmosphere and aesthetics. The design choice of such lights is largely dependent on the mood that the designer and client wants to create for the customer, after all retail is all about playing with the subconscious mind. The idea is to not only attract more people to the outlet but also ensure that they spend some time inside the premises. So, usually appeal presides over cost savings. Those retailers who are quite ambitious and foresee an increase in the number of their outlets in the coming 3-5 years or so, usually opt for CDM-T lights and even expensive LEDs, while small scale retailers prefer to priorities cost savings over appeal, because they are gauging the profitability of their venture in the long-run."

Retail Strategy

Retail is a very niche segment and requires optimum lighting solutions that enhance the appeal of the wares on display. They are of the view that the LED has emerged as a champion amongst the masses.

Sumit Joshi


Mr. Sumit Joshi, Marketing Head - Philips Lighting India, points out, "Lighting at a retail space has always played a crucial role as a key differentiator, creating an enjoyable shopping experience for its customers. From the freshness of fish to the texture of a leather boot, it can help influence buying decisions. Philips is passionate about creating the right ambiance in a retail environment, enabling stores to provide enhanced shopping experiences which are also energy efficient. Philips’ LED based solutions are one of the most energy-efficient lighting solutions available today and are being extensively used by retail store owners to reduce their energy consumption as well as to create a unique lighting ambiance for their store."


V. P. Mahendru

Mr. V. P. Mahendru, Chairman - Managing Director, Eon Electric asserts, "Consumers of electricity for lighting purposes for industrial, commercial or residential purpose buy quantum (Lumens) of quality light per hour and not merely the wattage of light sources even though the respective consumers pay for the consumption by wattage of power (KWH) used for such lighting. In fact the LED lights have established themselves to be of excellent quality to appropriately brighten up human faces and ornamental articles. LED lights also provide the extra benefit of much more lumens of light per watt of power consumed than conventional GLS, CFLs, sodium vapour, mercury vapour sources of light."


Parag Kulkarni
Shailesh Tokekar
On the other hand, Mr. Parag Kulkarni, Senior Vice President & Business Head, Commercial Lighting & Furniture Business, Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting Group, explains that today retail is maturing and the idea is to understand the needs of the client. "Wipro constantly engages with its clients in the retail segment and devises solutions that fit their requirements." A point that’s affirmed by Mr. Shailesh Tokekar, Sales Controller - Retail Lighting, Wipro, "Wipro Lighting has helped customers create good ambience, reduce energy costs and also improve efficiencies in retail stores, through its state-of-the-art Lighting Solutions & Products. We have partnered with large companies like Reliance, Aditya Birla, Bharti, ITC as well as many large National and Multinational companies across India."

Talking of market receptivity of their products, both the gentlemen unanimously state that, "In the last couple of years, there has been tremendous focus on energy savings. Customers are extremely forthcoming in trying out new technologies that deliver on high energy savings. With continuously evolving technology, LEDs have now opened exciting avenues for functional lighting. LED-based luminaires have already been introduced in a wide range of luminaires for Retail applications and with each day the possibilities are increasing. On one side, LEDs consume very low energy and have long service life, while on the other hand with no mercury content, they are quite a green way of lighting."

Pankaj Gulati

Mr. Pankaj Gulati, EVP & COO of Continental Device India Limited, (CDIL) elucidates, "According to a report by Deloitte, the Indian retail industry has expanded by approximately 10.6% and is expected to touch around US$ 750 - 800 billion by 2015. As the retail segment continues to grow in an organized manner in India, the demands of LED Lights are expected to increase by leaps and bounds. Since one of the major challenges faced by Retails chains is keeping maintenance/running cost low, LED Lighting solution is like the savior as they have longer life, less than half energy consumption as compared to conventional lights and almost ZERO maintenance cost. Products like LED tubelights, LED downlights and LED Edge-lit panels are some of the popular in the retail segment."

Befitting Fixtures Getting a Strong Endorsement!

Well, what comes as a feather in the cap for the lighting industry is that lighting designers and consultants vouch strongly for niche retail lighting solutions. These influencers strongly acknowledge the positive steps taken by manufacturers in order to cater to the ever evolving retail lighting requirements. So, if lighting up spaces is your passion, the contemporary fixtures will enable you to express your creative side!

Informs Mr. Gupta, "There is a long list of manufacturers who can provide custom solutions, and some even specialize in custom products and solutions. With so much focus on design detailing, it makes it worthwhile for a designer to have a vendor work towards a design solution for a particular project." While giving his nod of assent, Mr. Sahu states, "Manufacturers of lighting products are very forthcoming, and their offerings are a wonderful blend of R&D, innovation, consumer preferences, and designer/consultant feedback. Nonetheless, I am of the view that Indian manufacturers should keep on investing in R&D and simultaneously continue to increase awareness."

Lighting

Crucially, the lighting industry’s stalwarts have taken the onerous task of revolutionizing retail spaces upon themselves with an ardent zeal and fervour. Manufacturers are investing heavily in product Research & Development to continuously upgrade their offerings. And since LED lights entail high initial costs, the idea is to design such a product that results in sustained Return on Investment (RoI).

Mr. Kulkarni and Mr. Tokekar assert that Wipro Lighting has always been open to idea of customized solutions and has a proven track record on understanding customer need and developing the ideal lighting solutions. "We have also invested in LED Lighting solutions and have developed LED products for various formats of Modern Retail Stores. We are constantly innovating and work with the best designers across the world to offer our customers with products that are at par with any International product," they aver.

Philips, for instance, has recently launched GreenLEDi which combines modern product design, the latest LED technology and reliable heat management to deliver long lasting efficient solution for retail spaces. "This is the effective replacement for conventional CFL solutions, resulting in significant power saving and reduced operational costs. GreenLEDi offer 50% energy savings and have a long life of 40,000 - 50,000 hours. Philips is strengthening the process of local innovation in LED Lighting and also shortening the time to market for more affordable products and solutions. We have recently expanded our Philips Lighting Innovation Center in Noida, which developed and launched more than 150 LED-based lighting products and solutions in the last two years. Our hero product GreenPerform LED tubelights helped the Aditya Birla’s MORE Supermarket in Bengaluru to cut down its electricity bills by 20% after the installation," vindicates Mr. Joshi.

Backed by robust R&D, Philips LEDs yield whiter and crisper light and at the same time, they are upto 70% energy efficient. "Not only luminosity, the retail LED solutions are developed to emanate much less heat and CO2 which protects the display merchandise from fading. The initial cost of LEDs is high as compared to the other regular lights but they prove to be much more economical in the long run as they save energy and maintenance costs," he adds.

Anchor Electricals, which is now a part of the Panasonic Group, has also got onto the retail lighting bandwagon. Mr. Rakesh Inamdar, the company’s Deputy Manager - Lighting, says, "The retail market for LED is growing very fast as people have acknowledged the plus points such as cost savings, green -environment. We at Panasonic offer very wide range of LED solutions to the customers, builders, architects, dealers and end users. We have a team of designers trained to give all solutions related to the customers’ needs."

Lighting

Meanwhile, Mr, Mahendru states that EON LEDs are indeed the latest and most efficient sources of light which have since been developed. "EON has been on fast track growth to produce over 50,000 LED bulbs per month, and this figure will be pushed to 100,000 shortly apart from variety of other LED lights including Downlighters, Street Lights. Our in-house R&D center along with testing laboratory is in accordance with relevant International and IS specifications IS:16102 part 1 and part 2. All these products go through a regular process of evaluation and testing of satisfactory performance not only within our R&D laboratory but also through consultants and Architects who evaluate these products with reference to the buildings where they must appropriately jell and provide light as required. The process of development is regular and continuous which has enabled EON to reach an excellent level of quality of LEDs of high performance which provides comfort, convenience, safety and affordable cost to its customers."

Lighting
Talking of CDIL’s innovation focused endeavours, Mr. Gulati informs, "We have launched LED Lighting products under DyneL brand, which include LED Tube Light range, high-efficiency LED Down Light range along with specialized retail lights for retail chains and malls in India. We have developed special products for retail segment which includes an In-Built driver Down Light solution, this product range is easiest to install; cutting down time for retail chains and stores, and also occupies very limited space above the false ceiling. Since, most of the retail chains are now going with raw/semi finished ceiling finish; this product is attracting lots of retail clients. Also, recently we have added dual color down lights to our range which helps the store owners and malls to set the lighting mood as per the requirement."

In order to adhere to its commitments, Dynel directs a concerted focus on R&D. Mr. Gulati says, "The main component in any LED lighting system is the driver. This is an electronic circuitry with active semiconductors. CDIL’s core strength lies in the semiconductor components manufacturing area. This strength helps us develop new products, optimizing the performance of the running products and specially cater to some specific customer requirements with minimum turn-around time. The life of any LED light is equivalent to the life of the driver. CDIL’s specialty is the design and optimized usage semiconductors in the driver, as this is what makes a difference in the final LED product."

Long lasting illumination...

Just like an ecosystem thrives on symbiosis, an industry’s success also depends on the inter-dependence of its vital elements. Unlike residential lighting, which is a typical triangle with the customer sitting at 90o, and the manufacturer and influencer at 45o each, the retail segment is more akin to a pyramid wherein the stakeholder triumvirate (Retail Client, Lighting Company, and Influencer) work in tandem. Sitting at the top is none other than the customer - the common man-! And as income levels rise, well lit retail outlets will witness more footfalls, filling up the trio’s pockets in the process!
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