With 2017 gone Nualight discuss what 2018 holds for the retail industry and the role lighting will play, with Andrew Cronin, Nualight Vice president – Product Research & Development:

This year has been about implementing strong foundations for LED lighting. Unfortunately, we have had more than a few instances where customers have asked us to correct a LED installation.

Customers must be cautious when selecting programmes which, in the short term, look good on the balance sheet but can yield negative longterm consequences. Unintentionally, a poor lighting decision can jeopardise the end user experience, which can be painful from both a financial and brand perspective. Correcting these mistakes can be both costly and time consuming, a good rollout requires a good team, robust data and experience!

Lighting industry trends

The lighting industry continues to recognise that users are becoming ever more receptive to push notifications and information on mobile devices. I would therefore expect to see continued developments in 2018 for IOT, Beacons and Li-fi enabled luminaires as vehicles to create customer engagement touchpoints.

Grocery retail trends

Controversially however, within the grocery retail sector, we believe lighting manufacturers are not best placed to lead these new customer engagement technologies or platforms, in fact we would go so far to say that technology cannot be substituted for innovative store design and exceptional customer service.

Even in this digital age, customers expect a quick, non-personal transaction online but expect quite the opposite in store. Evidence is strong that brick-and-mortar stores will not just survive but continue to grow, this can be seen through the recent investments from European discounters and notable online retailers such as Amazon. Grocery store retail will continue to change into a more intimate and personalised experience, which so far, are impossible to replicate online.

Sensory experiences such as the magnetising smell of freshly baking bread, or the taste of a “try before you buy” fruit or cheese promotions will be the development path for fresh food store formats. Lighting can hugely influence these sensory experiences and therefore we believe grocery retailers will continue to invest in retail display lighting to help promote and accentuate their products.

In summary, for 2018 energy savings will become less of a decisive purchasing factor, whilst luminaire quality, maintenance and robustness will return as higher priorities for lighting buyers.

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