How to Retrofit Your Retail Store with LED Lights

Key Points

LEDs are the most energy efficient bulb available and are a great way to save money on energy bills for commercial buildings. In this step-by-step guide you can find out more about installing LEDs in your retail space, including:

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Lighting is well known to influence shoppers in a retail environment and can impact on everything from how a customer perceives a brand to whether or not they choose to make a purchase. It can also set the scene for the shop and tell a story to customers about the retailer's brand.

Think of the difference between the industrial lighting of trendy fashion shops, with their bare fluorescent tubes and factory pendant lights, compared to the clean lines and warm-tones of lighting in designer stores. Compare this again with the no-frills lighting of supermarkets where the aim is to get as many people through the doors and spending as much money as possible. With these examples in mind, it's clear that lighting plays a major part in the retail experience.

An area were all retailers focus their efforts is their bottom line which is why many shop owners are turning to LED lighting to cut their lighting costs. LEDs are not only much cheaper to run than halogen lights but they are also better for the environment and arguably offer an improved quality of light.

What is retrofitting?

When it comes to lighting, retrofitting simply means replacing old less-efficient light bulbs with newer energy saving bulbs such as LEDs, without having to make any changes to the light fittings or wirings. LEDs are easy to install and many lamps can replace existing light bulbs like-for-like so in the vast majority of cases the fittings don't need to be upgraded. The exception to this are fluorescent tubes as replacing a fluorescent tube with an LED tube requires different wiring to the mains supply. However, there are LED tubes available such as the Osram SubstiTUBE LED range which don't require any rewiring and can simply replace the existing fluorescent tubes. Not having to change your light fittings will save you a considerable amount of money.

What are the benefits of retrofitting with LEDs?

  • LEDs produce less heat than incandescent or halogen bulbs which means retailers can save cash on the energy needed to power the bulbs. There is also a saving on the energy needed for air conditioning to cool the heat generated by the bulbs.
  • LEDs last far longer than other light bulbs which means they need replacing much less frequently, saving time and money on maintenance. LEDs can last from 25,000 to 50,000 hours, depending on the bulb. When you compare this to incandescent bulbs which last around 1,000 hours or halogens which last around 3,500 hours, the cost savings are clear. For example, swapping 35 50w halogen spotlights with 5w LEDs can save a massive £359.98 a year.
  • The key benefit of installing LEDs is that they save energy which means your lighting bill will be much cheaper and you can help to reduce your company's carbon footprint.
  • The reduced glare and heat from LEDs creates a better working environment for employees.

Where can you install LEDs?

LEDs can be used anywhere in a retail environment as they simply replace the existing bulbs. Below are some ideas for using LEDs in your shop windows and on the shop floor.

Shop windows

Window displays are what attract shoppers into a store in the first place and what can make them spend extra cash once they're inside. LEDs work well with window displays as they can be angled to highlight very specific areas, drawing shoppers' eyes to certain products. This effect can't be achieved with CFLs or incandescent bulbs and although it's possible with halogen bulbs, these bulbs emit far more heat than LEDs which can cause a problem with food displays or can increase the risk of fire with other displays, such as clothing. Downlights can focus light into specific areas and are movable which makes them highly versatile for use in different displays. They can also be used within the store as accent lighting for displays.

Shop floor

A shop's branding will play a large part in the style of bulbs used. For retro style lighting, a shop merchandiser may choose funky factory pendant lights fitted with round LEDs or even just bare LED tubes suspended from the ceiling by chains. Many LED tubes provide an exact replacement to fluorescent tubes so you won't need to update your light fitting. The Osram range of SubstiTUBE Value LED tubes have an average life of 30,000 hours, an A class energy rating and cost as little as £11.73 so offer excellent value for money. A standard fluorescent T8 tube may only cost a couple of pounds but they use much more energy to run and last on average for just 15,000 hours.

Lighting for this purpose can be a design feature in itself with light fittings such as chandeliers highlighting potential purchases. Chandeliers are traditionally fitted with incandescent or CFL candle bulbs but LED equivalents are available and bulbs such as the Bell Candle Clear BC range will burn for approximately 25,000 hours.

Display cabinets

LEDs offer excellent colour rendering and reduced glare, making them ideal for display cabinets where the glare from glass could distract or dazzle shoppers. The Bell LED GU10s offer the equivalent light levels to a 50w halogen bulb, making it ideal for highlighting products up close in displays, such as jewellery. Another option for use in display cases which are particularly small or an unusual size or shape are LED ribbon strips which can be cut to size and have an adhesive backing. The added bonus of LED strips is that they come with minimum wiring so won't clutter up a display cabinet with wires and fittings.

LED retail lighting in action

Now that LED lighting has developed enough to offer the same level in quality of light as more traditional light bulbs, many retailers are converting to these energy saving bulbs. Below are some examples of how some of the biggest names in the lighting industry are helping to reduce their energy bills.

  • EJ Menswear, a clothing retailer based in Ireland, wanted to reduce their energy consumption whilst maintaining the light output and colour rendering of their existing bulbs. Philips specified LED lamps to reduce the cost and energy generated by the existing halogen bulbs. With the new bulbs in place, the store is expected to save €6,000 per year on their energy bills.

If you would like to find out more about how you can cut your company's energy bills using LED lighting, contact Lamp Shop Online for advice and a quote.

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