December 2021 - HMY

6 insights for lighting in fashion retail to improve the shopper experience

  • Can lighting be a key factor in the brand experience in Retail?
  • A brand’s point-of-sale lighting can reinforce its identity when it is well designed.
  • With these 6 insights, we will be improving the brand experience and sales.

Most retailers functionally deal with lighting, especially in the fashion sector, where the entire product is usually treated in the same way:

  • The tent should be evenly lit to avoid shadows and contrasts.
  • The product must be highlighted.
  • Use furniture that supports some integrated LED lighting.

But does this conception of shop lighting allow us to exploit the true potential of light?

Or on the contrary, what would happen if we went beyond the conventional and considered the way we illuminate our points-of-sale as another element of our brand image? Could we use light as a differentiating element that has a greater impact on the consumer experience and sales?

The answer is undoubtedly yes.

The state of the art in lighting is far more advanced than we might think if we look at the fashion shops that populate our cities, and more and more brands and retailers are exploiting this untapped niche.

From the dim, hyper-contrasted lighting of Abercrombie & Fich or Hollister shops to the visual display of the “freakiest” shops in London’s Candem Town. It has been proven that those who include light as a key point in the brand experience of their shops are at a higher level in terms of retail.

So here are 6 insights for integrating light as a key point of the shopper experience in our brand’s shops.

1.Combine multiple types of lighting throughout the shop

Many fashion retailers make great visual displays in their shop windows -Inditex or El Corte Inglés, among others, do not usually leave anyone indifferent- and make use of light bars, LED strips, light racks with integrated lighting, light blocks or lightboxes. However, once you go inside the shop, there are usually only two types of light: ambient and accent lighting.

Why not apply the same concept to the whole shop? These are just three of many possible ideas:

  • Creating different atmospheres by using light from a lightbox.
  • Highlight furniture with perimeter LED lighting or internal milling.
  • Use constructions or light blocks to highlight areas with premium collections, collaborations or new seasons.

2.Work on lighting as part of the experience

If the consumer experience is something that is defined by the concept, so must lighting, as another tool to deploy that experience.

Light is not only an indispensable element for highlighting and magnifying shop visuals. As we will see in the following tips, it also has a great impact on consumer mood.

To realise its full potential, the Design teams defining the brand concept in the shops must have technical knowledge of the possibilities offered by light and the different types of lighting that can be integrated.

3.Conduct a professional lighting study

It is one thing to know the visual result we want to achieve and quite another to make it happen.

From choosing the best luminaires -or LED spotlights- for each visual effect, to their position, direction and intensity. All these aspects are controlled by an expert lighting technician (who will work hand-in-hand with the design team). Aspects that, without their help, can be very difficult to get right.

4.Quality vs quantity

When we follow the maxim that “everything should be well lit” it is easy to fall into the error of being guided by the quantity rather than the quality of light, and the spotlights that provide it.

On the one hand, working with lighting in this way can cost us several things (energy, installation, maintenance, etc.). On the other hand, what at first glance may seem correctly lit, the changes in colour that each new fashion brings can result in an exhibition of garments and looks that are overexposed or too dark.

Therefore, it is not a question of installing a large number of spotlights, but rather spotlights with the right characteristics that, together with a good lighting study, will always achieve the best visual result (and at the same time, we will not inflate the electricity bill).

5.Master the HCL concept

HCL is the acronym for Human Centric Lighting, a way of understanding lighting in terms of the effect it has on consumers (moods, metabolic response, general well-being, etc.).

A type of lighting that not only takes into account how the product is presented but also how comfortable the consumer feels in the space in question.

The implications of this way of conceiving light radically change consumers’ experience in our shops, the time they want to spend in them and how they feel while trying on clothes.

6.Opting for innovative trends

Lastly, what better industry than fashion to be daring? If fashion shops are not transgressive, what other sector is going to be?

Light, through all the shapes and colours it can adopt, is one of the best ways to attract consumers’ attention. Especially in a digital age in which images (static and video) are the main attraction for consumers who spend as much time on Instagram and TikTok as they do in shops.

If you want to give a boost to the point-of-sale of your fashion business, contact us. Our architecture and interior design team will create an efficient and personalised space at your point of sale to offer the best customer experience.

The 10 precepts of eco-design in Retail

  • Eco-design is the most useful tool for Retail to be environmentally responsible.
  • Its 10 precepts help design more sustainable furniture and fixtures for brands and retailers.

The evolution of retail towards a more sustainable business model has gone through several stages to date.

The first of these has sought to improve recycling practices and the use of consumables in the offices of brands and distributors. Additionally, it has pursued the inclusion of recycling in daily operations. The second phase, on the other hand, aims to make products more sustainable.

Retailing is now in a third stage: getting the message across to the consumer and committing to sustainability (without greenwashing).

To this end, shopfitting experts like HMY must carry out the same work with furniture and retail services that brands have done with their products: redesigning them to make them more sustainable.

This redesign process focused on sustainability is what is known as eco-design, and it follows the 10 principles that we present today in this post.

1. Use as little material as possible

This considerably reduces the environmental impact of the furniture by saving during the production process. Thus, the energy used in the extraction of raw materials and the associated depletion of natural resources is reduced.

However, the challenge lies in the willingness to add this material reduction phase to the development of the furniture. This stage requires hours for the redevelopment of pieces and their processes, but it is necessary.

2. Facilitate the separation of goods

For years, the focus on optimising time and material costs has led the industrial sector to use glue and silicone-based assembly processes. However, these processes make it impossible to segregate the different materials that make up a piece of furniture for separate recycling.

Facilitating that separation, with new production methods and materials, is another phase that HMY’s engineering teams are undertaking to make the shops environmentally responsible.

3. Use environmentally friendly raw materials

None of the above makes sense if we continue to rely on materials whose production and extraction leads to the desertification or pollution of the natural environment. Therefore, one of the duties of the supply chain is to look for alternative sources, such as controlled forests, from which raw materials can be extracted more responsibly.

4. Design to last

In Retail, the duration of an installation is the duration required by the current brand concept or the campaign or product for which it is designed.

This does not mean that, for cost reasons, the most durable possible materials and processes should not be used, but rather the most appropriate ones. In doing so, a balance must be struck between the lifetime of the installation and all other eco-design precepts.

5. Multifunction, recycling and reuse

The versatility of the premises (or agility) is one of the Pillars of the New Retail for practical, but also environmental reasons.

Designing furniture, technologies or visual elements to adapt to the different needs of the brand or retailer makes it easier to avoid entering a production spiral and cost overruns with each new project.

6. Compaction

There are good practices such as Flat Packing, which designs furniture in such a way as to optimise loading space in transport trailers. Such methods have a direct impact on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Retail logistics.

This, added to the optimisation of transport routes and the use of local assembly equipment, helps to reduce the carbon footprint to a minimum. Specifically, up to 22% less, which is the GHG reduction achieved by HMY in 2020, certified by AECOC and which led to the achievement of the first Lean&Green star.

7. Design services instead of products

Is it possible to replace a piece of shop furniture with a service? Perhaps it is a somewhat distant ideal nowadays, but there are analogue elements of the shop that we can transform into digital content. This is the case of visual communication and digital signage.

This is a good practice that improves not only the environmental impact but also the brands’ POS costs.

8. Optimisation through technology

This is in line with the previous point although it also affects the entire manufacturing and logistics process in shops. Some additional key elements where technology helps to reduce the environmental impact of Retail are:

  • Development of furniture using software, incorporating calculations of quantity and density of materials.
  • Advances in production processes and new materials that make it possible to consume less raw material or reuse waste.
  • Picking technologies to optimise trailer loads.
  • Software and logistical methodology to optimise the unloading routes of the premises.

9. Use of standard systems

Production is a basic need of society and, therefore, the maxim of eco-design is to optimize the manufacture of goods as much as possible (not substitutable by a service).

This optimization reaches its maximum exponent when we make use of standardization.

Taken to store design, it means defining the furniture taking advantage of existing structures or from scratch, but using a limited number of structures that, if necessary, can be customized through complementary colors or modules (also standardized). In this way, everything can be produced on the same line, reducing time, costs, transport, waste …

10. Promote sustainability

The impact that Retail has on people’s daily lives is comparable to that of their homes and jobs. The amount of space dedicated to shops and the amount of time consumers spend in them (online and offline) make them hugely efficient communication platforms.

This is why retail spaces have the potential to function as loudspeakers for sustainability. They can become awareness-raising platforms that help fuel efforts to redirect Retail towards this more sustainable and much-needed business model.

With these simple 10 principles of eco-design in the retail sector, we can increase sustainability in production processes at all levels. This will allow your brand to contribute directly to improving the environment and become an environmentally responsible company.

5 tips for redesigning your shops and making them environmentally responsible

  • Sustainability in Retail is as important and profound a paradigm shift as digital transformation.
  • Redesigning a brand’s store concept to make it more sustainable means intervening throughout the supply chain, not just at the point-of-sale.

Sustainability has generated an undeniable attraction in society in general and in retail in particular. Fewer and fewer sectors and brands can afford not to incorporate respect for the planet into their corporate objectives.

Until now, this odyssey has focused on two aspects of brands and retailers: day-to-day operations and products or services. This is logical because the former is the easiest to control and the latter has the greatest impact on the relationship with the consumer. Two relatively quick wins.

But sustainability is far from being a fad. Consumers are demanding an increasing involvement of companies in caring for the planet. They are calling for a complete transformation that encompasses the entire supply chain. This has ended up putting the spotlight on a third aspect of FMCG companies that combines daily operations and products: the shops.

In today’s post, we outline 5 tips for incorporating sustainability as a visible attribute in the redesign of a brand’s shop concept. 

1. Sustainability is a value, not an action

First and foremost, it is necessary to understand sustainability as something that affects the brand at all levels. Putting a single piece of furniture, a single product line or a single sign as a marketing staple is no longer enough for consumers. The user considers these practices as greenwashing and ignores them or, directly, penalises them.

Putting sustainability at the heart of a brand’s redesign means rethinking everything about its points-of-sale. Here are some examples of how to turn them into environmentally responsible shops:

  • The materials and processes used in the furniture.
  • Waste management.
  • The rotation of consumable material.
  • The separability of packaging and bags.
  • The energy consumption of the establishment.
  • The logistics required to implement the new concept in all points-of-sale.
  • The role of retail outlets in last-mile logistics.
  • The social impact of the shop in the surrounding area.

This is all part of the brand’s relationship with the consumer and society, of which both are part. Therefore, to the extent that customers perceive the brand’s involvement in making all these points (and more) sustainable, their consideration of the brand will increase.

2. Incorporate the “life cycle” concept into your brand, products and shops

One of the keys to sustainability in the Retail sector is the concept of “life cycle”. It helps us to analyse goods and services beyond their production and sale, and therefore, their environmental impact.

The clearest example of being negligent in this basic sustainability issue is plastic islands. They have become a major threat to oceans and we can see many of them forming electronic waste dumps, sadly common in African countries. On a microeconomic level, these situations may seem excessive to us. However, consumers increasingly associate them with the brands that produce and market the products that end up in this waste.

To apply life cycle to our new shop concept we can:

  1. Highlight the value of the production process and the recirculation of elements and products, transmitting it to the consumer as part of the storytelling.
  2. Find ways to give a second life to elements of the shop within the new redesign.
  3. Involve consumers in the recirculation of the waste generated by our products. For years, supermarkets in Northern Europe have been collecting aluminium and plastic beverage containers from consumers and refunding part of the cost.

3. When considering change, eco-design it.

Eco-design is currently the most important trend in almost all areas of the industrial world, especially in the sustainable retail sector. The name itself is quite explanatory: applying environmentally friendly practices when designing a product or service.

At HMY we follow the 10 precepts of eco-design when designing, manufacturing and installing shops, stands and POS, seeking to make them as sustainable as possible:

  1. Use as little material as possible.
  2. Facilitate the separation of goods.
  3. Use of environmentally friendly raw materials.
  4. Design to last.
  5. Multifunction, recycling and reuse.
  6. Optimisation of packaging and logistics.
  7. Design of services that can replace products.
  8. Use of technologies that facilitate sustainability.
  9. Use of standard systems where possible.
  10. Ecomarketing, promoting consumer awareness through design.

4. Sustainability is more than recycling

Another concept we incorporate in HMY, together with life cycle and eco-design, is that of second life. This means that thanks to our network of warehouses and assembly teams, we can offer our customers the dismantling, reconditioning and reinstallation of their shop furniture.

This concept is particularly useful in the management of multiple closures and openings, which are very common in expanding brands.

5. Be aware of the sustainable possibilities

It is difficult for brands to have the time or the necessary expertise to be able to put it into practice outside their scope of action (operations and products). However, it is easier if we are aware of the latest trends in sustainable development that any retailer can now apply to their points-of-sale.

We compiled them recently in this post:

  1. Vita: textile decorations.
  2. Digital signage.
  3. Furniture in FSC and PEFC timber.
  4. Organic labellers.
  5. Polyurethanes of organic origin.
  6. Zenith ceilings and wall slats.
  7. Gondolas and walls made of second-generation steel.
  8. Visual communication with recycled and recyclable supports, ECO inks and air-purifying coatings (Pureti).

HMY’s friend Fundación Lealtad, launches the Donate with trust stamp

  • Trust is the main reason to collaborate with an NGO
  • The Fundación Lealtad analyses associations and foundations to ensure that they fully comply with the 9 principles of transparency and good practices.

At HMY, we understand that companies must do business in a responsible way by promoting good practices and this is especially relevant in the field of NGOs where trust is essential.

As a company we take it a step further in social responsibility by supporting the Fundación Lealtad, a non-profit and independent institution whose mission is to foster societies trust in NGOs in order to achieve an increase in donations.

The Donate with Trust Stamp

Fundación Lealtad latest initiative has been the launch of the donate with trust stamp, which identifies NGOs that are transparent, with efficient management and control of funds.

This accreditation is already held by more than 225 NGOs. A group of organisations that manage a volume of funds of 1,176 million euros and serve more than 43.5 million beneficiaries. They have around 107,000 volunteers, 30,000 employees and the support of 1.9 million members. 80% have social action as their main field of action, while 16% are involved in development cooperation, 2% in scientific research associated with health, 1% in humanitarian aid and another 1% in the environment.

Now more than ever, donating with trust is possible. Meet the more than 225 NGOs that have the Stamp of approval.