‘Lighting impacts how merchandise is presented to customers’
By N Jayalakshmi | September 28, 2021
Retail4Growth presents ‘Spotlight’, a series in association with retail lighting solutions company Gardler, in which architects and store designers share their views on the role that lighting plays in the whole in-store experience. In this interaction, Shravan Suthar, Principal Designer, Shravan Design Company, shares his journey with lighting for his retail clients.
What are your observations when it comes to lighting in the context of your retail clients and projects?
Lighting is a core part of the work we do. There are different kinds of clients and they all have their own approach to the in-store experience they offer, based on the customers that they cater to. Accordingly, their approach to lighting also varies. Most of our clients cater to a market wherein the need is more for well lit stores. For some big chains, the approach to lighting is pretty standard. The fact is that every client comes with their own thought process and follows a formula that works for them. Our job is to understand their brief.
The segment that we cater to is very different from say, corporate chains, where a lot of work is done at the initial drawing level, which is then adapted across the chain of stores. In our case, it’s very different as each store is treated individually.
Are there any trends and developments that you see when it comes to retail lighting?
I’d say when it comes to retail, there hasn’t been much innovation in lighting. Of course there are some developments when it comes to aspects like heat sync, but beyond that not much, whereas in residential lighting one can see new trends, especially in terms of new fixtures.
What do you look for in a lighting vendor/partner? What is your approach?
A good understanding of what the project/store needs is very important. Also, we prefer working with known brands as quality of products and service is critical. Sometimes we present a few vendor options to the client and they take the final call and sometimes they go for a third party lighting brand who we have not worked with. So then we try to set the specifications and use software to measure things like lux levels. But beyond a point, it’s always a gamble working with unknown brand and there is only so much we can do. Sometimes there is a lot of difference between lighting samples shown and the end products. But retailers can easily differentiate, as lighting impacts how their merchandise is presented to their customers.
So is there any checklist that you can share to evaluate lighting vendors/solutions?
Essentially lighting, like I said before, depends on the merchandise that the retailer sells and the market he caters to. It also depends on factors like whether the product is going to be stacked/ hung, etc. For wedding merchandise, which constitutes a bulk of our customer base, the stores have to be well lit, but not be a shout-out. Supermarkets again are very different; there the lighting has to highlight the freshness of the products. In jewellery store, caution has to be taken with regard to glare. So there are different dynamics at play. But fundamentally, it’s good to work with known brands . You can get good costs with small vendors, but you will end up compromising on the product. The fact is that the entire retail business is dependent on visual impact, so evaluating the right kind of lighting solution is very important.
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