The Telegraph has reported that BHS toppled into administration, putting 11,000 jobs at risk and with a £571m pension deficit.
The news represents another tale of woe for the beleaguered UK high street. The seemingly unstoppable rise of online retail has fundamentally changed the playing field. High street retailers urgently require new strategies to maintain and win back market share.
Why creating the right retail experience is key
The Mirror identified one of BHS’ key problems early in March. ‘BHS has lost market share to Debenhams and John Lewis,’ it wrote. One fed up worker told the paper: “We’ve seen it coming. A lack of investment has left a lot of stores drab and depressing.”
The truth is plain; for success, the high street needs to offer a better visual and physical experience to compete with online. And among the tools available to do this, lighting is a top contender. The right sustainable lights can help enhance products, create ambience and atmosphere and deliver higher levels of customer satisfaction.
There’s another truth; today’s shoppers don’t have to visit the high street. Shopping can be done at home from the comfort of an armchair.
Therefore, high street retailers must step up, quickly, to enhance the overall experience of shopping and bring customers back. The BHS example proves the fate awaiting those unwilling or unable to do so.
Investment, ROI and spending to accumulate
Plenty of boards argue against additional spend within a toxic retail environment. But actually, investing in beautiful, atmospheric stores is the best way to guard against future collapse and redundancy.
Investing in the finest lighting not only brings customers in, it reduces energy costs too, whilst enhancing the look of the store. Figures suggest a 20% cut in energy costs represents the same bottom line benefit as a 5% increase in sales.
The very best win however, is when higher sales come in as a result of better, energy efficient lights which are actually cheaper to run. This dual opportunity shows why the right investment can be so valuable, adding positives on sales while cutting back cost overheads; a powerful business logic.
“For the survival of the British high street, some radical steps are needed,” explains Bob Hall, Director, Greenlite.
“We do understand that many retailers won’t necessarily want to invest capital, especially after the recent bad news regarding BHS, and while other firms too are struggling. But the ROI on LED lighting is rapid and the benefits can be nigh on instantaneous.
“As the BHS example proves, failure to act and preempt issues can be disastrous. We firmly believe that investing and improving, not cutting back, offer the soundest logic.”
Greenlite has long been convinced that lighting can change the way your customers see you, and within a store, it changes how they shop with you. It makes your showrooms look inviting, or at worst unappealing. Lighting sets the scene, and the very best design makes sure it’s telling the right story about your company.
Finally, it’s key to remember that typical energy savings of over 70% can be made over existing lighting solutions through retrofit lighting technologies.
If there is one thing to learn from the BHS story, it is this; the high street must raise its game. Now is the time to deliver beautiful stores, wonderfully lit, that translate into sales and stability.