It’s time for our next post in our Lighting Application Series, and this week we’re focusing on the auto dealership industry. Auto dealers have to think about lighting more than most industries, simply because they use a lot of it and it can really drive sales. After all, there’s nothing more alluring than a new car shining like a star under the showroom lights. So let’s explore some of the things dealers can do to get the most from their business’ lighting…
Best Practices for Intelligent Auto Dealership Lighting
At an auto dealership, lighting is used for much more than simple illumination. When used correctly, it can make a sedan sparkle, captivate customers, and encourage car buyers to explore everything in the showroom and beyond. Follow these tips to harness the sales power of light for your dealership:
1. Keep Signs Bright and Fully Lit
As with any establishment, a dull, flickering, or burned-out sign sends the wrong message to potential customers. On the other hand, a vivid, fully-lit sign lets people know you’re conscientious and open for business. LED lights are a great choice for signs, since they are bright and never burn out (only fade over time). Also, they have incredibly long lives and require virtually no maintenance, which can save significant time and money that would be spent on replacing bulbs.
2. Have Brilliant Outdoor Lighting
One of the biggest deciding factors between whether a shopper chooses to go to your dealership or a competitor’s is the level and type of lighting at each business. Customers are naturally drawn to well-lit dealerships where every car is shown in its ideal light and shines like a luxury vehicle. Also, people feel more secure pulling into a place that’s fully illuminated and devoid of uncomfortable dark corners or shadows.
3. Highlight Automobiles with Accent Lights
Draw attention to your top vehicles by highlighting them with strategically placed accent lights. When this light contrasts with the ambient light, automobiles look dazzling and buyers can more readily see the colors and forms of the cars. Accent lights work wonders both outdoors and in showrooms, and you can even use them to “guide” customers around the dealership, as they’ll naturally gravitate towards these points of interest.
4. Don’t Keep Dealership Too Bright or Too Dim
It’s sometimes difficult to strike the balance between having a space that’s harshly bright or unpleasantly dim, and, consequently, many dealers end up having lots that are overly lit in some places and dark in others. However, folks will feel most comfortable if you can keep the lighting uniform throughout the parking lot, while maintaining eye-pleasing ambient light both inside and out. Getting a consultation from a lighting professional can make it easier to find this balance, and it can also save money by ensuring you don’t use more light than needed.
Boost Productivity and Efficiency
In addition to strategizing your light for customers, it’s also important to consider how lighting will affect your workers and your wallet. With those things in mind, here are a few more best practices for intelligent auto dealership lighting:
5. Use Natural-Looking, Bright Light in Service Areas
Employees and technicians in service areas are performing precision work for eight or more hours per day — they need proper lighting to do their best work. This means having natural-looking light that doesn’t cause eyestrain, yet is still capable of illuminating inside vehicles and tight spaces. Making employees comfortable is not only important for its own sake, it also leads to greater productivity and ultimately to better customer satisfaction.
6. Use Control Systems to Automate Processes and Save Energy
Many auto dealerships keep some type of lights on 24 hours a day, and while this is useful for security and for highlighting your vehicles both day and night, it can lead to some rather hefty energy bills. One way to counteract some of these costs is by integrating the lights with a control system that automatically optimizes lights and only uses the minimum amount needed.
For instance, inside the offices, you can use motion or occupancy sensors to ensure lights are always turned out when rooms are unoccupied. Or, you may want to hook showroom and outdoor lights up to a dimmer that automatically turns down the lights by, say 10%, after 10 pm when there are fewer passersby. That way, you still have the security of an adequately lit property, but aren’t wasting energy brightly illuminating your inventory when no one is looking.
Other control system options include timers, web-based wireless controls, and daylight harvesting.
7. Switch to LEDs for Efficient Automobile Lighting
We’ve already mentioned why LEDs are great for signs, but they also work well in nearly every area of an auto dealership. Here’s why:
- Smaller and more attractive than older technologies
- Have long life and are durable
- Emit natural, uniform white light
- Low operating costs
- Offers omni- or uni-directional light (won’t disturb neighbors)
- Highly efficient (switching from metal halides to LEDs can save tens of thousands of dollars in just one year)
- The coloring brings out the finest features of the automobiles
Positive first impressions are vital in any retail business and especially so in the auto industry where competition is fierce. Illumination can give you an advantage by giving potential customers a good feeling about your business and by showing your vehicles in their best possible light. Also, by swapping out old-fashioned bulbs for a modern, energy-efficient variety, like LEDs, you can enjoy optimized lighting (and possibly greater sales) while watching your energy bills plummet.