How many people does it take to help consumers learn about new light bulbs? Just one showroom, if it’s ready.
“The [energy-efficiency movement] has become a huge opportunity for independent lighting stores,” says Melvyn Kahn, President of Southern California’s Light Bulbs Etc. “There are so many products on the market, and people need help weeding out the good from the bad. One [product category] people are really curious about is LED light bulbs.”
When folks come in to purchase LED bulbs, Light Bulbs Etc. is ready for them, and as a result they’re turning customers’ interest into profits.
“Since the beginning of this year our light bulb sales are up more than 30 percent,“ Kahn says. “Much of that can be attributed to LEDs.”
And they’re making a splash at Cleveland Lighting in Lyndhurst, OH, as well. To make sure they’re prepared for questions about things like light output, color temperature and dimmability, the retailer arms its sales staff with the most up-to-date information on LED technology and products. The retailer relies heavily on its most trusted vendors to bring everyone up to speed.
“We have the resources and the knowledge to engage our customers in the selling process and to educate them about what to look for in LED products,” says Matt Bursky, owner of Cleveland Lighting. “They’re not going to get the same service at a [big box] store.”
“At stores like that, LED light bulbs are simply commodities on a shelf,” Kahn says. “We find that customers are coming to us because we ask questions and talk to them about their needs. They’re making an investment when they buy an LED bulb, which range in price from about $40 to $50, and they trust our expertise.”
But it’s not just lip service. Both Light Bulbs Etc. and Cleveland Lighting enhance face time with knowledgeable staff by incorporating in-store displays that show customers what they’re in for when they choose an LED bulb.
“The key is to show LED bulbs next to other light sources like compact fluorescent, halogen and incandescent,” Bursky says. “You want them to see the difference and to compare them.”
At Light Bulbs Etc., an interactive LED Light Lab features eight identical objects, each illuminated with an LED bulb at a different color temperature. The display is central to understanding the available options customers have with LEDs, Kahn says.
To help its customers get into an LED state of mind, Massachusetts retailer Wolfers Lighting installed an area called The Green Zone in its showrooms in Allston and Waltham.
“We’ve had our Green Zone up and running for a year or two at our Allston location and in our Waltham store for about six months,” says Ginger Nygren, a Certified Lighting Consultant (CLC®) at Wolfers Lighting. “We have customers coming in all the time who are interested in knowing more about LEDs, and the Green Zone is a great frame of reference for them. We have everything in there from LED recessed fixtures to LED replacement bulbs so that our sales staff can help customers visualize the options and discern what product best fits their needs.”
While some consumers go to their local showroom in search of LED light bulbs to replace older lamps, others might need a nudge in the right direction. Lights Bulbs Etc. has that scenario covered, as well.
“When clients come in for non-LED light bulbs and there is an LED option, we always make a point of going through the whole education process,” Kahn says. “In those cases, more than 75 percent are willing to switch over because it makes sense.” — Jennifer Pinto