Lighting showrooms can entice customers with digital signage
April 14, 2009 - 12:00pm

lighting showrooms
Hartford, CT's Restoration Lighting Gallery differentiates itself from its big box competitors by advertising its custom services with in-store digital signage.

Getting customers into lighting showrooms is hard, but keeping them there can be even harder. The store gets busy during the Saturday rush, your salesforce gets spread thin, and inevitably, a sale or two slips through the cracks. It’s a problem all lighting showrooms face, and it’s one Connecticut Lighting Centers is tackling head on.

A few years ago, the Hartford-based company installed digital signage in its specialty lighting boutique, Restoration Lighting Gallery.  

“It’s that silent salesperson who is always giving that extra push where we want to give it,” says David Director, owner and President of Connecticut Lighting.

The showroom’s three digital signs -- a 42-inch screen behind the checkout counter and smaller 22-inch screens in each of the two wings -- host a looped sequence of 10 to 15 minutes’ worth of images, highlighting everything from the lighting showroom’s sister locations and new products to design ideas and the scope of repair services offered by the store.

“I can’t tell you the number of times people are waiting in line and they look at that screen and say ‘I didn’t know you did that’ and will come back with a lamp they need rewired or cleaned,” store manager Mark Okun says. “When you’re in this business, you take things for granted. You assume people understand what you do, but they don’t always. People don’t realize that you can take their favorite wine bottle and turn it into a lamp, for example.”

On more than one occasion, the signs have led to larger-scale jobs. Okun recalls a recent instance in which a customer was in the store having a lamp repaired. When she learned from the digital signs that the lighting showroom could also restore the lighting in the church where she worked, she hired them to complete that job, as well.

The digital signs at Restoration Lighting have been so successful, Director is in the process of installing eight of them in his Connecticut Lighting Centers in Hartford and Southington. At these lighting showrooms the signs will serve a slightly different purpose. Instead of advertising repair and restoration services, they’ll promote the newest lighting introductions, straight from the tradeshows, before the styles even hit the salesfloor.

As lucrative as the screens have become for Connecticut Lighting, their introduction has resulted in a few lessons learned. For one thing, variation is crucial.

“We’ve found we need to switch the images pretty consistently,” Okun says. “We change them [every] three to four weeks, on average. Some images are going to run consistently; some we change more often. You can’t let them get stale for your frequent customers.”

The team at Restoration Lighting has also learned the merits of calculated screen placement.

“You have to put [the signs] in strategic areas,” Director says. “They should be located where people can congregate and not be in the way of product. We [previously] had them in front of a display, and it was causing traffic-flow problems.”

One thing that has never been an issue, however, is cost. According to Director, lighting showrooms can install digital signage with an investment of about $5,000. Connecticut Lighting outsourced the initial set-up but quickly graduated to changing the images in-house. A team of “non-tech” employees can take a signage idea from concept to screen in under an hour.

“The signs have been a 100-percent success,” Director says. “The people who come into lighting stores are there for a reason. They’re not killing time; they’re looking for something specific, something that the big box stores don’t offer them. The signs help us educate our customers about what we offer, what we do and how we do it. If it’s a Saturday and everything is busy, people could come in, look around quickly, not see what they want and sneak out the door. The signs counteract that a little bit. People stop and look at them and ask us questions. The signs keep customers in the store; they bring us business.”

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