Connected lighting boosted sales with key customers

A TRIAL of connected lighting at a French hypermarket has led to a dramatic increase in sales from customers who used the app.

The giant E.Leclerc retail store in Langon in southwestern France has reported that revenue rose between 34 per cent and 42 per cent from certain customers who over the last few months wirelessly connected their smartphones to Bluetooth-equipped ceiling lights delivering discounts and information.

Over 800 Zumtobel LED luminaires – equipped with Bluetooth beacons for indoor positioning – transmit information such as product offers and location to customers' phones.

A total of 771 people used the E.Leclerc app that gave them access to the Internet of Things (IoT) lighting system at the 75,000-ft2 outlet.

The 800 LED luminaires are equipped with Bluetooth beacons for indoor positioning to transmit information such as product offers and location to customers' phones.

The customers had agreed to tie the app into their E.Leclerc loyalty schemes, so E.Leclerc can tailor specific messages to individual interests and buying habits. Customers can also request missing products when they're in the store.

One group of customers that E.Leclerc had already categorised as high turnover spent 34 per cent more than in the previous year. Another group, of typically less-frequent buyers, spent 42 per cent more.

E.Leclerc notified 2,260 customers about the opportunity to tap into the system. Of those, just under half — 1,119 — downloaded the app. Of these 1,119, 771 customers actually used it.

E.Leclerc says it’s pleased with the results, not just for the revenue boost but also for the overall improvement in customer engagement, including the indoor positioning system's ability to gather insights on individual customer behaviour.

‘This is a place where our customers can experience a completely new way of shopping,’ store CEO Alain Lafforgue told Lux.

‘Thanks to virtual customer interaction, we’re getting to know our customers and learning more about their individual wishes. With this knowledge, we will be able to increase satisfaction levels and thereby generate greater customer loyalty.’

E.Leclerc chose Bluetooth technology, which uses the radio spectrum, over another technology called visible light communication, which sends data to phones via LED light waves.

While VLC is more accurate than Bluetooth in navigating customers to a particular product, E.Leclerc considered Bluetooth to be accurate enough, especially since navigation was less important in the E.Leclerc project in which many customers generally know the store's layout.

One advantage that Bluetooth has over VLC is that users can keep their phones in their pocket, whereas VLC requires the user to keep the phone pointed at ceiling lights.

The use of Bluetooth, however, raises the question of why retailers such as E.Leclerc should turn to lighting companies rather than IT and networking firms for indoor positioning and customer engagement systems.

Proponents of lighting-based Bluetooth note that the lighting infrastructure is pervasive and thus provides a ready-made and unobtrusive place to put beacons.

On top of that, the beacons can draw from the same power supply that delivers electricity to luminaires, thus avoiding the need to use beacons powered by batteries, which can be problematic.

The supplier of the connected lighting system to the Langon store is Zumtobel.



  • The Lighting for Retail and Hospitality conference takes place alongside the LuxLive 2018 exhibition at ExCeL London on Wednesday 14 November and Thursday 15 November 2018. It's free to retailers. More information HERE.