Opinion

LIGHT-BASED EVENTS: NEW SOURCES OF INCOME

Clad in light, a shopping center’s architecture can become the talk of the town! It is a well-known fact that light always attracts crowds. What’s more, when used theatrically, its power of seduction increases significantly. These are the findings of the experts from the Luci Association after studying the economic and cultural benefits of light-based festivals. At a time when shopping centers are upping their game to compete with online sales, the use of new technology, such as interactive platforms, the internet, and smartphones can attract crowds.

BY JOHAN HUGUES

Shopping centers are following the example of town centers, where each light-based event attracts an average of three to four times more visitors than the number of inhabitants (even if major disparities exist), regardless of the chosen scenographic design employed. The return on investment is naturally related to the higher visitor numbers, but also to the size of the shopping area and the range of businesses. In cities organizing light-based events, the spending levels range from €29 in Glasgow to €116 in Gothenburg according to the study carried out by Luci. The latter estimates the overall economic benefits of its Christmas lights at approximately €185 million, split as follows: 18% for restaurants, 17% for shops, 5% for nightlife, and 40% for the purchasing of gifts by tourists.

With this in mind, it can be highly beneficial for shopping centers to transform their traditional decorations into light-based events, including the projection of light onto facades, digital lighting features, and light shows. Whether it is the creation of temporary works, such as a simple tag, a more elaborate piece of art, or the publication of tweets about an interactive Christmas tree, success is instantaneous, particularly among children and young adults. New communication methods from the iGeneration are opening up endless creative possibilities. Everything is driven by these new technologies (smart phones, social networks, etc.). For shopping centers, all of these tools make it possible to attract customers and build loyalty, thereby generating a positive impact in terms of visitor numbers and sales. In an ever more competitive market, this solution is ideal for shopping centers seeking to strengthen their brand image in a playful and interactive manner.

Just as it is for town centers, video-mapping projections onto the facades of shopping centers is a spectacular opportunity. Over the course of several evenings, the outside facades undergo a unique lighting experience. The aim is to give the building’s architecture a sense of movement through the interplay of projected light. Thanks to the use of specific software, shapes are constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed in large-scale video projections matching the chosen location and the center’s marketing strategy. These optical illusions astonish visitors through the apparent deconstruction of something that is nevertheless perfectly static. They can also capture the visitor’s attention by involving him or her in a spectacular virtual narrative when a story is being told.

Up until now, video-mapping has suffered from being seen as a temporary and expensive phenomenon, but Blachere Illumination has developed specially adapted mapping techniques making it possible to produce affordable, permanent installations providing possibilities for standalone, simple, endless use by your marketing department. An interactive lighting event is an interesting alternative. It provides a chance to discover innovative works and designs based on the theme of light that includes interactivity, total immersion in an exciting and attractive sensory environment, and high-performance lighting, all of which are generally key concepts of the program.

In today’s market, the shopping centers that will increase sales and develop a stronger brand are the ones that can find unique ways to attract and entertain crowds. You can gain a competitive edge by using the latest technology to manipulate light and create memorable and exclusive shopping experiences.

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