State Governing and Advocacy Association for Contractors, Distributors and Manufacturers of Cleaning and Maintenance Supplies

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Florida Sanitary Supply Association

Royal Palm Beach, Florida 33411

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How Retailers Can Save Energy and Increase Sales…With Your Help

Many retailers are finding that the brighter their store, the better their sales.

To accomplish this, some retailers are adding more light fixtures and new,

brighter, and more powerful light bulbs. As long as the lighting does not

add glare, retailers are finding these brighter stores are proving to be more

inviting for customers, helping to encourage shoppers to shop longer,

influencing purchase decisions, and ultimately resulting in more sales.

The only downside to this strategy is that some retailers are reporting

significant energy cost increases with the new lighting. Because of this,

they are looking for ways to make their stores brighter but while using less


Typically this has been accomplished through what is called reflectivity.

This involves designing lighting systems so that lighting reflects off the

ceiling and walls. This reflectivity can even be measured on a scale of 0,

representing no reflectivity whatsoever, to 100 indicating total light


With more light reflected off of ceilings and walls, overall luminance levels

are increased making the store look brighter and helping to reduce

shadows and dark areas without increasing energy cost. What’s

happening is that the light is essentially bouncing off of walls and ceilings

and flowing in a variety of directions throughout the store.

But retailers are finding there is another surface in their stores they can use

to reflect light and help brighten the space, and that is the floor. According

to Amy Costello with Armstrong Flooring Inc., it has traditionally been

believed that “wall and ceiling reflectivity is more significant than the

luminance of flooring. But research is showing flooring is a very valuable


In fact, making floors more reflective may prove to be a very significant

contributor. Not only can floors improve reflectivity and brighten the store,

the areas that benefit most from this reflectivity are often the lower areas in

a store. And this can prove very significant to both retailers and those

vendors that find their products have been relegated to these lower areas.

For instance, in a grocery store, shelf space, or shall we say good shelf

space, is very valuable real estate. Manufacturers often pay grocers a fee

– known as a slotting fee – for quality shelf space, which is typically in the

middle area of the shelf at comfortable eye range for most shoppers. Too

high, and products can get overlooked. But worse, too low, they are

overlooked even more often. And many times, shoppers report they cannot

even see products on lower shelves due to poor lighting.

This means distributors should encourage their retail customers to install

light-colored floors, even white floors. (Think Target!) And these floors

should be specially designed to reflect light and/or be highly polished.

With this accomplished, many stores even find they can become more

dependent on daylighting to light their stores, resulting in a significant

energy savings. But even where daylighting is not a factor or possible,

lighter, more reflective floors help “create a brighter facility, use less

electricity, and reduce energy costs, saving money for the business,” says


There’s only one catch. Unless the store is new or being totally remodeled,

your retailer customers are unlikely to go out and select a new, more

reflective floor. Distributors have to help customers work with what they

have, and that means encouraging retailers to apply a high-gloss finish to

their floors.

However, and as we know, many retailers are not using a finish on their

floors any longer. Instead, they are choosing to leave them “flat.” But this

flat appearance may, in some cases, be one reason their sales are also


And in order to maintain a high-gloss shine, they need to select floor care

equipment that is cost effective, easy to use, and which will cause minimal

“damage” to the finish. This is important because some traditional

autoscrubbers essentially scrub off the top layer of finish, which can reduce

the shine.

Mopping is not the answer in most retail facilities, if for no other reason

than it takes so long. However, an alternative that is quick and effective is

the use of an “auto vac” system. Using a trolley bucket, fresh cleaning

solution is applied directly to the floor. A pad at the back of the system

provides agitation to loosen soils, and both soils and moisture are then

vacuumed-up, all in the same process.

The result is a cleaner, high-gloss shine that can help improve reflectivity,

increase illumination throughout the store, even in the “bad” real estate

areas at the bottom of shelves, without the need for more light fixtures and

brighter bulbs. Goods on the higher and lower level shelves will get the

attention they deserve, and this attention will likely be verified at the cash


Matt Morrison is communications manager for Kaivac, developers of the

No-Touch® and OmniFlex™ Cleaning Systems. He can be reached

through his company website at

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