Grocery Stores Expand Online Order Pickup Services

Grocery Store Employee Loads Online Order Items in Parking Lot Pickup Location
Grocery Store Employee Loads Online Order Items in Parking Lot Pickup Location

Grocery stores have adapted swiftly in response to the new normal created by social distancing and safety precautions. Employees and customers in stores are now donning masks and keeping a cautionary physical distance from each other. Fewer people are wanting to shop in person, but they still need groceries. Many retailers have responded to the need for physical distancing while shopping with improvements in curbside and online order pickup services. U.S. online sales of typical grocery store items increased 56% in April 2020, compared to April 2019. To ensure that those online orders could still be fulfilled by local stores, grocery retailers are offering more drive-up and pickup spots in their parking lots. That means their employees are spending more time moving in and out of the store, interacting with customers, and reviewing fine print receipts in the parking lots. The result being that the lighting needs of those parking lot spaces have changed. These changes may be for the short term, or perhaps more likely, prove to be a retailer service that is here to stay.

The Seattle-based Lighting Design Lab, a trusted resource for lighting designers, recommends a horizontal foot-candle range of 0.5 to 3 FC in parking lots, depending on location and activity level. Compare that to the light levels required for warehouse and storage, which might entail reading labels and moving product. It is 10-30 FC, or about 10 times the light levels required in a parking lot. It is imperative that the levels delivered are adequate for the tasks being performed in that space. It is likely that the level of light in the parking lot is fine for the initially intended purpose, but woefully lacking given the new tasks being performed in the space. Verifying purchases, interacting with customers, and reviewing accompanying online order paperwork would be completed more successfully with adequate light.

Like spotlighting a particular product in a retail environment, increased light levels directed at online pickup stalls could serve not only as practical and functional, but as a marketing tool, as well. Retailers literally would be highlighting the services they offer. By more intensely illuminating those areas, traditional shoppers might note a service they had not considered before.

Lighting Designers Explore New Lighting Recommendations for Grocery Store Parking Lots

Recommendations from the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and Lighting Design Lab influence Lumenal Lighting’s design team. We are eager to see whether the IES recommends changes or exceptions for this altered use case. In the meantime, end user customers and employees will likely feel more comfortable in higher light level environments. Grocery stores could achieve increased light levels by replacing outdated, traditional high-intensity discharge (HID) light fixtures with higher output, lower wattage LED upgrades. Alternatively, solar lighting technology could be applied, resulting in little to no increase in energy use costs to clients.

Grocery stores are extending their customer service into their parking lots with online ordering and curbside delivery. Improving the lighting for those designated pickup stalls would make those areas safer and more attractive to customers and employees.

Bobbi McLeod, LC, Lumenal Lighting

Lumenal Lighting’s design team can recommend LED upgrades to existing HID light fixtures or add solar powered lighting to increase light levels strategically, in curbside pickup areas. Better lighting would improve safety and functionality, potentially increasing use of grocery store online ordering and curbside delivery services. Call (425) 481-5001 today to begin improving the safety and appeal of your parking lot with an LED lighting upgrade!


Last Modified: August 1, 2020