A Bright Idea – Halogen and LED Lighting Season

Lighting season is upon us. And the further north one is, the sooner that season comes into play. As we all transition from summer to fall and winter, the need for dependable lighting solutions becomes less of a want and more of a necessity. “It’s dark leaving for work, and it’s dark on the way home. That’s especially true for commuters that live in outlying areas, where superior lighting can mean the difference between hitting an animal or getting home safely,” said Joe Robanske, a sales manager at Keystone Automotive. And with it being prime hunting season in many parts of North America, outdoorsmen require upgraded halogen bulbs or LED lighting kits to get them deep into (and out of) the Holy Motherland.

Let’s Chat Lighting Season Options

The replacement bulb market may be a rather unexciting upgrade in comparison to wheels, tires, suspension, and recovery, but it’s a necessary one nonetheless. Especially during winter lighting season. With 90% of vehicles still under the halo of halogen technology, Sylvania has value-added options like SilverStar Ultra; a product that creates a farther-down-road headlight for improved nighttime driving. “This becomes a nice discussion point because when consumers are asked a question like ‘Do you want to see better or farther down the road when driving?’ they usually answer yes and ask how,” said Brian Noble, Marketing Manager for Sylvania’s North American automotive aftermarket. “At highway speeds, the upgrade equates to about 18’ of additional cushion,” he continued.

Another to consider, HELLA’s HP 2.0 High Performance light bulb kits. “These offer the whitest output available that is DOT compliant and comes in a kit form with gloves, dielectric grease for the connectors, and a HELLA decal. It’s a unique concept, priced extremely competitively, and displays very nicely in a shop planogram. As we move into lighting season, HELLA HP 2.0 kits make it easy for customers to consider affordably upgrading their lighting (even if the current bulbs are still functioning), so they aren’t left with an outage when light is most important,” said Jared McIver, representative of HELLA.


But the latest trend and a product proving very beneficial during lighting season? LED bulbs that emanate light by electronic excitation as opposed to heat generation, resulting in lesser emission of heat; therefore, they help reduce energy consumption and significantly improve overall efficiency. “LED lighting technology is akin to what’s happening in software and computer products; it’s changing constantly and that benefits our customers,” added Brad Bricker, Director of Sales and Marketing at Putco – a lighting category leader with products like SilverLux and SilverLux Pro.

And LED replacement bulb options extend past headlights and taillights, “like mini bulbs for the exterior and interior of the car that replace the yellowish incandescent bulb or amber turn signals. These LEDs will light up faster, last much longer, and should be the last bulbs replaced in those locations for that vehicle,” continued Noble. Moreover, the LED bulb life cycle is closer in line with the lifespan of the vehicle itself and, therefore, an economical upgrade for consumers.

Shops Need to be Prepared, Too

Shops looking to capitalize on lighting season should keep a few things at top of mind. Stocking position is critical. The September time frame is ideal to conduct inventory evaluation and staff training for the next wave of seasonal products, with October serving as go-time. But the sell really begins with self-promotion of the season must-haves. Robanske believes proper indoor and outdoor signage is essential to drawing people in, whether it’s a digital business sign that allows shops to customize their messaging or a banner that’s strategically located near the display areas—preferably both. Like Keystone Category Manager Scott Percival says, bulbs are essentially an impulse buy. Without proper stocking and merchandising, customers will go about their shopping experience without giving bulbs a second thought. Until they drop it in the Amazon cart a few weeks later, that is…

Merchandise for Success

“From a retailer perspective, all seasonal displays and product absolutely need to be arranged in high-traffic areas,” continued Robanske. Don’t just rely on staff to promote the sale, rather think through proper placement as a more organic way to pique consumer interest and prompt further questions. “HELLA offers some plug-and-play displays that feature an assortment of ValueFit products. We currently offer displays for work lamp, light bar, and soon RGB. Nothing sells lights like a live demonstration and our displays give an easy and tidy option to do that in the comfort of your showroom,” added McIver of HELLA.

The Scenario

Even if both lights are still in “OK” working condition right now, the scenario for consumers and the pitch for shop owners becomes, “Would you rather take your chances in the dark abyss of winter, or swap them out now for assurance?” Because the truth is, the quality is going to continue to plummet until eventual failure. Make sure to have a roadside assistance package handy for those customers who opt out—you know, for when they’re pulled over on a pitch-black country road awaiting AAA because of a bulb burnout and zero visibility… just sayin’!
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