How lighting enhances the retail experience

Mapping an experience
Retailers employ different tactics at each stage of a customer’s journey. This journey starts with outdoor window displays to attract foot traffic that bring customers to strategic displays inside.

Call it directional lighting. It’s a carefully detailed map of lighter and darker, sometimes multicolored areas that deliberately lead customers to more desired areas such as higher-end products, sales, new product lines and promotions. This lighting strategy aids in generating impulse purchases.

Setting the mood
Light also shapes how customers feel — consciously and subconsciously — about a store, product or overall retail experience. Many components such as brightness, color rendering, temperature and fixtures will impact a shopper’s mood.

The warmth or coolness of a light’s temperature also plays a considerable role. Cool white light makes stores appear spacious, while warmer color temperatures feel friendlier— creating the impression of smallness and familiarity.
Lighting can influence a shopper’s pace. Brighter lights promote energy and positivity; thus, they tend to speed up the shopping experience. Dim light, on the other hand, promotes relaxation and calmness to slow down the pace.
The type, color and brightness of the light retailers choose can depend on several factors, none more prominent than a store’s product lineup, targeted audience and perhaps the time of day.

A better visual
Merchandise looks very different under different light sources. The right lighting can make colors appear richer, products pop and patterns dazzle. Under the wrong light, these same products look dull.

Showing products in the best possible light, at the right angle, and to render the right color is a make-or-break requirement. Nuanced differences in color will affect the stature of a brand, including the perceived level of luxury, value and quality.

Retailers take note
Research suggests that a well-designed, up-to-date store sees more return visits and higher sales than those with tired interiors. This means investing in the right lighting for your store pays off in the long-run.

In the past, stores relied broadly on fluorescent lights to illuminate their areas. Today, more and more retailers have installed high-tech, tunable LED lighting systems and controls, which are environmentally friendlier, offer the best color rendering capabilities, last longer and require significantly less maintenance. Paired with higher sales and more customers, the right lighting system can yield greater ROI.

With online and dollar store competition gaining more market share, supermarkets are spending more time and capital on their perimeters to keep shoppers and attract new ones. Upgraded lighting systems have been installed to better illuminate high-margin departments like produce, meats, seafood and flowers. Naturally red meats look like tonight’s dinner, while the vegetables appear greener and crisper. It’s an eye-popping, mouthwatering experience that shopping with a keyboard cannot duplicate.