Quick things every retailer should consider to put products in their best light.
Store lighting is so much more than overhead fluorescent lighting. As a retailer, I know that proper lighting design can make all the difference to a store’s success – it can make or break a sale. Not only does great accent lighting help guide customers through your store, it’s been known to increase the average spend per customer. Lux Review reports per customer lifts of 2% to 12% in this article.
Like store design, lighting shouldn’t just be appropriate, it should be interesting – as part of the overall in-store experience, it absolutely makes sense that lighting has an impact on sales and repeat customer visits. That means lighting is never an out-of-the-box, one-size-fits-all solution. Your lighting needs are unique to your type of store, your business goals, and the merchandise being displayed.
Accent lighting design refers to planning your focal lighting around your store layout and directing customers to key merchandise, and should be considered part of a larger in-store strategy for your retail business and your overall brand impact. In this post, I’ll cover key considerations and approaches you should think about when planning accent lighting for your store.
Lighting shelves is key to merchandising
When it comes to driving sales, it’s absolutely essential that merchandisers take store lighting into account. Without accent lighting to guide customers’ eyes to key products, browsing your store would be like reading this article if it was formatted as a giant block of text. Not so appealing, right?
That’s why using only ambient lighting, or just one type of lighting in your store hurts your efforts to move your merchandise. Through contrast and the use of “zones” as mentioned, accent lights provide the right “layering” to make individual products look their best and draw customers’ attention where you need it to go.
Proper shelf lighting is essential to achieving this “layering” effect. Specialty shelf lighting allows you to add dynamic and functional lighting to your existing shelf systems. When searching for the right showcase, you need to find a case that will not only protect the value of your product, but also display it in the very best possible light. No matter the sector, from jewelry to high-end apparel – even the emerging cannabis retail market – the right display case will add to the environment, without being a distraction.
How to set the mood
In our first lighting topic, we talked about the importance of colour temperature to your brand and overall lighting strategy. The right accent lighting should be on-brand for your retail category, store atmosphere, and even your location.
For instance, vintage light fixtures work well for fashion and hospitality with their unique vibe and sense of warmth. Decorative lights create a more home-like, intimate feel. For the opposite effect, recessed, track lighting, or suspended fixtures help create more of a professional atmosphere, with cooler colour temperatures that promote a feeling of alertness and calm.
Why you need lighting “zones”
Lighting in “zones” can create multiple dynamic spaces to make your stores more of a destination. Once you’ve established a general light level to ensure your space is well-lit, you can create the right ratio of overall light to well-focused accent light.
Using a variety of accent lighting fixtures isn’t just on-brand, it also allows you to place lighting on different levels to add interest to your space – from the ceiling, specialty lighting built into furniture or display cases, and decorative fixtures like chandeliers or dome lighting.
Consider the needs of your space
One way lighting is closely tied to space planning is when you think about what your customers see at eye-level as well as above and below. Keep sightlines in mind so your lighting does its job to highlight key merchandise.
Lighting is about not only controlling light, but also controlling shadows. Lighting up walls and ceilings can make your store appear larger and more inviting, and help products stay well-lit. This is a must for big-box retail stores, where inadequate lighting creates shadows in corners and up on high ceilings, which can make shoppers feel like they’re inside a gloomy, cavernous space.
If your store has walls of windows, consider how your lighting needs change from day to night – ensuring that you aren’t overlighting on bright sunny days, or underlighting after sunset. In shop windows, use pinpoint accenting to emphasise perceived contrasts. In the evening and when there is little daylight, low illumination might be more appropriate so your space isn’t too bright (it’s definitely not conducive to a romantic dinner!)
Understand the benefits of contrast
High-contrast retail lighting is as important as using spotlights on a stage, heightening your customers’ attention to its fullest. It might sound like too much, but a contrast level of 5 to 10 times the ambient light level is actually the most effective at creating dramatic and visually interesting displays that will catch the eyes of passersby.
Strategically place your lights to point where your customers’ eyes should go. To highlight key products, create shadows around displays and fix those all-important spotlights on important shelves (track lighting works well for this.)
Here’s where you should be mindful of levels and sightlines, however. Don’t place bright lights where they could shine in customer’s eyes, which could annoy them and increase their chances of leaving empty-handed.
Remember: test accent lighting before you buy!
All this advice is more easily taken when planning new construction projects, but if you’re re-thinking your lighting strategy in your existing store, it’s worthwhile to consider the above guidelines to upgrade your accent lighting before you rush off to the nearest store.
I absolutely recommend that before you purchase new lighting fixtures to mock up how they would work in your space. We can help you test different lighting strategies in your own store so you make the right choice for your needs and budget. Give me a call at 905-264-0917 or contact us.