That doesn’t mean physical stores don’t have built-in advantages. Some consumers prefer to touch an item before buying. Other purchasers want the product immediately. Ingrained habits also work in the favor of traditional retailers, as many people are simply unwilling to transition to online shopping.
Still, the trend is heading in the direction of e-commerce. With companies such as Amazon rolling out same day delivery, consumers have an even greater incentive to shop at home. This means it’s more important than ever to make the in-store experience as enjoyable and immersive as possible. The smart use of LED lighting for retail stores, along with other sensory elements, creates a “destination shopping” experience that can’t be replicated online.
Real Life Brand Building Versus the Internet
The brick and mortar store is often a physical representation of a company’s brand. How consumers feel about this brand is often directly related to the sensory experience inside the store. Elements such as music or lighting can also directly affect consumer behavior in the store, making lighting one of the fundamental decisions any retailer makes.
Clothes retailers such as Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch have drawn attention for their use of ultra-low lighting. The logic behind the lighting is simple: a dim environment more resembles a club than a clothes retailer. A club has a cool, exclusive feel – it’s a place you want to see and a place in which you want to be seen. A destination, in other words. Teenagers and younger adults are claiming a bit of the Abercrombie brand for themselves by shopping in a low-lit, hip environment.
In an era where brand identification is one of the primary ways in which we build our public identity, this kind of connection with the consumer is invaluable.
Using Lighting to Define Your Market
This doesn’t mean ultra-low lighting is beyond criticism. Many consumers, particularly those in an older demographic, have complained that stores with ultra-low lighting are difficult to navigate and make the overall buying experience less pleasant. Of course when a company is targeting an exclusive audience, the use of lighting or loud, contemporary music can act as a kind of sorting mechanism – younger consumers may seek out the store precisely because it isn’t palatable to everyone.
Regardless of individual preference, the clever use of high retail store lighting by Abercrombie and other high end stores is one way retailers should cultivate their customer base – and their brand.
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