The science of retail store lighting has been given a tremendous boost. European researchers recently conducted two large studies to test how different lighting affects customers. The researchers conducted surveys, set up different light environments in labs, and monitored customers in a variety of store settings.
These studies led to some interesting results that can have an immediate benefit for your store’s lighting designs. By taking advantage of these latest findings on ideal retail lighting, you can create a more pleasant and more effective atmosphere for your customers.
Contrast Lighting for Retail Stores
The most important finding from these experiments was the importance of contrast in store lighting. Customers reacted most positively to lighting designs that had a combination of light and dark areas. When a store had contrast lighting, customers were still able to clearly see merchandise but also felt more comfortable in the store.
To get this sense of contrast in your store, you should use a combination of ambient and accent lighting. Stores often have a tendency to use too much ambient lighting. The logic behind this is that a bright store environment makes it easier for customers to see everything, so it must be the most effective.
However, participants in these studies found stores that were too bright made them uncomfortable. By making your ambient lighting too bright, not only do you waste power, you are also not creating the best lighting environment.
It is better to only use a moderate level of ambient lighting around the store. Enough should be used to light up the store, but there should still be some dark sections. On your important products and sections, you should then use bright, accent lighting. This will help focus customer attention on the areas you want while making your general store atmosphere more pleasant.
Color Lighting in Retail
The color of store lighting also influenced how the test subjects felt. Cool color light fixtures made stores seem more spacious while warm color light fixtures made stores seem smaller and more familiar. You should pick light fixture colors that create the atmosphere you want your store to convey. Intermediate color lighting also increased the amount of time customers spent in the store, so this is the best choice for your store’s general lighting.
Researchers also found that customers reacted positively when a store had a combination of different light colors in its lighting design. You should try to vary the colors in your store’s general and vertical lighting.
Gender Lighting Designs
The experiment participants also reacted differently based on their gender. Men tended to focus more on the broad overview of a store. They preferred a store with more ambient lighting and less accent lighting.
Women were more focused on product details, so they preferred stronger accent lighting. If men and women visit your store at different points during the day, varying your light design can make the atmosphere more effective.
Special Area Lighting Designs
Lastly, the researchers had a few recommendations for certain parts of your store. Your shop window lighting should change depending on the time of day. When it is light outside, you should use strong accent lighting on the window merchandise so it attracts more attention. At night, it is easier for your window to attract attention so you can get away with using lower power, ambient lighting.
You also need to pay special attention to the lighting on your shelves. The test participants had the best reaction when shelf merchandise had a combination of accent and ambient lighting. This made the products easier to see plus more attractive.
Test participants also paid the least amount attention to low shelves. You can boost sales by using bright accent light fixtures on lower shelves so customers pay attention to all your merchandise.
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