The lighting in your store matters. A well planned interior lighting design not only makes it easier for customers to find products in your store, it also helps create a relaxed atmosphere that encourages customers to stay in your store. However, the way to design a perfect store lighting environment is not always obvious. A couple recent lighting studies from Europe give some insight on how you can maximize the impact of your interior retail lighting.
Interior Lighting Studies
The two interior lighting studies were conducted by Prof. Jan Ejhed from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and Dr. Roland Greule from the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. The goal of the studies was to test how people react to different sets of retail lighting. In the first study, 97 subjects were shown three different lighting situations in a virtually displayed shopping setting. The researchers asked the subjects to rate how they felt about the different light settings.
In the second study, the subjects were taken to a variety of store settings including a supermarket and a perfume store. The researchers tested a number of different light factors in the stores including light color, light distribution, light intensity, and dynamic changes in brightness.
As the subjects walked through the stores, the researchers used an eye-tracking camera to measure how the subject’s eye movements reacted to the different lighting conditions. They wanted to see which conditions made the test subjects most comfortable and brought the most attention to merchandise.
Interior Lighting Experiment Results
The results of the two experiments were a bit surprising. Intuitively, it would seem that the key to a good interior lighting design should be brightness, as this makes it easier for customers to see a store’s products.
However, brightness alone wasn’t enough to set the best display lighting. The researchers discovered that contrast was also extremely important for a store’s lighting design. Ideally, a store should have a mix of light and dark areas.
The reason contrast is important is because it helps make customers feel more comfortable in a store. Test subjects reported a higher sense of perception and well-being when placed in an environment that balanced brightness with contrast.
Interior Lighting Design Recommendations
After completing these experiments, the researchers had a few key recommendations for interior lighting designs. First, don’t focus on maximizing brightness in your store. Not only does this waste electricity, it also isn’t that effective. A contrast environment is better. Use moderate ambient for most of the store and pinpoint, high-level accent lighting on the most important merchandise and sections.
Second, ambient and accent lighting both help your store, but in different ways. Diffused ambient lighting helps your customers look around your store and this makes them more comfortable. Accent lighting draws attention to your products and makes them look more attractive. This is another reason why balance in lighting design is so important.
Lastly, researchers found that shining a combination of accent and ambient light on the shelves of your merchandise was better than using only one source of light. When participants saw a combination of the two lights, they reported that they were better able to see merchandise and that the goods looked more attractive.
The bottom line of these two studies: balance in your lighting matters. By setting up the right design lighting, you can make sure your customers are happier and spend more time in your store.
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