Department stores remain one of the most trusted retail outlets for customers looking for a wide variety of products competitively priced in an environment enhanced by a department store lighting style that makes shopping a happy experience.
Department stores traditionally use medium high ambient, or general, light levels.Fun accent lights,which draw attention to featured products and good task lighting,enhance fitting rooms and cashier stations. Shoppers are looking for more than products – they are looking for solutions, and the smart retailer knows how to respond.
Good Lighting is a Key Element in Communicating with the Customer
Lighting as a form of visual communication between a trusted, retail department store and its customers relies on tested, reliable protocols. To create a comfortable shopping experience, the store must not be too bright, too dark, have too many or too few accent lights, too little contrast, too much glare or too many shiny surfaces.
- Ambient Lighting (the general lighting) – should be uniform, warm white, diffused, with medium high brightness and intensity. Recessed ceiling lights, perimeter and valance lighting, as well as some and up and down lamps and soft shadows add to the effectiveness of the ambient lighting, which serves as a backdrop to the accent lighting and the merchandise itself.
- Accent Lighting – to catch the customer’s eye, the brightness should be, in general, 5:1; that is, five times brighter than the general lighting, or 10:1 for key display areas. This should be increased to 15:1 to 30:1 to add extra glitter and sparkle to jewelry and crystal. The light should be cool, white light of high intensity with lots of contrast: spot lights, directional, narrow beams and recessed lights.
- Task Lighting – bright, uniform lighting is needed at cashier and sales locations; light should be warm and bright in fitting rooms; and outdoor and safety lighting should be cool, bright, diffused and reliable.
Color Influences the Shopping Experience
It is very important for the consumer to be able to properly evaluate the color, design, texture and quality of the merchandise before making a purchase decision, and the “color” of the lighting is definitely a factor. When choosing retail lighting to meet specific needs, both the Color Rendering Index (CRI) and the Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) must be considered:
- The CRI measures the ability of the light to allow the true color of the merchandise to be seen. The closer it is to 100, the more natural the colors appear.
- The CCT is the lamp’s color temperature and measured in Kelvin (K). A high K (4,000K) means it is a cool light; a low K (3,000K) means it is warm.
Warm lighting enhances the appearance of such items as clothing and linens. Warm light also makes spaces feel smaller, more natural, comfortable, intimate, safe and inviting.Cool lighting enhances the appearance of items made of metal, such as hardware. Cool light also makes an area appear more spacious and sterile.
Colored lights can also be used effectively to create atmosphere. For example, purple light is associated with luxury, and blue light with trust.
Buying Decisions are Made Easier by Specific Lighting Choices
As a marketing tool, well-chosen department store lighting helps shoppers make purchase decisions.
Creative accentlightingin window displays attract attention, and well-lit, inviting entrance areas draw in customers.Inside, suitable lightingallows customers to quickly recognize products,evaluate merchandise and read price tags, care tags and assembly instructions.
Good ambient lighting makes customers comfortable enough to spend more time shopping; well-chosen accent lights draw attention to featured merchandise and products.Warm lights in fitting rooms enhance skin tones, and lighting on both sides of mirrorsprevent unattractive glares and shadows.
Easy to find sales and cashierareas with good lighting makes business transactions easy and agreeable.
Expertdepartment store lighting provides much more than illumination. It alsoenhances the store image, creates a happy shopping experience and helpscustomersmake purchase decisions. Lighting is a key design element that the department store retailer can use to his advantage and to the advantage of his customers.
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