To improve sales, make sure to design retail store lighting that pleases customers and enhances their sense of well-being. Research and field studies provided by the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany have determined that the main factors in improved retail sales are to supply not more brightness but more lighting contrast and an improvement in customer convenience and comfort.
Several Design Recommendations are Based on These Studies
1. Contrast – Most retail lighting will benefit by offering higher lighting contrasts to attract and hold customer attention by using various types of accent lights and back lighting, which is more important than brightness.
2. Ambient Lighting – General or ambient lighting should employ vertical lighting to guide customers through the store and direct them to merchandise:
- Warehouses, factory outlets, grocery, self-service – benefit by lighting of about 75 or more foot candles (fc).
- Department stores, lifestyle stores – should have 40 to 60 fc plus plenty of accent lighting.
- Specialty and upscale stores with designer fashion and fine jewelry – should use a lot of decorative and accent lighting plus ambient lighting of 20 to 40 fc which promotes intimacy and suggests the personal attention available.
3. Uplighting – Uplighting promotes comfortable uniformity and reduces the contrasts when necessary for an improved viewing of the merchandise:
- An open and airy area benefits by maximum uplighting of 80% to 100%.
- Medium to large areas benefit by uplighting of 40% to 60%.
- In small areas, to provide enough uplighting to emphasis color and texture of merchandise while preventing the ceiling from appearing dark and gloomy, 20% to 40% is recommended.
4. Color – Color is important for conveying emotion and creating illusions:
- Intermediate white and warm white conveys comfort and increases the length of time customers will shop.
- Cool white makes spaces appear larger and emphasizes the sparkle of gems and fine glassware.
5. Shelving Lighting – It is important to draw attention to lower shelves, which are often overlooked:
- Accent lighting or integrated shelf lighting of lower shelves helps.
- Wide-area backlighting enhances merchandise visibility and attractiveness.
6. Window Displays – For window displays, accent lighting and pinpoint lighting—even during the day—help capture attention and draw people into the store.
The Ultimate Goals of Retail Lighting:
Retail lighting should be designed to attract and draw customers into the store; make them feel welcome, safe and secure; enable them to find merchandise easily, assess it, make purchase decisions and conclude the sale efficiently; and draw customers back to your store in the future for another happy shopping experience.
Retailers from motorcycle sellers to grocery sellers should adjust their lighting needs to reach these goals for their target market and do so as economically as possible.
Well-chosen lighting adheres to building standards and energy codes while assisting retailers to save money with energy efficient systems and lamps:
- Switching to LED lighting to recoup the initial investment of replacing out-dated lighting and then provide amazing savings every month on electricity and maintenance.
- Choosing fixtures with interchangeable parts and those that make it easy to change burned-out lamps will lower maintenance costs.
- Using central controls, dimmer switches, timers and photo sensors will result in further savings.
Remember to design retail lighting with an emphasis on contrast over brightness and the incorporation of security and comfort into a pleasing aesthetic pattern. A professional lighting designer can help you with these kinds of decisions.
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