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Lighting Ideas that Can Help Boost Sales
Lighting plays a significant role in influencing customer mood and focus within a store. Research shows that small changes such as switching the type of LED lighting or light fixtures you use can help to highlight products, ease customer navigation and create a setting that encourages purchases.
Try these lighting ideas to help enhance your retail store.
Match shopping experience to your inventory
Businesses with a wide variety of inventory—such as hardware stores or convenience stores—want to help customers find their items quickly. Businesses with fewer, more high-value wares want to encourage browsing and lingering. Think about the shopping experience you are striving for and assess whether your lights are aiding that goal.
Warmer, cozier lighting entices customers to linger in stores, according to a recent study1 conducted by scientists at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. Try using light-emitting diodes (LEDs) on a dimmer switch to help achieve a feeling of warmth. Convenience-oriented businesses, however, should try cool-toned, bright lighting. LEDs that are labelled as “daylight” can achieve this effect.
Vary your light patterns
Brighter is not always better, according to the Stockholm study. Subtle variations in light color and intensity can create visual interest that draws customers further into a shop—essentially, like directing traffic through the use of subtle cues.
Regularly alternate between a combination of backlit shelves, which cast a broader light over a collection of items, and accent lighting on specific products. This pattern may help invite customers to walk from one section of your store to another. To do this, long ribbons of LED lighting can be unobtrusively installed along the edges of shelving to provide overall illumination; on other shelves, use “gallery lights”—tiny bulbs mounted on flexible arms—to illuminate just a few items on a shelf to help make them pop.
Draw the eye to special items
Just as a painting is created to direct the eye to one or two dominant elements, a retail location can use lighting to direct attention to a couple of important displays. Special products might be particularly worth highlighting, either because they are popular sellers or because they are especially high-value items.
Overhead lights that are directed diagonally toward certain items can help spotlight a product or small collection of products, subtly drawing customers’ attention and letting them know that these items are especially worthy of their notice. High-value items are often best illuminated with underlighting, according to the Association for Retail Environments2. A business can make its most expensive item appear more premium by lighting it from below, the association notes, especially if it’s on a display case that is slightly elevated above its surroundings.
Use fixtures to enhance your brand’s style
Lighting fixtures can also convey messages to enhance your brand and lead to a more inviting shopping experience. Browse lighting showrooms and visit competitors’ stores to generate ideas that may work for your layout.
Consider your business’s style and seek inspiration for how to creatively illustrate it. For example, if you want to evoke a nostalgic, 1950s feel, look through magazines and other media from that period, and compare what you see with the fixtures available to you as you shop. Conversely, you may opt for a signature chandelier as a centerpiece and have more unobtrusive fixtures around the perimeter so as not to distract your shoppers from your products.
Lighting schemes are meant to be subtle, creating a particular experience in your store without being noticeable to the customers who come in. Put some time and attention toward how your lighting changes the environment of your shop, and you may enhance your ability to sell the products you so carefully display.
If you’re considering upgrading your store’s lighting environment, make sure you are looking at the best lighting technologies. For more information, sign up for the free e-book download "How to Get the Best Results from a Lighting or HVAC Project."
- Zumtobel, with the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, “Attention equivalent—a study concerning the effectiveness of specific lighting parameters on the perception and preference of customers in a shop.”
- Association for Retail Environments, “Brilliant Ways to Use Lighting.”
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