Getting the lighting right in your retail store is a fine art. Moody darkness and selective spotlights may be great for atmosphere, but won’t necessarily showcase your products in the most customer-friendly way, even if it works for popular stores such as Hollister. Conversely, keep the lights turned all the way up, or only use one type of bulb across your store, and you may cause ocular fatigue and lose any sense of contrast you could bring to your range of products.
It is difficult to say for certain whether improving your lighting scheme directly leads to an upswing in sales, and several recent studies have proved inconclusive on this front. However, reworking retail lighting for specific areas of your store, or to highlight certain products or shelves, can create contrast and emphasis that will almost certainly draw your customers to the products you want them to see.
Here are three examples of how lighting can greatly enhance your customers’ instore experiences.
Good store lighting helps your customers see themselves in your products
There is nothing worse than buying something which looked perfect instore, only to get it home and realise it doesn’t look as good as you thought. Obviously it isn’t in a store’s best interest to dupe its customers, yet poor lighting on shop floors and in changing rooms is responsible for giving shoppers the wrong impression about their purchases. This is particularly the case when it comes to makeup. Foundation and eyeliner are far easier to apply well in a well-lit space, but as anyone who has tried to do so under fluorescent shop lights will know, good lighting doesn’t always mean bright.
Various brands and companies are trying to approach this conundrum in different ways. MAC have tried to combat this through virtual reality demo mirrors in their stores, which provide an “unprecedented level of realism” in displaying products on customers’ faces in different lighting situations. However, brand experience agency FormRoom note that a bespoke lighting display can not only emphasise products and help people try them on, but provide you with an intelligent approach to how you lay out your store itself.
Lighting can create new possibilities for store design
The main types of lighting used in retail stores are fluorescent and LED lights, with the once-traditional incandescent lights having been phased out for their energy inefficiency. As well as being eco-friendly, LED and fluorescent retail lighting is also extremely bright, which, as Retail Focus notes, can actually “make spaces uncomfortable and…discourage people from staying in a particular location too long”.
However, this retail-specific form of ocular fatigue is easily overcome through the use of accent lighting. The benefits of this method of retail lighting are twofold: firstly, it provides visual contrasts across certain parts of your store, which allows you to guide customers towards the products you want them to focus on. Secondly, it can be incorporated into your overall retail design; if your store is designed in a brash, vibrant way, then your lights can play a part in that, whereas if your designs are more muted, your instore lighting can be similarly subtle.
The right lighting doesn’t just benefit your customers
It isn’t just shoppers who are influenced by your store’s lighting. In fact, if anything, poorly designed retail lighting might have more of a negative impact on your staff, who have to experience it on a daily basis. Although most studies of its impact are focussed on offices, a well-lit store can improve the mood of your workers, which will in turn improve their performance. In turn, happy staff leads to happy customers, which can only have positive consequences for your overall sales.