The Light-Space-Design Summit taking place in Australia, next year in 2019, is the one and only event of the region that is going to discuss the latest trends in retail lighting. The event is all about the wonders lighting, space and design can do when they come together in the most effective and sustainable manner. While the event will have experts from different parts of the world to talk about best lighting practices in residential space, public place, hospitality sector and more, there will be an exclusive speech on retail lighting by Adam de Guara, Design Director of Glowing Structures. How lighting can illuminate brands and refine customer experience? Can effective lighting designs attract customers and boost sales? Does sustainable lighting have a role to play in retail stores? There is a pool of interesting facts that will be unveiled at the event with a glimpse of it beginning from here.
How can we expect a retail lighting to be? An effective lighting should provide adequate lighting for signage and create an inviting environment for the customer without much interference. The retail space should be illuminated in such a way that it enables the customer to evaluate the quality, colour and utility of products. It should actually act like a guide that directs customers to popular products they may be looking for - in the most appealing manner.
There are three types of retail lighting including ambient lighting that refers to a store’s complete lighting concept; accent lighting that refers to spotlight kind of lighting that attracts customers towards specific products and high-activity lighting that illuminates every corner of the store just to ensure that customers don’t miss any of the products.
So, in general, a retail space will benefit from lighting by incorporating a blend of lighting sources that makes the showroom and the products stand out. From the time a customer looks at the front window display that attracts them to enter the store to the eventual purchase, a well-designed lighting can influence customer behaviour and perceptions that lead to a sale.
Lighting is one of the most significant factors that retail designers need to consider when they are putting their effort in creating a comfortable environment for the customers. While lighting concept for retail space is complex and fascinating, many companies are investing in research to find out the ideal lighting conditions that can boost sales.
One research was conducted by the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm that observed the impact of lighting on purchasing behaviour. The subjects were placed in a shopping environment with different lighting conditions. The study tracked the eye movements of the subjects as they walked through a virtual store and observed how the subjects looked at a product under different lighting conditions. Based on the observations, the study was able to conclude with some remarkably interesting facts which include:
Our traditional way of lighting retail stores is making the space as bright as possible so the products are easily visible. But the study found out that bright light is not very effective. The bright light does not help in increasing sales as well as the time a customer spends in a store. In fact, it is a waste of electricity. Instead, going with the contrasting lights, especially using a blend of light and dark areas is the answer to drawing a customer’s attention.
Contrasting lights tend to show off certain products and as per the study contrasted lighting enhances customer’s perception and makes them feel more comfortable. It plays a vital role in influencing the emotional state and creating a soothing atmosphere.
A combination of moderate ambient lighting and accurate accent lighting can help retailers visually engaging the customers with a specific product. The research suggests that this kind of lighting design performs better than a single source of light as it enables customers to select products from the background noise.
The colour of the light plays an important role in affecting the emotional state of the customers. The study found out that cool white lights make areas appear more spacious while warmer colours add to the characteristics of familiarity or nostalgia and intimacy. So retailers who have small store can make their place appear larger by installing cool white lights. But in the broader context, the study found that an intermediate to warm white light will enhance the safety and comfort level for the customers. This will directly result in more time spent in a store eventually increasing sales.
Naturally, customers tend to get attracted towards products that are in the immediate eye-line rather than the products that are in the lower shelves. Hence, an effective use of accent lighting on lower shelves can highlight those products. But for those who want to boost their sales should combine shelf backlighting with accent lights to have a dramatic effect. The retail stores that are aiming at achieving such an effect should look at integrated lighting options that enhance the attractiveness of products on all the shelves.
The interesting facts revealed by the study are general observations and may not suit all types of retail spaces. Essentially, the process of using the capabilities of light depends on the design. Every retail store requires a custom-made design that is ideal for a specific application.
For example, a big hardware store will need bright light throughout the store with minimal application of accent lighting as here the customers aren’t there to browse but to look for a specific product they need. On the contrary, shoe showrooms can have the best benefits from the warm white background lighting combined with accent lights and backlights on shelves which will attract the customers towards the products and increase the time they spend in the store.
The selection of lights and their design largely depends on the kind of products being displayed in a retail store and the desired emotional effects. Hence, lighting designs and especially sustainable lighting designs for retail space requires careful consideration.
Lighting in retail stores has an indirect impact on the brand identity and how people perceive it. From the entrance of the showroom to the changing rooms, lighting designers need to consider different lighting strategy for each area.
Although using lighting designs that refine customer experience and increase sales is one of the main objectives, eco-friendly lighting cannot be forgotten. As smart cities are moving towards achieving their sustainability goals, sustainable lighting designs are crucial. As we said this was just a glimpse of how lighting can improve the retail space, more on this and beyond on sustainable lighting designs in retail will be one of the hot topics at the Space-Lighting-Design Summit 2019 in Australia.
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