Retail industry has evolved from selling a product to creating an experience. Along with fast paced growth and modernization, retail formats have gone through considerable evolution, in which lighting plays a crucial role in creating an overall in-store effect, and providing a pleasant shopping experience.
When customers enter a store, the immediate impression they get decides the duration of their shopping time in that store. Retailers today are keeping a close track of their customers' expectations, demands, likes and dislikes. Their shopfits, and in store arrangements are revised in tune with customer preferences. New retail concepts now emerge from actual customer interface. Lighting helps in creating an image for the store, grab the customer's attention, and make the products visible, highlighted, and attractive. Appropriate choice of lighting arrangements can be a crucial factor for enhancing retail sales.
Types of Lighting:
Ambient Lighting: This method uses light fixtures and distributes light widely. The customer will be able to view and examine the merchandise in a right way.
Accent Lighting: This lighting is used to provide an accentuated pattern to relate the objects with their surroundings. It highlights specific products, or shape through contrast lighting, texture or color methods. This type of lighting reinforces design aesthetics, and creates a dramatic emphasis with a focused light source. It makes
illumination precise, and with higher intensity so that the highlighted product looks brighter than its surroundings.
Shelf Lighting: Miniature lighting sources are used very close to the products being displayed in a shelf. This light should be brighter than the surroundings. Lighting methods must be carefully selected, so that glare is not created obstructing the customer from viewing the article.
Valance or Window Lighting: Windows in the retail stores attract shoppers and lures them into the store. It allures the passersby with dramatic effects using uniform saturated illumination. While considering this type of lighting the retailer should consider factors such as merchandise type, strategy, location of the window, day or night use, open or closed configuration at the background, flexibility requirements, size and location of graphics.
Perimeter Lighting: This method lights the surrounding surfaces of the retail store. Asymmetrical fixtures are used to direct light on tall shelves and displays located at the perimeter of the store. This draws customers from the main aisles into the merchandising space. It adds visibility and visual impact to the merchandise displayed on the walls, and creates a pleasing environment.
The lighting environment must be aesthetically pleasing, complementing the architecture, and merchandise, fulfilling the primary visual requirements. They are useful in sharpening the profile of the retail brand. A high degree of professionalism and technical knowhow is required to create an economical and effective lighting arrangement.
Lighting in big shopping malls can be very challenging. Lighting effects needs different applications in various parts of the store. The entrance of the store is the face of the store, and therefore needs special lighting effects to promote sales. Accentuated lighting increases the product attractiveness, while filters ensure warm lighting situation. Rear wall merchandise can be used to attract the customers deep into the store. Cash counter needs individualized lighting as it should not create glare.
While planning for lighting, a retailer must consider key factors such as merchandise to be displayed, creating a right ambience, inducing customer confidence, and most important, coming up with a lighting arrangement that would not burn the retailers pocket. With the current increase in power costs, appropriate choice of energy efficient lighting must be used for saving energy, and keeping the operating costs, and maintenance in control at the same time. Energy efficient lighting puts products in the best focus, maximizes customer interest and sales, while minimizing the operating costs.
Retail formats are the key touch point of a brand. A good lighting system will catch the customers eye, draw them into the store, and keep them there. It provides an overall motivation to the shopper to make a purchase decision.
1) Images Retail, September 2011