Lighting is an essential factor to consider when shopfitting, with different light techniques being used to shape customers’ experiences.
The use of light can impact an entire shopping experience, making it possible to choose lighting which is specific to certain areas of any store. When we think of large-scale retailers or our favourite shops, we automatically picture their lighting. From Apple’s bright and vibrant lighting, to Hollister’s dimly lit and atmospheric displays, each makes a lasting impression and there’s no reason independent retailers shouldn’t benefit from the same techniques.
The first point to consider is which mood or reaction you are aiming to create. Would you like it to be consistent throughout the store, or would you prefer different areas to have varying atmospheres?
Step 1: Types of lighting
When it comes to lighting a store, it’s important to decide on the overall effect you are looking to create and choose lighting to fit. Ambient, accent, decorative and task lighting each bring unique benefits.
Ambient lighting is the overall lighting concept. The most noticeable lighting in any store, this ensures customers have plenty of light to see, having an impact on the atmosphere and making everybody comfortable instore. As an example, a bright lighting fixture in the centre of the store would create ambient lighting.
This technique is used to emphasise specific areas, displays and decor, quickly capturing customers’ attention. Often used in luxury stores to highlight desirable items, accent lighting features a ‘spotlight’ effect, drawing attention to specific products, as opposed to lighting a large area. Accent lighting can be installed behind displays or within cases as a backlight, brightening otherwise dull areas of any store.
Decorative lighting is predominantly installed for aesthetic reasons, aligning with your brand image and making a statement. While it may not add much widespread light, the likes of a floor lamp or set of hanging pendant lights can be the finishing touch to any store. Don’t be afraid to try something new – decorative lighting is designed to be memorable!
Task lighting is exactly what you’d expect… it is lighting which serves a particular purpose. One of the first examples which a customer will see is a store’s sign and entrance area, lit to attract attention and welcome visitors. Task lighting should be fitted above cashier desks, creating plenty of light for staff to do their jobs comfortably, while also helping customers to pay with ease. Changing rooms should also be designed in this way, illuminated to create the best possible experience and make it easy to decide whether to purchase an item.
Step 2: Choose your fixtures
Lighting fixtures can immediately make a statement, with countless options to choose from. Placement plays a large role in what you are able to achieve through your lighting, so bear store layout and desired effects in mind when planning. Whether it’s a unique chandelier, canister designs or entire room lighting, here are just a few fixtures worth exploring:
- Suspended hanging fixtures
- Track lighting
Step 3: Your visual hierarchy
Use strategically placed lights to direct customers’ attention to priority items. Create a contrast to heighten levels of attention in chosen sections, highlighting specific shelves, displays or products. Remember to use contrast sparingly, as using it in excess can destroy its impact. Pinpointing a single product can work well, but if you’re looking to highlight a larger area, try backlighting your display.
Step 4: LED or fluorescent?
Traditionally, retailers have opted for fluorescent lighting instore, however LED has emerged as a cost-effective and more energy efficient alternative. Before deciding, it is important to understand the differences between the two. Typically, fluorescent lights are best suited for ambient lighting, while LED lighting can be used to illuminate targeted areas.
Step 5: Get inspired
Before you update your lighting, visit competitors’ stores for inspiration. Take note of lighting strategies which you think work particularly well and create winning combinations of your favourites.
- Choose lighting to match your brand image
- Make customers’ experiences enjoyable with well-placed lighting
- Backlight larger displays
- Pinpoint specific products
- Side-lit panels can highlight items in shelving
For more pieces on shopfitting and visual merchandising, read Modern Retail’s Guide to Shopfitting