In this two-part article, I discuss the importance of proper lighting in a retail business and how it can increase your bottom-line profits if utilised correctly and valuable lighting tips and tricks to ensure that can make all the difference.
Lighting in a retail environment is one, if not the most important aspect of good shop design, and yet it is often the most overlooked elements when fitting out a new shop or refurbishing one, and as such may cost your business dearly.
Light & Like Me
Without effective and well thought out lighting customers may simply walk by your store because either they didn’t notice it in the first place or in a split second the way your store was lit didn’t speak to them. Shops that are not well lit or don’t have that certain ambience may create a disjunct, that is -who you are and what you sell doesn’t match the lighting you have in your store. Customers subconsciously make split second decisions to enter or walk past your store and it is up to you to use everything in your arsenal to make it easier for customers to decide to do business with you.
The Attraction Factor
Just as moths are attracted to a flame, humans instinctively are attracted to light. For instance, next time you go to a shopping centre, pay attention to what stores you turn your head around to look at. The chances are it is those that have a well-lit shopfront that will grab your attention. As humans, it is contrast that attracts us – whether it is a contrast in light levels; a new way of looking at something because it is different to how we usually perceive it; or to a contrast in colour or texture. In other words our minds are hard-wired to pick out differences. This harks back to our cavemen days when picking out the subtle differences meant literally the difference between finding food or becoming food for some thing else. Harking back to our primal instincts, you will also notice that shops that create a dark ‘cave effect’, where the back of the store is dimly lit will not draw customers towards the back and will not encourage circulation and browsing. Would you feel comfortable entering a store that looked ‘dingy’?
You Light Up My Life
Without light you have darkness. And it is how one manipulates this play of light and dark that can create the ambience, the drama and spectacle to attract these human moths to our business flame. It also decides if what you sell is visible enough for your customers to see. A good example of what the difference appropriate lighting can make to a business can be seen if we compare a 7-11 convenience store and a Dusk homewares store.
A 7-11 convenience store is meant for, well, convenience. We may be out and about, maybe filling up the tank with petrol, and want things and in a hurry because we haven’t got time to go to the supermarket. 7-11 stores are very brightly lit. Everything is well signed for you to find items quickly and easily and the strong lighting expedites this experience.
In The Mood
On the other hand, a Dusk store is about creating an emotional experience. These stores have lighting that is very dim that creates a contemplative, unhurried browsing experience. The mood lighting puts us in the ‘mood’ to buy. Surrounded by beautiful scented candles and products and ambient lighting we are made to feel relaxed and this helps to loosen our purse strings and buy. Dusk have mastered the art of great lighting to create an environment that encourages emotional spending.
The Light Stuff
Getting the right type and levels of lighting in your store is crucial to simply get customers to notice that you are there. Then the appropriate lighting throughout will help a customer to make that split second decision to enter or keep walking. Does the lighting reflect who you are and what you are selling? Is it dark and dingy at the back of the store? Will I feel safe to enter? Is the stock well lit?
In Part 2 of Light Up My Life I will give you tips and tricks on how to use the light stuff to help increase your bottom line.