It is possible to affect retail sales with lighting. You just need to learn some clever tricks along the way.

You may be responsible for lighting a shop or for making your exhibition stand glow above the rest. Whatever your responsibility, you need to take into account the science behind lighting and retail design.

Lighting in retail

There is a lot of evidence to support the assertion that a well-designed outlet will maximise sales over those interiors that appear tired and lacklustre. You may not need science and data to reach this conclusion, seeing the link between the quality of the experience with a desire to buy.

With the case for the importance of lighting made, it is time to consider what would be the right investment for your store. You want a boost in sales that will warrant the investment. This return could also come from the energy efficiency of the light you choose, saving on utilities. However, ultimately, your decision making should be focussed on the experience of the customer if you really want a return on the investment.

Keeping the customer on track

You can use dimmed and accent lighting to guide your customer around the retail space. If you have carefully designed a trail around your store that maximises the instinct to buy, then you can use the levels of brightness to guide visitors on this path. You can also do this using different colours of light.

Lighting is measured on a colour spectrum that ranges from cooler hues through to warm. People will naturally be drawn to the cosier areas of your store. Therefore, if you want your crucial stock to move, put them in a visible corner of the store from the door and shower them in warm light.

Represent your brand effectively

It is essential to consider the fixtures when considering this lighting trail. The lighting accessories represent your brand as much as the signage hanging from the shelves and ceilings. Long strip lighting looks sterile and bland and does not welcome your consumer into your space. Try to represent your brand in a more sophisticated way.

You should also consider the type of lighting. Major brands such as Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer have changed over to LED light. This has increased sales in both stores, though the direct connection with the lighting is difficult to make. Yet, experience and research suggest that LED lighting does impact buying behaviour – with research funded by Philips implying that the increase in profit will cover the cost of the adaptations to your store in quick time. LED allows for a dynamic lighting installation that will enable you to adapt the lighting in different areas of the shop.

The tricks of lighting

There are six ways that you can use lighting to impact your sales. You can:

  • Use contrast – lighting some areas brighter and warmer than others to keep the customer interest and increase a sense of desire. A blanket of bright lighting can be oppressive – whereas contrasts can be welcoming.
  • Use colour temperature – warm and cool colours can act in the same way as brightness. Blue-based lights will be cooler and more natural feeling than the yellow-based, warmer but more artificial, light. Blue light encourages browsing, but warmer light suggests intimacy and comfort. You need a balance of both in your store.
  • Distribute light effectively – you need to use the direction of light to guide a customer through a store. The masters of this method of lighting are the furniture store IKEA. If you walk around the showroom, you are left in no doubt the direction of travel – it is even better in the warehouse, as you are guided down the aisles of interest
  • Your window should have the most dramatic lighting – your curb appeal is your strongest asset – a spotlight in the evening light is particularly useful in drawing attention.
  • Use dynamic lighting – using LED lights to dim some lights and make use brighter have been proven to increase conversion rates. A more fluorescent light on lower shelves leads to customers browsing longer on your aisles.
  • Use bright backlighting – but only rarely. Backlighting is dramatic and definitely captures attention. If you do this too much, you risk losing the impact of this powerful lighting effect.

Your brief takeaway

The interior and exterior of your store is your brand. Lighting is a vital part of this branding. Get it right, and you increase sales – it is that simple.