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10 Tips for lighting retail spaces


Every element used in retail stores play critical roles, and that stays true for lighting too. The lighting in a store influences the shopper’s experience of the store, fulfilling important functions such as providing adequate lighting to move around the store, bringing the customer’s attention to key products and showcasing the product in the best manner. Keeping in mind the important role lighting plays in stores, here are 10 tips to help you select the right lighting for your retail space.

1. Use layering

Layering of lighting is a great tool to bring out the finer details of your store design. Utilise the 4 types of lighting - ambient, task, accent and decorative, to create an interesting space for your customers. You can combine the various types of lighting by mixing track lighting for task and accent lights, and cove and downlights for general lighting to create a sense of contrast and depth in the space.

2. Emphasize focal points

Draw the attention of the customer to key products by using accent lighting to highlight them. Adjust the accent lighting to ensure that it focuses on the best features of the products, while avoiding unsightly shadows. It is also important to not use accent lights for all the products, as highlighting everything will create nothing of importance and only take away the focus.

3. Consider color temperature

The color temperature of the lighting should be dependent on the style of the store and the type of products. Minimalist and modern style stores can use cooler temperatures for maximum effect, for example. The color temperature should also work with the products in the store. Items like wooden furniture look best under warm lighting, while some products like jewelry would need both warm and cool lighting based on the type.

4. Understand CRI

Color Rendering Index or CRI refers to the ability of a light source to show the color in its truest form. Choosing lighting with a high color rendering index ensures that the customers are able to see the product as it is, without it looking different when taken out of the store into the daylight.

5. Check daylight available

With a better understanding of how much daylighting is available in a store during the day, it is possible to avoid lighting unnecessary areas. This is especially useful for window displays and stores with large windows. In cases where there is adequate daylight available in the store, using general lighting in those areas are futile. Separate lighting controls can be provided for these areas, allowing a significant reduction in lighting costs.

6. Use dimmers

Using dimmers allow for better control over the lighting available in the store. Stores that have some natural light can supplement them with dimmed down lights to provide the right amount of lighting. Dimmers can also be used in areas such as pathways, as these will differentiate them while also creating a contrast with the space.

7. Look for energy efficient lighting

Energy efficient lighting is not just good for the environment, but for retail stores too. Energy efficient lights have a reduced energy consumption, which significantly lowers operational costs in the long run.

8. Focus on quality

Look for high quality products when choosing lighting for retail spaces. While high quality lighting may be expensive to purchase, it makes up for it in the long run with better functionality and reduced maintenance. This also saves considerable time and effort and reduces interruption to the workflow of the store.

9. Avoid over lighting

While it is tempting to provide adequate and more general lighting in a store, this can be counterproductive. Overlit spaces make the design and products look washed out, while heat emitting lights may also affect the products adversely. Overlit spaces are also devoid of contrast, and can struggle to hold the attention of customers.

10. Don’t forget workspaces

Checkout areas are spaces that require more lighting. As the employees here carry out functions like reading product tags and collecting payment, lack of suitable lighting here can affect productivity. A mix of task and general lighting is the ideal combination for areas like these.

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