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lighting design can improve the holiday shopping experience

The holiday season is in full swing, and the National Retail Federation expects total November and December sales (excluding automobiles, gasoline, and restaurants) to reach between $678.75 billion and $682 billion; that means that despite much talk about the death of bricks and mortar, Americans still spend more than $5 in stores for every $1 they spend online (USA Today). 

With shoppers spending extra time and money in retail spaces this holiday season, how can lighting improve their shopping experience and boost your business?

Create a shopper-friendly, festive atmosphere with lighting

Improper lighting design, fixtures and outdated technology can often leave retail spaces with dark corners and poorly lit spaces, deterring customers from further exploring and causing them to miss products. High-activity lighting combats this by covering the entire space with strategically placed lights, eliminating the possibility that customers will miss any of your products due to poor lighting (Shopify). 

LEDs and connected lighting technology open up a new range of opportunities for dynamic lighting in retail environments. LED lighting paired with lighting controls allow store owners and managers to manipulate lighting to match the time of day and even foot-traffic. By grouping luminaires and maximizing sensors for occupancy detection, you can easily increase lighting in high-traffic areas, or dim or turn off the lights in parts of the store that are not in use. 

Selecting a warm or cool temperature for your lighting, depending on the desired outcome, is one way to create an inviting atmosphere in your store. Cool color temperatures such as cool white make areas appear more spacious, whereas warm color temperatures create an impression of smallness and familiarity (Shopify). 

Highlight key products with accent lighting

Accent lighting draws attention to a few specific products in storefronts. Using multiple sources of light, you can create contrast, making it easier to highlight details of individual products. Direct shoppers’ eyes toward specific displays or products by creating shadows around displays and using spotlights to highlight products on important shelves. By using strong contrast sparingly, you can focus on drawing your customers to sales areas, new items or high-ticket products.

Illuminate large displays with ambient lighting or backlighting

Ambient lighting can have a profound impact on a retail space, while backlighting can be used to achieve a softer, more intimate environment.

For wide displays where you want to highlight a large area, instead of pinpointing a single product, try backlighting displays. Backlighting gives customers adequate lighting to navigate shelves and displays, allowing them the ability to shift through the items on each shelf more easily. Also, softer backlighting can be effective at drawing attention to shelves that are lower to the ground and might otherwise be overlooked (Shopify). 

Creating an inviting retail space for customers involves assessing the customer’s environment, objectives and constraints and cultivating a solution through lighting design.