Small store owners need to find the perfect technique in lighting their establishments. It is an important aspect that will determine the ultimate success of their business ventures.

Unique Environment

Retail shops, no matter how small, thrive in unique settings. It is considered a merchandising showground made more attractive by good illumination, signage, visual displays, and decors. Of the four elements, lighting is essential in building the appropriate image to ensure it gets the maximum number of customers. It is more than a functional requirement. Lights characterize visual communications between retailers and consumers. Lighting boosts the attractiveness of products and underscores distinct selling attributes. Moreover, it fosters an enjoyable ambiance that matches the retail store’s theme.

Lighting for small stores can shape the purchasing decision of buyers. Techniques like indirect and cove lights (fitted in recesses of ceilings) or wall washing recessed lamps can help lead potential customers through a measured pattern. Meanwhile, accent lights can do several things. These can emphasize colors, shapes, surface, and finish of products. The contrast also produces an order of importance in the merchandising area. This color distinction is crucial to retail lighting, particularly for small spaces. At the same time, illumination makes transactions faster and leads to order at check-out counters which facilitate sales. Yet, retail lighting remains a complicated process. This is why small store owners need to accomplish the following:

  • Implement appropriate lighting methods.
  • Learn the latest technologies in artificial lighting.
  • Combine other visual merchandising tools with illumination.

Fundamental Criteria

Key criteria that establish the kind of lighting in retail facilities are:

  • Value of merchandising
  • Brand promotions
  • Store appearance
  • Safety and convenience of shoppers
  • Acquisition and operating expenditures

Each retail application differs from the other but it will help if the small sellers deal with the following categories backed by modern lighting procedures and technology:

Merchandising is primarily responsible for getting the attention and enticing people to enter the store. It becomes more effective if a person actually buys items from that establishment. Together with brand advertising, the image of stores endorses the retail outlet’s concept from opening to closing. For the safety and comfort of customers, there should be a clear traffic and systematic pattern throughout the shop. These can boost the looks of the store and provides safe exit for consumers and employees. Finally, all retailers must address the required investment and operating costs.

Contribution of Lighting to Sales

The correct lighting contributes a lot to sales. This is one factor that small store owners should always take into consideration. It conditions the minds of walk-ins to purchase by making goods more conspicuous and eye-catching.

Energy-effective illumination makes possible such benefits for the lowest life cycle costs. It facilitates energy-saving as well as reduction of operational and maintenance expenses. It is advisable for these small-scale entrepreneurs to seek professional advice especially if their spending budget is limited. Experts can teach retailers different energy-saving strategies and compliance with energy codes or policies.
Retail lighting systems require the right colors, balance between illuminated interiors and exteriors, and contrast. Eco-friendly means light emitting diode sources for light fixtures and non-toxic paint brands. LED lighting is expensive upfront but these do not utilize a lot of electricity.

Contrast in lighting refers to variation in the luminance of objects distinguishing each one from the other. Luminance refers to the measurement of glowing or bright intensity for every unit area of illumination that travels from one place in a certain direction. Retailers can put together two or several products to achieve contrast. It is also accomplished by segregating available spaces effectively into usable merchandising areas.

No Single Recipe

There is no single prescription for retail lighting. Nonetheless, it will help if new and small business proprietors follow techniques recommended by experts.
A lighting plan or design is meant for small establishments with selling areas of between 500 and 1, 000 square feet.

Basic systems are suitable for discount shops or small stores with high activity or self-service formats. The shelves are usually elevated and closely packed.

Surfaces must be brightly lit and conveys the idea of maximum value to its patrons. On the contrary, big and high-end establishments need plenty of accent lights and low ambient levels to generate contrast and excitement.

Types of Lighting

Ambient retail lighting is also known as general or standardized illumination that utilizes fixtures capable of distributing brightness directly or indirectly but extensively. This technique allows shoppers to see and scrutinize all items. Likewise, it helps store personnel to perform their tasks well and complete sales.

Accent lighting entails use of spot lights because these ensure higher illumination levels in a more focused pattern. The goal is to highlight selected goods with regard to their environment. It creates the worth of selected merchandise by means of contrast and draws attention to the form or shade of each item on display.

Perimeter or Valance lights make vertical surfaces more vivid. These asymmetrical or irregular lights can focus glow on high shelves and product displays. These should be positioned at the border of merchandising areas. By definition, valance lighting means lights obscured by a panel at the intersection of the walls and ceilings. This shield hides the light source from buyers’ views. In retail stores, the valances are normally built on gondolas, shelves or panels. It is also used to illuminate store signage.

Shelf lighting means miniature sources of lights which are attached near the merchandise on display. It is hidden from the vision of customers. These lights must be installed in such a way that they do not harm shoppers or burn the products.


With all these considerations, the next step for small retailers is to start planning their lighting systems so these will match with other visual merchandising techniques.