It is likely that many of the clothing purchases we have made along our lives happened because the lighting set upon them has been beneficial and it has brought out only their advantages. In the area of retail stores and merchandising it is a fact that the lighting is one of the most important aspects that must be taken into consideration in order to increase the number of sales; its mission is to invite and encourage the shoppers come browse through a store, find products they will think are perfect for them and then immediately buy them. In addition to this, an adequate lighting can create a pleasant retail environment, a thing that is truly needed in stores.
Main categories of lighting used in stores
However, there are different types of lighting for similar categories of stores. For instance, for supermarkets, hardware stores and fast food restaurants the “Basic Retail Lighting” is used (mainly with fluorescent lamps) because their purpose is not to attract clients, but to create a “clean” atmosphere and brighten the stores.
The “Intermediate Retail Lighting” is the type who is the most frequent (we find it almost in every store: beauty shops, clothing stores, furniture shops – mainly, the stores which have an average volume of customer activity) because it attracts people (with ambient light) but highlights certain products as well (with accent lighting).
Last but not least, the “Higher End Retail”, the trickiest one to handle, because it is commonly used in luxury stores (jewelry stores, fine clothing, antiques, gifts stores and so on). This type of lighting has to maintain both a classy and a welcoming ambiance, something that is truly difficult to do. In these cases, shoppers need to feel sophisticated and that they belong in those stores.
The 4 fundamental types of lighting used in a clothing store
When opening a clothing store, there are 4 categories of lighting that need to be installed in order for it to be successful and make the clothes, their textiles and colors be the first thing that will grab the attention of the future clientele and even become a memorable part of that store.
- General/Ambient Lighting
Regularly considered as the “general” or the “main” lighting of a store, it is the one who is ubiquitous and will always guarantee that the atmosphere is neither cloudy nor depressing for the clients or for the employees. This kind of lighting has more of a psychological effect because, for instance, once a possible buyer will enter a store and he will only receive positive energies, he will be more willing to make different acquisitions.
Of course, this setting will also help any kind of clothes, regardless the color and the textile, look better in a buyer’s eyes because they will look more brightened. Even a color that is, let’s say, out of trend will be more appealing to someone in this kind of lighting rather than in the natural light.
- Task Lighting
This type of lighting is used more in the parts of a store where the most relevant activities are taking place and where it is indeed needed (store entrance, dressing room, checkout area and customer service desk). From all of these places, the only ones which affect the color of textiles are the lights from the dressing room; clients need to beneficiate of appropriate lighting in order to see how their clothes look like on them.
Here it is really problematic where the lights are positioned and what kind of color they are. A yellow light will make the clothes look paler; this is why white lights are strictly recommended. Furthermore, their position can deteriorate the way colors are perceived; for instance, if a person is trying on a green shirt and the lighting from that dressing room is coming from behind them, the shirt will automatically look darker and it would be extremely difficult for someone to realize if they like that color or not – even more, there is the risk that he or she might not buy it because the lighting does not represent the reality.
- Accent Lighting
The accent lighting is the most important and yet the most difficult type to manage. These are the lights we instantly see when we enter a store because their main purpose is to bring to our attention what is fashionable right now and what it is wanted from us to buy – they are usually set above mannequins that are sitting on pedestals (whether it is inside a store or just in a window display).
It is suggested to use lights that you can change the intensity of with dimmer switches, for example, if we have a red dress, we want to attract people’s attention towards it, but we do not want for that red to be the only visible thing and the other clothes just to be faded away. This is why we need to have the power to modify how influential colors are – for dark and bright colors, the light does not need to be really strong (it will make people feel anxious and stressed), but for pale and neutral color we need a more dominant lighting because those colors need some extra help getting out of the ordinary.
- Decorative Lighting
The decorative lighting is strictly used for inducing a certain refinery and class to a store because it mainly consists of chandeliers or other kinds of accessories that can produce lighting. The only way they affect the color of textiles is by primarily creating a fancy atmosphere and after that, the shopper will have the impression that all the clothes from a store are sophisticated and luxurious. We can usually see it set upon the lateral shelves of a store.
As a matter of fact, the illuminants and the retail environment have a huge effect upon the color of textiles; they might even present things in a different manner that they actually are. Applied correctly, they can create and maintain a large variety of things, such as the atmosphere, clients’ perception, the employees’ attitude and moods and so on.