The fundamental rule of lighting in retail is to attract shoppers and compel them to make a purchase. Lights also allow people to read signs, labels, price tags, and move comfortably within the selling area. Luminosity is one factor that will determine if consumers will continue to patronize a certain establishment.

For small or start-up business persons, it is important to understand the intricacies, techniques and costs of retail lighting.

Luminaire Lights

General lighting for stores with limited spending budget may be achieved by using luminaire lights. In broad terms, luminaire refers to a comprehensive lighting unit that consists of lamps and accessories capable of distributing the light to a wider space. For shops with narrow spaces, luminaires can mean simple fluorescent lamps or very bright halide bulbs attached to recessed or lower level structures. Its basic purpose is to generate uniform or consistent brightness on surfaces without resulting in any unnecessary shimmer.

This kind of lighting should be integrated with the establishment’s architecture. It has to be consistent with the store’s layout and theme. In this case, recessed down lights, suspended up lights or cove lighting are more advisable instead of regular lamps. The recessed down light is a fixture built into the ceiling’s hollow aperture. Cove lighting is indirect illumination installed in shelves, alcoves or valences. It directs the radiance towards ceilings and down to the adjoining panels.

Adjustment of Lighting Design

One of the fastest and most inexpensive techniques in enhancing the looks of small stores is to change old and used up light bulbs. These bulbs emit a yellow and brownish light which is not good for the entire facility. It should be a bright and yellow-white illumination. The light must be similar to malls even if the floor area is very small. With this effect, consumers are able to have a good look at the merchandise for sale without difficulty.

Unfortunately, a lot of small retailers fail to see the value that lighting brings. The store is the main vehicle for communicating brands to customers. It is therefore practical to invest in illumination techniques such as track and spot lighting.

For those who want long-term savings, one option is the use of Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lamps which use 75 percent less energy and have a life span 25 times longer compared to the ordinary incandescent lamps. LED lighting is a budding trend that continues to become acceptable to retailers because of the advantages. LED ensures sizeable energy savings as against the usual lighting sources. It is capable of providing the desired vividness, color quality and long lifetime unlike its counterparts.

Upgraded Lighting

Interior designers usually advise retail establishments to upgrade their lighting systems to freshen up their stores’ attractiveness no matter how small space is. Improved luminance is a quick and impressive way of making changes to the outlet. This can be accomplished using LED fixtures or Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL).

Ordinary incandescent bulbs use up considerable energy (80 percent) to generate heat and only 20 percent to produce light. This is the opposite for LED bulbs. The result is small shops are lighted brightly for a small portion of the cost.

What are the upsides?

  • Savings in Electricity – The store owner can save by purchasing low-wattage LED lamps or CFL so he or she can recover capital outlay for new lights from two up to three years. There can also be significant savings in electrical bills.
  • Controlled Illumination – It is possible to save money and time by setting up accessories such as light sensors, dimmers, timers, and control panels for easy changes.
  • Appropriate Lighting – Select lighting based on trickle of luminosity from fixtures; reflection and absorption of brightness from surfaces; separation of merchandise from the background; and, focusing attention on highlighted items and special offers. It is also worth taking advantage of captivating store features both inside and outside.

Considerations in Illumination

Lighting for small outlets is more or less a balance between general, display and accent. This balance will be dependent on the profile of the establishment. Low-budget stores require no display or accent lights although the luminance must range from 500 to 1, 000 LX or LUX. This refers to the SI base unit of luminosity.

Lights must emphasize the different goods. The approach is different for big stores like supermarkets wherein focus is on surfaces of product shelves or ledges. Luminance must be uniform or even. The minimum or common luminosity should be a minimum of 0.7 which can be attained by way of general lighting. Overall luminance is reduced by design if accent and display lights are used.

Design and Lighting

At this age, design and lighting in retail should go together. Competition in this industry becomes tougher day by day. Henceforth, small and large retailers alike need to compete on all levels. They have to consider all elements of branding which include graphics, lighting and audio visual factors.

Illumination impacts the mood of consumers and at least 80% of sensory information the human brain gets comes from the person’s eyes. Lights draw attention to architecture as well as merchandise quality and forms virtual spaces. The customer feels, thinks about and eventually decides whether to buy one product or not.

There has been extensive advancement in lighting design through the years with the development of innovative technologies like the LED concept. LED leads to better results along with new challenges. This is what small store owners must be prepared for.