Retail Store Lighting Guide

Retail Store Lighting Guide

Whether you’re selling fancy soaps or the latest fashions, having the right lighting can have a big impact on your customers’ shopping experience. Don’t let an over-illuminated or dim shop drag down your sales. We’ll help you decide how to and how much lighting your store needs.

Benefits of LED Lighting for Stores

While the upfront cost is a major factor when choosing what to buy, long-term energy and replacement costs are also important. Investing in LED lighting instead of more traditional lighting, will typically cost you less in the long run since LED light bulbs and fixtures consume less power and can last years longer. When buying your LED bulbs, be sure to buy them by the batch. While the technology has come a long way in recent years, there can be some inconsistencies in the color temperature and tone, so buying in bulk will better ensure a consistent white light throughout your store. LEDs are also a great way to cut down the heat emitted from light fixtures. Hotter bulbs like halogens and incandescent can make customers feel uncomfortable standing under them and cause the color of products to fade. Make sure the lighting you choose has a high color rendering index (CRI) of at least 90, so colors are portrayed accurately.

Dimmer switches are another sound investment since they let you better control light output in your store. Dimming the lights not only decreases energy usage, but can also greatly influence the atmosphere. This control is especially useful in high-end stores that use softer and dimmer lighting.

Types of Lighting Needed in Retail Stores

Decorative fixtures are a good place to start planning your lighting design. They’re meant to be seen and make a statement, so place them in prominent, focal points like a window display to grab customers’ attention before they even walk inside. The front entrance sets the mood and tone of your store as customers enter. Light sources should be placed above eye-level on walls to add a little uplighting that doesn’t cause glare.

Your next step, and one of the most important, is adding accent lighting. These fixtures are meant to illuminate and highlight your major displays. For permanent displays that don’t move around much, recessed can lights are a good choice. Recessed lighting blends into the ceiling so you don’t need to worry too much about it clashing with the decor and also provides a focused, bright light. If your displays tend to be more mobile, then track lights may be the way to go. Track lighting has adjustable lamp heads allowing you to adjust the angle and position of the light so your display won’t get left in a dark spot. This type of fixture will need more consideration so it fits your store’s theme. Accent lighting will also include light bars or strip lights in glass display cases, if they aren’t built-in.

Once all of the decorative and accent lighting is taken care of, it’s time to figure out where your store needs extra task-oriented lighting. The most common places for task lighting include fixtures pointed at window signs so your sales are clearly visible, above the register so employees aren’t struggling to see purchase totals, and in dressing rooms so your customers can tell if that dress is really black or navy.

Ambient Lighting

Although it seems backwards, the last type of lighting needed when planning your store’s needs in the general or ambient lighting. If this step is done first, you run the risk of over-illuminating and needing to reevaluate. General lighting fixtures should just be used to fill in dark spots around your store. This is more important when using recessed can lights as your main source of illumination. If using larger LED panels or troffers, you can get away with more space between them.

Quick tip: A good rule of thumb for ambient lighting, is add some wherever there’s more than 6 feet between light fixtures.

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