Effective retail store lighting should be a major consideration in planning and maintaining your retail space. It can lead to better in-person shopping experiences, create consistency across your brand, and even elevate the look and feel of your products.

While LEDs can reduce your energy and maintenance costs, customer experience and emergency lighting are also important factors when it comes to choosing the best lighting solutions for your store or commercial space.

As experts in exterior and interior commercial lighting solutions, we’re sharing our insider knowledge on the importance of lighting in retail stores and the key considerations we use for maintaining, installing and upgrading great in-store lighting.

The Importance of Lighting in Retail Stores

Any retail lighting guide will maintain that well designed in-store lighting or a well-lit window display can have the same effect as a powerful brand voice online; it encourages guests to engage with your brand, tells a story, highlights products and services, and creates return customers.

Additionally, for commercial spaces, lighting can convey a level of professionalism necessary for making a good first impression with clients and maintaining a level of productivity for employees. These are just some of the reasons behind the importance of lighting in retail stores but there are still more considerations to take into account to create a lighting solution that works best for your brand and your in-store needs.

Consider Customer Experience

You may not realize it, but lighting has a major impact on shopping behavior in a retail store. Not only does lighting impact the atmosphere of a store and entice customers to buy products, but it factors into how long they shop and whether they come back. A well-lit window display could even play a part in getting a potential customer into the store for the first time.

While LED retail lighting can drive down your energy costs, it may not always be appropriate for certain commercial spaces. Proper lighting makes the clothing or products more appealing to the customer by making colors and textures pop out, and ambient lighting can help give customers a sense of comfort being in your store.

A benefit to using LED lighting in your retail space is that the fixtures emit less heat than fluorescent or HID lighting, making the customer more comfortable while in your store. Especially if you are operating a clothing store, the temperature can make a major impact on purchase decisions.

Consider Your Brand

Do your services or does your store have a website? Then odds are, you have put some thought into your brand’s appearance with the use of color palettes and fonts, and your brand’s voice with the messaging you put forward online. Lighting plays a very similar role in commercial and retail spaces.

If your brand sells appliances or home goods, you may want to consider bright lighting that makes stainless steel appliances shine and linens look crisp. Conversely, if you own a plant nursery, you may want to use soft white LED retail lighting and opt for low profile fixtures to accentuate natural light. Your lighting should match the tone you’re striking with your brand, to some extent, to create cohesion.

Consider Your Space

The physical space in which you conduct your business should also largely influence the types of fixtures you can and cannot use in your lighting solution. For instance, if your commercial space has low ceilings, consider using recessed lighting so the fixtures do not obstruct your client’s view. If you’re operating a facility with tall ceilings, like a warehouse, high bays with LEDs will provide efficient, bright light for workers to operate safely.

The types of lights used in retail stores should make sense for your space and this includes considering the appropriate amount of light levels to achieve proper brightness. Footcandles are the most common unit of measure used by lighting professionals to calculate light levels in businesses and retail stores. A footcandle is defined as the illuminance on a one square foot surface from a uniform source of light. Recommended light levels for general retail lighting ranges from 30-50 footcandles, with additional specifications for accent and decorative lighting.

Consider Temperature

While many retail lighting guidelines specify lumens as an important rule of thumb for achieving proper lighting, it’s equally important to consider the temperature of your lighting in order to achieve the correct ambiance.

For commercial spaces where warm lighting is appropriate, retailers should look to install fixtures that fall between 2700K and 3000K on the color temperature scale. Fluorescents and LEDs emit light between 2700K and 6500K falling between warm white and cool white on the color scale.

Effective retail store lighting will have a mixture of warm and cool light to create balance, but some commercial spaces, like restaurants and bars, will lean more towards warm lighting, while facilities like gyms and offices will use cooler lighting for productivity.

Consider Emergency Lighting

Another type of light in retail stores that often gets overlooked is emergency lighting. OSHA has requirements around emergency lighting in commercial buildings to ensure exit paths and exit signs are adequately lighted so that an employee with normal vision can see along the exit route, and each exit must be clearly visible and marked by an exit sign in case of emergency. The exit sign must also be properly illuminated to a surface value of at least 54 lux, be a reliable light source, and be distinctive in color.

Imperial Lighting can perform testing on these lights to ensure they are operating properly, and our technicians carry all the necessary lamps, ballasts, batteries, and parts to repair your emergency and exit lighting as needed. Additionally, because these emergency and exit lights operate 24 hours a day, there is ample opportunity for lighting upgrades that can help reduce energy and maintenance costs for your retail space.

Imperial Lighting is a family-owned, leading lighting solutions provider in Chicago, IL. We perform routine interior and exterior maintenance on large, commercial facilities, and LED lighting upgrades on retail and office spaces of all sizes. To get a lighting audit on your commercial space, contact us today and find the perfect lighting solution that speaks to your brand, your clientele, and your business’s unique story.