Light can subconsciously influence people, positively as well as negatively. Sunlight makes people happy and in the dark months of winter depressions are more common than in the rest of the year. But aside from such extreme effects, the psychological influence of lighting can also be used for shop design. It helps create an individual atmosphere and buying incentives.
Effective lighting does not only mean to install lights that are as bright as possible: Careful planning is crucial to create the desired effects. And aside from giving a shop an own atmosphere, there are also practical uses: Differentiated lighting helps the customers to orient themselves inside the shop, different levels of brightness show the way between different product selections. Light supports the perception of a customer, without making him feel being driven to make any particular decision. This is because light and colors affect him on a subconscious level. Nonetheless, they are forming a room.
„Vertical lighting should not be disregarded easily when it comes to orientation and guidance” as the luminaire manufacturer Erco points out in a brochure. “Flooded with light, the back wall shows the customer the dimensions of a sales room. The vertical illumination of displays and decorations proves to be a useful guide between product groups, especially when a large and diverse range of goods is on display on the sales floor.”
Creating atmosphere, observing rules and regulations
Good lighting is more than just an assistance for the customer: A harmonious lighting atmosphere promotes a sense of well-being and makes working with and for the customer easier for employees. Additionally, it is part of the corporate identity and thus tributes to company success. But when planning an individual lighting solution, planners have to thread the way between the desired effects and the legal requirements: The levels of illuminance and luminance prescribed in standards have to be complied with, without adversely affecting the desired atmosphere.
Research nowadays distinguishes between three different concepts of light:
Light to see: It provides a uniform background brightness, an adequate level of illumination and low glare. Goods and their environment become visible and orientation is made easier.
Light for looking: Individual areas and promotion areas are highlighted and distinguished from their surroundings. This accentuated lighting directs the eye of the observer to the products, highlighting their individual properties. For this purpose, pools of light are generated, within which the level of lighting is well above the level of the ambient lighting.
Light for viewing: This is a special kind of accentuated lighting, where the light is itself an object of perception. Examples are colored light, running lights or moving beams.
Important factors of lighting planning are light color and color reproduction, as well as the properties of the light sources. The design of the light sources and a successful play with light and shadows also play an important role.
Experts recommend using a warm lighting in shops. Glaring cold light reminds many people of the sterile atmosphere of a hospital and makes the shop look not very inviting. To avoid discomforting the customer and instead even positively influence his purchase decision, lighting should be bright and uniform and should show the authentic colors of the products. An attractive source of light at the entrance drives the customer’s attention to the store in the first place. Ambient lighting alone is not enough and hardly has a positive influence on buying decisions. Only the right lighting accents show the products in the right way.