Wednesday, June 07, 2023

‘Making the product visible in today’s retail environment means making the most of light’

By N Jayalakshmi | May 17, 2022

Next in the ‘Spotlight’ series presented by Retail4Growth in association with retail lighting solutions company Gardler, has Sheetal Patel, Founder & Principal Architect, Studio Noya, sharing her thoughts on lighting, as an integral part of the in-store experience. 

Sheetal Patel<br>Founder & Principal Architect<br>Studio Noya In your observation, how much challenging is it to convince retailers about the need to choose the right kind of lighting for their stores?   

With newer trends emerging and market getting extremely competitive, most retailers today understand the need to use strategies that make them stand out. But their focus is still mainly on the store design and presentation of the displayed products. The use of lighting is comparatively still underrated, despite having a significant effect in enhancing customer experience. But one they are made aware, they do understand that lighting can be used as a valuable tool to increase sales, improve the image of the brand and the relationship with their customers as they have a higher chance of returning and most likely recommend their store to other potential customers - simply because they liked the store experience.

What are some of the most common myths and misconceptions when it comes to retail lighting?  

Indiscriminate use of bright lighting is not conducive to showcasing products in a retail environment. Proper retail lighting contrasts the variety of products and allows the customer to focus on one thing at a time. Too much lighting overwhelms the customer’s senses. Instead, strike a proper balance between ambient and accent lighting. This means one should avoid lighting products at the same level. Vary brightness levels to better emphasize certain products.

What has been your own approach to lighting when it comes to your store projects? 

We believe light has a direct influence on our mood, considering most of the sensory information our brain receives comes straight from our eyes. This is why we never undervalue the importance of light while designing alternative options for displaying products. We use lighting to enhance the customer’s journey as it helps brands tell their story about their displayed products and the store. Through lighting we also set the customers mood, create hierarchy among the products as it serves to help make shopping experience a lot more pleasant. Also we feel, if proper attention is given to lighting, a store can create brand experience that the customer will remember and which will make him want to revisit the store.

What are the most critical parameters while deciding on the quality of lighting?  

Making the product visible in today’s retail environment means making the most of light. Proper lighting is key. This means designing an active floor plan with attention to lighting fixture placement, brightness, color temperature, Color Rendering Index (CRI) and certain other technical aspects. Although there is no one size fits all lighting design, there are guidelines and basic principles that can be applied to all retailers.

The four different types of lighting should be layered to form a cohesive lighting strategy : Accent, Task, Ambient and decorative.

How does the right lighting partner make a difference?

The right lighting partner definitely helps to save a lot of time, energy and cost that you invest in getting the project ready on a specified time frame and budget, along with the desired look and feel you envisioned for the project.

Any checklist you can share for evaluating and finding  the right lighting vendor/partner?

With the lighting industry expanding rapidly and product choices multiplying exponentially, finding the right vendor could seem like a task. Here is a checklist that we follow for evaluating a potential lighting vendor :

  • Should provide with high quality, reliable and certified products at a good market rate.
  • Should be able to meet demands of volume and mutually agreed lead time with responsive communications.
  • Should provide project assistance and new product recommendations after understanding requirements and should have good knowledge about their products.
  • Should be able to provide with quick response and after sale services with warranty and repairs.

Can you share details of any store project you have worked on where lighting played a big role? How did the lighting make a difference to the store? 

While designing the Cultivo store we put up a backlit LED signage with a subtle glow to catch the attention of potential customers passing by the busy street, attracting and inviting them to explore inside. A perfect balance of accent and ambient lighting was planned inside the store to manipulate consumer behaviour by the following factors:

  • Guiding customers through the store by drawing their attention to specific products there by boosting sales.
  • By creating an environment that helped customers relax, get more comfortable or excited and spend more time in the store in return influencing them to buy more items.
  • Accent lighting was used to highlight seasonal produce and specific products on shelves.



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Director, Kathiawar Stores

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‘Clients will invest in lighting when they feel the competitive pressure to drive sales’

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