Research has found that there are about 600,000 retail buildings in operation in the U.S., totaling an astounding 11.3 billion square feet. This is indeed a huge market for retail lighting. It is a crucial marketing tool that can guide and engage customers while making them feel relaxed in a shopping environment.
As e-commerce rises in prominence and grabs market share, the quality of the customer experience becomes of greater importance for traditional retailers. Thus, the industry has come to perceive retail lighting not merely as a necessary expense, but also a worthwhile investment that can help drive sales.
Boutiques vs. Big Box
Retail lighting design for a space will be determined by the type of shop, goals of the brand or entrepreneur, and the merchandise on display. Basically, there are two categories of retail space: boutique and big box.
Generally, boutiques emphasize an engaging color scheme, a relaxing experience, and a compelling, unique aesthetic. In contrast, big-box stores focus on minimal installation costs, high energy efficiency, decreased maintenance needs, and uniform lighting levels. However, boutiques and big box stores are both concerned about properly presenting merchandise with the use of various types of focal lighting.
To illustrate, smaller items such as necklaces will need lighting sources from very small points. Lights with high color temperatures may be used on a sequined dress to make the sequins sparkle. Lighting at lower color temperatures may be used to give brown leather furniture a warmer appearance.
Modeling and color quality must be used skillfully to create effective retail lighting. Higher ratings on the color rendering index (CRI) will result in more vivid colors, and this is very important for the presentations of goods like food, jewelry or clothing.
Part 2 will discuss Vertical & Accent Lighting and Current Trends.
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