Selecting lighting for your store can be complicated. However, good lighting is one of the most important aspects of highlighting your product and making it pop. An in-depth guide to selecting lighting for your store is beyond the scope of this article, but here are 7 quick tips gathered from retail lighting professionals that should prove very helpful along the way.
1. Buy LED Bulbs By the Batch
LED bulbs have come along way in the last several years. Their energy-efficiency, long-life, and consistently improving color quality are leading more and more business owners to switch to LED’s. Despite all this progress, there can still be variations in color temperature and tone between batches of LED’s, even if they are technically the same product.
Because of these small variations, it is important to buy all your LED bulbs at once, by the batch. This ensures a consistent color temperature and tone from bulb-to-bulb and therefore throughout your store.
2. Do Not Burn Your Customers
According to Fit Small Business, “it is very important to make sure that the heat from your lights will not make customers uncomfortable.” Be aware of this and select your bulbs accordingly. Incandescent bulbs are the warmest, LED’s are the coolest, and florescent bulbs are somewhere in-between.
3. Be Sensitive to Color Temperature and CRI (Color Rendering Index Rating)
Each individual bulb has a natural tone to the light it produces. This is known as a bulb’s color temperature and is measured in kelvins. Lower-end kelvin ratings (1-2700) generally mean a warmer and softer light. Mid-range ratings (4000-4500) produce truer colors and a more natural light. High kelvin ratings (5000 and above) mimic a day-white light and are generally used in areas that need really focused and bright task lighting.
The CRI (Color Rendering Index Rating) is basically a measurement concerning light and true product color. The higher an index rating a bulb has, the truer your item color will be under that light.
4. Factor In Replacement and Energy Cost
Everybody factors in upfront bulb cost when they purchase bulbs. However, there are other cost considerations as well.
You need to include energy cost (cost of electrical usage/yr) and replacement cost ([annual hours of use divided by hours of bulb life] x cost per bulb) in your calculations as well. This will give you a more accurate picture of what you can expect to spend on lighting per year with each bulb type.
5. Use Dimmer Switches
Dimmer switches allow you to control the light level of your bulbs. This does several things:
It allows you to adjust your lighting needs to fit your store atmosphere – If you have areas of your store that need different lighting needs, dimmer switches are an easy solution that does not require custom tailoring each bulb to each store space.
It can save quite a bit on energy costs – If you are working in the store after-hours, you probably do not need the same level of light as a customer would. So, you can just turn down the dimmer switches and save electricity while still providing enough light to stock inventory or whatever you need to do.
If you do decide to go with dimmer switches, just make sure the bulbs you get are dimmable as well. A small detail but one that can be immensely frustrating if forgotten.
6. Spend Your Money On Accent and Task Lighting
As great as it would be to have endless resources to spend on store lighting, this is generally not the case for the average business owner. But this raises the question, where should costs be cut?
Although the real answer is going to be store specific, it is generally agreed that you want to spend your money on Accent and Task lighting. Accent lighting highlights your product, which is why your store exists in the first place, to sell product. Your task lighting ensures that your employees have enough light to keep the store running and perform necessary tasks.
If you are going to cut costs, cut out a decorative chandelier or get some cheaper general lighting. Although important, it is much easier to cut corners in these two categories without too significant a loss in overall store lighting quality. However, if you skimp on your accent and task lighting, your customers will know it.