For years, the correlation between lighting design and in-store sales has been studied within the retail sector, with architectural styling found to have a significant impact on customer behaviour. Warm, ambient illumination is popular in high-end, luxury shopping environments, for example, whilst vivid colours and vibrant LEDs catch attention and make a bold statement in other parts of the high street. Much depends, of course, on the personality of the retail brand, the target consumer and the nature of the products being sold.
One thing remains consistent though – lighting matters throughout. It’s therefore little surprise that, when it comes to graphic displays for retail spaces large and small, illumination has never been so highly sought-after.
Here, Leach Impact’s business development manager Dale Broadhead, shares his recent experience of how to maximise the power of light in the retail world…
“I visited a new customer recently, who had heard about lightboxes and was keen to find out more. Like many retail brands, they’re feeling the pressure of the high street and budgets are being stretched. But they also know that shoppers are still out there. The question, therefore, is how to entice them in, maximise the in-store experience when they step inside, and then encourage them to buy?
“My first tip for this prospective client was to think carefully about the investment. The impact that lightboxes can have, is phenomenal. But retail brands quite rightly want maximum ‘bang for their buck’! Investing in a mediocre lightbox, with poor illumination, is therefore unlikely to create the effect – and sales – that the retailer seeks.
“It’s important to look for the brightest lightboxes on the market – a status we proudly hold. And if budgets are stretched, speak to your supplier about different frame depths and build configurations, so that illumination quality is not jeopardised. It’s not just brightness that matters –poorly manufactured lightboxes can cast shadows on the graphics or create an uneven distribution of light, which is something no retailer wants.
“Think next about the in-store areas you’d like to light up! From shop windows to hero product and concession areas, through to the changing rooms, demo zones or seating areas where those all-important decisions will be made – different spaces matter to different shops. Illumination can draw attention in a crowded space, or it can maximise the drama in a clean open expanse. They can even offer functional sign-posting help behind cash desks, for instance. If you’re not sure where the illumination will pack the biggest punch, ask your graphics display partner to roll their sleeves up and do a store walk-through with you. This is the best way to bring ideas, designs and objectives to life!
“Versatility should also play a crucial part in the decision-making process. Ease of graphic replacements – by in-store staff – will ensure the displays remain current and engaging, which matters more than ever in the fast-paced world of retail. Changing seasons, evolving trends and brand promotions are just some of the things that don’t stand still, so your lightboxes can’t remain stagnant either.
“Whilst some retailers install lightboxes to showcase photographic-quality artwork or model-led imagery, others use them to simply project bold blocks of vivid colour. Utilising our Product Wall technology – which integrates slick merchandising capabilities – retailers can even boldly display their key stock against the impactful lightbox backdrop. The options are virtually endless, which is what makes our first visit to a store so exciting.
“Some of my favourite lightbox installations sit proudly in the windows of flagship stores on Oxford Street, London. They have been used to create beautiful spectacles that stand out from the crowd, which couldn’t be more important given the thousands of people that bustle by each day. But we’ve also designed, manufactured and installed lightboxes for independent retail brands, boutique concessions and restaurant chains, to name just a few.
“Some retailers are taking their love for lightboxes one step further, by installing them in their office headquarters to inspire staff and visitors, and even using them at buyer expos and roadshows to attract attention at these packed out events.
“My key piece of advice – whether for a one-off project or a multi-site roll out of new retail displays – is to be open minded. Be honest about the impact you’d like the lightboxes to have, and don’t be afraid to reveal ideas however crazy they may sound. It’s up to us to help make them a reality!”