Two important studies, conducted in late 2013, looked into retail lighting and how it affected customer behaviour in stores. The first study examined the extent to which lighting influenced consumers' subjective preferences and looked at three areas - the window, the store and shelving displays.
With a window display, people preferred vertical lighting, which make products stand out more, and it was noted that the colour rendering was not such a factor here. When coming into the actual store though, brightness was not so much of an issue and instead it was evident that people preferred warm lighting and moderate brightness. At around 3,000k and 4,000k people are at the most comfortable and this comfort diminishes if the lighting goes above this.
The study found that varying the lighting was also significant, for example, changing the colour of the lighting at certain times of the day or when a specific promotion was on. Smart design of the installation can encourage people to follow tracks around a store and you can use that to get people deep into your store. When it came to shelving displays, it was evident that people preferred more lighting here, as naturally they wanted good light to be able to see products clearly ahead of purchasing them.
The second study used eye tracking technology to monitor people's instinctive reactions to different lighting schemes and where their eyes looked. The most significant finding was that people's eyes were drawn naturally to areas of contrast, where dark and light areas overlapped, rather than the most brightly lit areas. Another interesting conclusion to note was that people were drawn to products that were at head height, showing that anything above or below that is often overlooked. To draw more attention to these it's worth using dynamic lighting to change the brightness, or these products need raising to face height.
When the findings were tested in a store in Hamburg, it was concluded that people's eyes were instinctively drawn to areas where the lighting was active and were more attracted to blue lighting, over any other colour.
To put the findings to good use, it's worth thinking about the colours and the brightness used in your store. For example, use lighting to draw people towards your shelving and think about using active or blue lighting to highlight unloved areas of your shop.