Let’s be honest: first impressions will always matter.
This is especially true for businesses. You could have hundreds of positive Yelp reviews and an impressive social media following, but the moment customers find your space to be unappealing or disorganized, you’ll lose business.
That’s why you should never underestimate the importance of lighting in retail stores, restaurants and other commercial businesses.
Of course, no customer will ever say that the reason they chose or did not choose a particular business is because of the lighting design. The truth is, very few shoppers are even aware of the impact that good (or bad) lighting can have on their impression of a store.
Unfortunately, many business owners also take lighting for granted, leaving them unable to capitalize on a well-designed lighting scheme.
Ultimately, lighting does quite a lot to help or hinder a business: it can help build a brand, highlight certain products, set a mood and of course, make it easier for customers to shop. That said, lighting is far from a one-size-fits-all solution, and a showroom lighting design, for example, should be different from boutique lighting ideas.
If you want to revamp your business with a great lighting design, electrical contractors should be the first on your list of people to call. However, you do not need to leave all of the creative work to the professionals.
No one else knows your business quite as you do. Before a licensed electrician steps foot in your establishment, you should already have a concrete idea of what you want.
Here are some timeless, surefire ideas that can help guide your lighting strategy for your retail business:
Retail Store lighting Ideas
Selling a product doesn’t just mean you have to make a potential customer fall in love with an item just once. They have to love it from the moment they see it, to the moment they try it on, to the moment they check out.
Shoppers don’t stay in just one space, and your products will not either. As they bounce from showrooms to dressing rooms, your products need be shown in the best light possible– literally.
Showrooms lighting Ideas
There is a direct link between the quality of your showroom lighting design and the number of sales you get.
Your showroom will be the first thing any customer will see in your retail business. Although some lighting showroom display ideas are focused on bright hues and dramatic contrast, our best advice is to keep things simple.
You might feel inclined to try to “trick” a customer by making a diamond ring seem particularly mesmerizing or a summer dress seem a more vibrant hue than it actually is. With the right lighting tricks, you could actually get away with this.
The problem, however, is that you shouldn’t.
The best approach to showroom lighting is to keep things simple. You want customers to get an accurate sense of what products will look like once they leave the store.
The golden role is to make sure your customers can always see the products you want them to buy. Ensure they can see the materials, the colors, the fine details and of course, the price tag.
Consider The Lighting Hierarchy
Think about the last time you went to see a theatre performance. Have you watched a truly incredible show and felt astounded by the quick and seamless set changes?
You may even remember a show in which crew members changed set pieces or actors walked on and off stage without you even noticing. This is a classic sleight-of-hand trick that performers have used for decades, and lighting plays a big role in this.
By illuminating certain areas of the stage, your eyes will naturally deviate towards these areas. While one character performs a monologue under a spotlight, crew members have the chance to transform the stage right in front of your eyes, without you even noticing.
This tactic works in retail as well. If you have special items for sale, seasonal collections you want to focus on, or big-ticket items you need to sell fast, they should be more well lit than some of your lower priority merchandise.
A commercial electrician can help you figure out your ‘lighting hierarchy’, and create hot spots for your most important products.
Dressing Rooms lighting
No one likes dressing rooms.
Your employees would almost certainly prefer to be doing anything but re-folding unpurchased items that were sloppily tossed on the floor, and your customers would like to be doing anything but constantly changing into new clothes and inspecting their appearance.
But dressing rooms are important for any fashion retailer as they are where final decisions get made. A beautifully crafted gown will never make it to the cash register if it doesn’t flatter a customer’s body, and items like swimsuits and underwear make the dressing room experience even more stressful.
When your dressing rooms feel like friendly, welcoming spaces, shoppers are more likely to be satisfied with the clothing they try on. Consider using warmer lighting mounted as close to the mirror as possible.
This will create the best lighting for someone inspecting their appearance in a mirror, and will help create a more flattering look.
Before hiring electrical contractors, consider your business. If you are a smaller boutique, your approach to clothing store lighting will be different from that of a big box retailer.
In general, boutiques succeed when they can play with natural light, and use warmer hues that create a more intimate, homey look that customers can’t find in most major retailers.
One of our favorite boutique lighting ideas is to incorporate long, vertical lighting along with floor-length mirrors throughout the store. This allows shoppers to hold clothing up and get a feel for it before trying it on while creating the same flattering light design they could find while changing.
Make A Splash With Your Display Window
The average window shopper will pass by dozens if not hundreds of storefront display windows in just a couple of hours. So why doesn’t every customer go into every store while shopping?
The reality is, no one has the time. A great, well-designed display window is an easy way to attract shoppers.
While designing your display window, consider the significance of contrast. Using vibrant, deep-colored clothing with bright lighting is one way to draw attention to your storefront, as is a darker, warmer lighting scheme against lighter apparel.
Restaurant Lighting Ideas
Restaurants are fundamentally different businesses from any retailer. When shopping in a retail store, customers are there for something. They might need to strike a couple of items off their grocery list, buy a last-minute Christmas gift, or prepare for the back-to-school season.
Restaurant customers, however, are looking for an experience. Yes, they’ll want good food, but they will also be looking for a certain level of atmosphere. Whether you serve greasy spoon favorites at a family-friendly diner or offer fine dining, you want your lighting to be a central element on your customer’s experience.
Setting The Mood With Layered Light
Accent lighting is a key element of any lighting hierarchy in retail, but it plays a role in the restaurant industry. With the help of electrical contractors, you can create a layered design that sets the mood for your diners, whether it be fun and casual or romantic and upscale.
This is a trend you can see in virtually any eatery these days. Hanging lights might be trendy and social media-friendly, but they are also affordable and relatively easy for your commercial electrician to install.
Don’t Forget The Outdoors Lighting
Patios are more popular than ever before. Whether you have a great view of a city skyline or simply offer a comfortable outdoor area to enjoy a summer meal, you should lean into your outdoor lighting design.
Speak to your licensed electrician about the best lighting for your rooftop or patio, but in general, you can make a lot out of budget-friendly lighting you can typically get at any hardware store, such as string lighting.
Other Commercial Centres Lighting
From grocery stores to salons, commercial lighting needs will not stop at retail and restaurants. No matter what your commercial lighting needs are, there are creative and non-conventional ideas out there to take your business’ atmosphere to the next level.
Focus On Branding
No two brands are alike, and so no two lighting designs should be completely identical as well.
In general, ambient lighting is associated with more casual and lower-cost brands for budget-conscious shoppers (think large retail chains like JC Pennery and TJMaxx), whereas accent lighting is typically associated with higher-end stores.
However, you can establish brands using different colors as well, which might be particularly effective for businesses outside the realm of retail and restaurants, in which there is less pressure to create an upscale and ambient feeling with lighting.
Temperature can help create a mood and reinforce a brand just as well as layering and color can, but it can also help you overcome practical issues with your business’ layout.
If you have a smaller and more cramped space, you might benefit from a cooler lighting design, which tends to create the illusion of spaciousness. If you want to create a familiar and home-like feel, a warmer design will typically be right.
Not all customers respond to lighting temperature in the same way. Although personal preferences matter, at the end of the day, older customers tend to prefer a warmer design, while cooler temperatures are better for businesses geared towards younger, millennial customers.
Finding The Right Professional like Hotwire Electric
Restaurant and shop lighting ideas mean nothing without the right electrical contractors on your side.
You might have a very particular and detail-oriented vision for your business’ lighting design, or you might have no clue where to get started. Hotwire Electric is licensed electrician can help you create a visually stunning and practical lighting design.
Finding ideas for the best commercial lighting can be a challenge. Finding the right electrical contractors for the job is another distinct challenge within itself. Here are some simple and straightforward tips to find the best commercial electrician for your needs:
Look At Past Experience
Looking at a commercial electrician’s previous experience means so much more than skimming over a resume. An experienced contractor could have thousands of past clients, and still not be the right fit for you.
If possible, look over photographs (especially before and after photos), and see if anything is particularly inspiring or relevant to your own vision.
Consider Your Specific Needs
Experience is one thing, but collaboration is another. When looking at contractors, consider those who have worked in your particular field, and don’t be afraid to get specific. If a contractor has mainly worked with big box retailers and you have a small, high-fashion boutique, it might not be the right fit.
Read Warranties Carefully
Some lighting warranties come with unreasonable restrictions on burning hours. Many businesses can easily exceed 5,000 burning hours every year, but some lights might have 4,000 or even 3,000 hour restrictions. While these might be appropriate choices for home lighting, it is not feasible for businesses who need the lights running virtually every day of the year.
Ask your contractor if they have lighting options that are appropriate for businesses with long hours, and eliminate anyone offering you a deal that would pressure on you to limit your usage.
Listen To Your Network, But Trust Your Gut
Your business network is a great place to start when it comes to finding the perfect contractor for your needs, but ultimately, you need to follow your own instincts.
The best way to do this is by having a clear vision of what you want out of your electrical contractors, and wait until you find someone able to bring this vision into a reality.