The question of how to attract the attention of customers and make them interested in specific products has been one that companies have always been struggling with. It is often tempting for retailers to use a wide variety of lights and colours in an effort to accomplish this goal.
LED signs are being used with increasing regularity to attract customers both indoors and outdoors. These signs are able to change their graphics and messaging in a matter of minutes. They are also low maintenance, durable, can be used to create custom messages, able to be controlled by a computer and they allow stores to capitalize on impulse buys.
But how effective are LED signs and other types of lighting when it comes to attracting customers?
There were two separate studies that were conducted by Zumtobel, the manufacturer of lights. The first study was overseen by Professor Jan Ejhed, the head of the Lighting Laboratory at Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology. He said that one of the main problems is that when a store located in a mall makes their lights bright to attract customers, the shop next to it will make their lights even brighter. It is a form of competition. According to Ejhed, the lighting in some stores causes so much heat that it must be ventilated for the safety of customers and employees.
The goal of the first study was to examine how much of a role lighting plays in determining a customer’s subjective preferences. 97 people were involved in the study, 38 were non-professionals and 59 were professionals. These people were all asked to examine three virtual reality lighting setups in various retail spaces and stores. They were then asked to compare and assess them. There were three areas that were examined by the research: the shelving displays, the store and the window of the shop.
Ejhed said that the people in the study liked brighter light in the store’s window. They also thought that vertical lighting helped to make certain products stand out from the background, especially clothing. Ejhed noted that the people in the study were not sensitive to the colour rendering when they were standing outside looking in the window. That happens more frequently when people enter the store.
Once the study progressed to the interior of the store, the people indicated that they felt brightness was an important factor in the presentation of products, but only up to a certain point. The people involved in the study mentioned rendering and colour temperature as being just as important as lighting. For the most part, based on Ejhed’s findings, people tend to prefer moderate brightness and warm lighting. Both of these factors seem to be connected in the mind of the public.
Another significant finding of the study was the fact that simply changing the colour of the lighting depending on when a certain promotion was going on or what time of day it was, also was found to be appealing. According to Ejhed, if the lighting installation is designed in a clever way, people will follow it around the store the same way they would follow a path. It can be an extremely effective method in getting people into the deepest section of a store. This can be done by making a change in the colour temperature or the brightness. The people in the study preferred more light for the shelf displays. This is because the people wanted to be able to clearly see an item before they buy it.
The second study was created by Markus Felsch. The study was also developed by Dr. Roland Greule of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. This study was designed to monitor the instinctive behavior of people when various lighting schemes are presented to them. This was accomplished by the use of eye-tracking technology to keep track of where they were looking when they were shown a series of real-life lighting schemes and slides in a couple of retail stores.
The study revealed that areas of contrast attracted the attention of the test subjects. These contrasting areas were places where light and dark overlapped, as opposed to areas that contained the most amount of light. According to Felsch, this is significant because it was previously thought that the brightest areas would get the most attention from customers.
Not surprisingly, the study also concluded that customers tend to look at items that are at the same height as their head, meaning that the items found on shelves that were above or below this height were frequently overlooked. Felsch stated that in order to force people to pay attention to specific items, they either need to have a dynamic lighting presentation or they need to be right in front of a person’s face.
There were 14 lighting scenarios that were part of a test in a Hamburg concept store. Different arrangements were deployed at various times of the day. Colours of lights were also changed throughout the day. The study concluded that the attention of people’s eyes are instinctively drawn to places where there are active lights. This includes shelves that were below the height of the person’s head. Blue was determined to be the colour that attracted people the most.
One of the key findings of the study was the fact that if a store puts attractive lighting in a section that was previously unpopular, people will be drawn to it and shop there for long periods of time. The lighting application manager for Zumtobel, Birthe Tralau, stated that the need to adapt colours and levels of lighting in shelving displays, stores and the windows of stores could cause a larger demand for the use of LED lighting and control systems in these areas.
After these two studies, there can be no doubt how important LED lighting is to a store when it comes attracting the attention of customers and getting them interested in a specific product. Moreover, the colour and amount of lighting also play significant roles. It will be interesting to see how stores will implement this data into their respective displays.
Danny Chard is the Managing Director of Assigns Point-of-Sale and Graphic Display Systems in both standard and customised formats and sizes. Our range of Retail Display Stands is designed to enable retailers to get their products and services noticed on all levels, whatever the retail environment.