The Register
In Association with Bright Light

How to make your products pop

The ability of lighting to influence customer behaviour is often overlooked during fit-outs, but the right light can increase sales.

August 31, 2017 | News

At retail outlets like supermarkets, nothing is ever left to chance. Each supermarket is a carefully-designed space where consumers are targeted from every angle.

For product manufacturers, the supermarket aisle is a constant battleground where products vie for attention through packaging and promotions. But catching the shopper’s eye and converting them from a passing visitor to a purchaser is a many-faceted process.

According to US researcher Rosella Tomassoni’s 2015 study from Scientific Research Publishing, ‘Psychology of light: How light influences the health psyche’, exposing people to different lighting and types can influence their behaviour, emotions, and perceptions. Shoppers in supermarkets react to the lighting they’re exposed to during their path to purchase, and there’s a number of ways retailers can use this to their advantage.

Colour your world

Many food retailers will understand that food on display doesn’t always match the shopper’s idealised mental image of that item. Fresh items such as fruit and vegetables can get battered on their journey to the produce aisle, and meat can acquire cosmetically unattractive discolouration. However, it’s the retailer’s responsibility to ensure the products that land on their shelves leave them before going stale.

Smart retailers can use lighting to get their products to look their best using a measurement scale called the colour rendering index (CRI). The CRI is an objective measurement of how accurate any given light source is at rendering colours in comparison with daylight.

The right CRI and colour temperature will enhance the look and appeal of merchandise at a supermarket.

David Powley, co-director at Bright Light, says their customisable LED lighting range can bring out the best aspects of products.

“With bread and so on, warmer yellow-coloured lights make a big difference to how the product is portrayed. Colours tend to come out a lot nicer with a higher quality of light.”

Red-tinted LED lights bring out natural colours of meat and seafood products that are attractive to consumers, while for all dairy produce, fresh produce, magazines, and bakery goods, Bright Lights recommends natural white bars.

Steve Marshall, co-director at LED lighting solutions company Bright Light, says LED lighting that has a higher CRI like their own products will give very different results as opposed regular low-CRI lighting luminaires.

“Retailers want to see their merchandise exhibited in the most interesting way possible. They want to sell something, and that is where a high CRI product comes in.

“With lighting, such as our own, you are actually going to get that result you’re looking for.”

CRI also correlates directly with the ambience or ‘feel’ of a space. Warm light makes a store feel smaller, more comfortable and familiar, while cooler light makes shops appear more spacious. Neutral light gives shoppers a sense of wellbeing, which may extend the amount of time the customer spends in the store and thus the likelihood of a purchase.

Red and white LED light fixtures run at a higher CRI level with a low operating temperature. The product comes with a five-year warranty or up to 25,000 hours of running time. The natural white LED option that Bright Light offers has an estimated lifetime of up to 50,000 hours, giving it between 5 – 11 years in use depending on how it’s operated.

Their five-year-warrantied products are designed to bring out the best aspects of products by using the highest CRI levels available on the market.

The Proline LED product that is used for their designs has a higher CRI level and runs at a low operating temperature which allows for quality in both product appearance and cost savings. 

Walking into the sun

In Powley’s experience, more lighting isn’t necessarily good lighting in a retail setting.

“Harsh lighting can also deteriorate a product; it can make some of the colours fade or disappear. Even fruit, if there is too much light hitting it, it can just kill the colour on it.”

The research backs him up - according to Tomassoni’s 2015 study, humans are photosensitive, and too much in the way of bright lighting can provoke a negative response from consumers.

“Over-lighting or close light flashes provoke dazzle, that by reducing the perceiver’s visibility and visual performance, bring out discomfort, stress, sense of danger, and disorientation in the individual,” she says.

Andy Sheppard, commercial manager for Bright Light, says retailers should focus on getting the right kind of light for their needs.

“[Supermarkets] have all these fittings giving out all these different lights, and they haven’t given the light on the product a true representation that it needs.”

One of the most important factors with lighting products is having the highest level of CRI available. The higher that colour rendering index is, the better the product will be represented.

Bright Light includes overhead space lighting as part of their professional offering as well product-specific lighting. While too much light is undesirable, under-lit walls and overhead spaces can make a store feel smaller than it really is.

Powley says that consistency and the right planning of a store’s lighting can benefit sales.

“It is important to light the walls and the ceilings, to allow the space to look well lit, if you go into a supermarket these days there is too much consistent white lighting.

“But in some aisles, it is beneficial to have a whiter light. With cosmetics and things, you want to be able to see the product clearly.” 

Benefits beyond product purchases

Quality illumination and the impression consumers get from it creates an effect that influences how people shop and what they see.

Not only does quality lighting ensure better use of light for a specific task, like improving the appearance of a product, but it also reduces operating costs.

Steve Marshall says a lot of retailers are unaware of how much their standard LED lighting cost contributes towards actually lighting the area.

“A large percentage of power going into the legacy lighting system comes out as heat and only a small percent is light. As opposed to LED, which is more effect and have the ability to convert more power into usable light,” Marshall says.

“An average supermarket will burn its lighting 15 hours a day, most will trade for 361.5 days of the year. And most will be burning every single light in that place for that whole day.”

Energy savings, as well as improved sustainability and lower maintenance costs, are all available through Bright Light’s high-quality LED lighting. 

Customisable control and caution

Bright Light works with the leading suppliers of refrigeration equipment in New Zealand and have been heading up the lighting for some of our biggest supermarket chains for the last four years.

Andy Sheppard says that being able to customise colour, shape, and length of their LED lighting gives a store a better chance of matching light colour temperature to the surrounding areas for a unified appearance.

“We have the ability and the workshop facilities to be able to customise sizes, so we can accommodate odd requests that [supermarket representatives] may have.”

David Powley says Bright Light can create a customised lighting system for any store while also giving those retailers more control over their lighting.

“The use of lighting controls, changeable lighting or the amount of lighting, should be dependent on the store and other factors such as natural light coming into the space. In the daytime, you don’t need as much because you have that natural light. So, stores being able to control their light can add to that efficiency.”

A well planned and lit store helps customers find the items they need and influences them to stay and browse which leads to more sales.

Bright Light’s lighting system is extremely cost-effective but is also safer for staff and customers. Powley says Bright Lights initially developed its LED lighting as a safer alternative to existing supermarket lighting products before shifting its promotional focus onto the additional benefits the system offered.

“When you’re talking about high-voltage products that have to be clipped in and unclipped by the staff there can be casualties. Also with food safety, they aren’t glass tubes anymore. So, there is no way for it to break or shatter.”

Glass lighting has a high tendency to shatter or explode. If that happens on or around products a large loss of profit will follow as the items must be disposed of to ensure safety.

A shift from high-voltage to Bright Light’s low-voltage controllable lighting allows retailers to section off lighting areas rather than turn off largely interconnected circuits.

So, if staff are required to clean areas where water may be involved, no product has to be left in darkness for an extended period of time.

The systems that Bright Light has created are specially designed to enhance the visual appeal of certain products.

Since the introduction of LED technology in New Zealand, Bright Light has been a leading manufacturer and supplier offering a wide range of products available for supermarket retailers.

The range available to supermarket retailers is specifically designed for the sector, with down lights and space lighting that can all be manipulated to enhance product appearance and, ultimately, sales of that product.

Bright Light works at a wholesale level, but the company encourages retailers to enquire about the lighting that would work best for their store.

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