Retail & Lighting
The 1/3 of sales in the front of the store is misleading and likely the result of inadequate thought and investment in lighting technology.
Customers walk towards the brightest light in the store (within reason). Light can be used to reinforce circulation patterns and can be used to highlight merchandise (the brightest area should be where the merchandise is).
1) This iStock of Chicago Girl - Shopping on Michigan Avenue sums up what the exterior of the store must do within 30 seconds: capture the attention of passerby and get them to look inside and then walk into your store. Stores are competing with daylight so a compelling window display and a bright back wall is essential to catch the consumer's eye. Try this test, look in your window from the sidewalk, does anything stand out? look interesting? make you curious?
2) Getting customers into your store is a physical transition from daylight to artificial light in most stores. A space for customers to "land" and adjust their vision and pace is common practice. The size of this transition zone varies considerable from store to store depending on a myriad of factors.
3) Walkways, non-merchandise areas, and service areas need much less light than walls and merchandise. If customers can easily see what you have to sell, they are more likely to buy.
Editing of merchandise is one of the most important services that a retailer provides for customers, making sure the display is compelling is the "icing on the cake."
4) Baby boomers are retiring in record numbers and with record amounts of money. Baby boomers will be buying less than they have in the past BUT they will be buying better quality, high function and usability, items that make life more enjoyable, and items that help compensate for reduced sensory function.
Flooring, as an example, will need to be relatively "hard" (no pile, tight weave, easy to see, and easy to maintain for carpet) for feet that shuffle or for walkers that assist mobility. Wood, linoleum, vinyl, ceramic, and synthetic flooring will be preferred for durability, ease of maintenance, and safety.
5) Each generation has unique expectations and needs and retailers must be more attentive to the stated and unstated needs of each generation. Social media, on-line sales, links to supplier sites, and easy price comparisons are part of the retail experience; ignore these and risk sales.
6) Retail is a verb that implies thought, and action to create a compelling and pleasant retail experience. Why would anyone visit your store? What value do you have that another retailer does not? What 20% of merchandise is responsible for 80% of your sales and profit? Do you meet your customers' needs? What can you do better and smarter to insure the future of your business?
Thank you for your continued discussion on the business of retail and flooring, Arthur.
Thank you, Arthur!
I'd love to hear what your experiences have been using light to draw customers into your retail store.