One of the most prominent factors that shape consumer perception is atmosphere perception. Lighting is a valuable element of the atmosphere which is an important subject of retailing. Lighting also acts as a communication tool that provides cues on store image. Therefore strong brands take the effect of lighting on atmosphere perception into account while designing stores.
In the past, lighting designs focused more on functional aspects such as visibility and visual comfort, nowadays the psychological effects of lighting on experience and feelings are also considered. Lighting designers adjust intensity (low/high), distribution (directional /diffuse), and shade (cool vs. warm) of the light by keeping psychological effects in mind.
Designing an appealing store not only encourages purchasing, but also enhances the shopping experience. Therefore lighting design that affects customers’ affective and behavioral responses can shape shopping behavior. Customers who are pleased or annoyed by lighting in the store may present behavioral reactions such as increasing/ decreasing the time spent in the store, purchasing, or revisiting.
Different cultures may react to lighting differently. According to a research, warmer shades encourage American customers to enter the store while cooler shades are more convincing for Korean consumers. The products that the stores sell should be considered while implementing lighting strategies. For example, cool lighting may be beneficial for electronics, books, and sports products’ sellers while warm lighting may be good for gift shops or luxury clothing retailers. Another research also suggests that different lighting adjustments affect perception. Wall washing creates clarity, cove lighting enhances spaciousness and uplighting creates a relaxing, private, and pleasant impression. Yet another study presented that warm lighting creates nice feelings, increases perceived coziness, liveliness, and decreases tension.
In conclusion, when considering the importance of store atmosphere in creating a corporate image, lighting design that gives the right message is a successful store management strategy. Appropriate lighting enhances customer experience and creates a positive perception.