We’re six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and now, businesses, governments, and everyday people have realized that this is the new normal – at least for the foreseeable future. Make no mistake: we’re still in the middle of this pandemic but it does seem, more and more, that we may be nearer to the end than the beginning.
The COVID-19 pandemic drove customers away from stores, shut down businesses, and ground the global economy to a screeching halt. But now, as healthcare restrictions have begun to ease, most businesses are chomping at the bit to reopen their doors, even as most people have begun resuming parts of their regular life.
But in an anxious and tentative post-coronavirus environment, reopening your store isn’t as simple as flipping over your open-for-business sign.
Even with these rolled back restrictions, 67% of people still aren’t comfortable visiting a retail clothing store, and 78% are not comfortable sitting down at a restaurant. Fear and anxiousness are the last emotions that business owners want customers to associate with their physical stores once offline retail shopping starts again.
So now that the world has begun to return, retailers must think strategically to prevent temporary disruption from becoming a permanent end.
Ensuring an in-store environment that makes shoppers feel safe is critical to drawing people back in, and while safety measures such as distanced-shopping, sanitizing, no-touch retail go a long way to reassuring customers of a safe shopping experience, there’s more that store owners can do to convince customers of their absolute safety.
Enhance safety while increasing brand impact
Consciously or otherwise, a key factor that determines whether passers-by will go into a store is the perception that it is safe. One way for stores to feel welcoming and safe is appropriate lighting.
Several studies have indicated findings that support the narrative that LED lighting helps make people feel safer because people are able to monitor their surroundings more effectively. Even if a store has great products and solutions to offer, if it is not well lit it could potentially lose multiple customers.
Effective backlighting solutions can bring a new dynamic and will help to establish your store as the place to go for regular shopping trips. Proper lighting can drive customers to spend more time in your store, spend more money, and have a higher chance of returning to your store. These customers will most likely even recommend your store to their friends and loved ones, simply because they looked and felt great.
According to a study conducted by researchers at the Royal Institute of Technology, a shop’s brightness is significant for consumers, but so are colour temperature and rendering.
Lighting plays a significant role in fashioning a space that will attract your customers. Plus, safety doesn’t have to come at the expense of brand impact. With well-lit LED light boxes or snap frames, it is possible to increase store illumination and enhance brand appeal.
Design is defined by light and shade, and appropriate lighting is enormously important.-Albert Hadley
Unfortunately, most retail store designers limit themselves to thinking about downlighting as the only form of illumination in a store. This approach, however, is extremely restrictive as backlighting offers far more visual options to leverage.
Illuminated display units, feature backlit walls, shelves as accents-no matter the form, backlighting has one primary role: to create visual focal points that draws the eye into the space. This visual layer can work towards the expression of a brand and give it character, and when used alongside architectural lighting it can be a cost-effective way to fit-out a large store with an impactful brand standard.
Essentially, every store lighting designer must remember a simple truth: lighting has evolved and is now much more than mere ceiling downlights and needs to incorporate backlighting to create a more fully encompassing store environment.
Lighting as subtle branding
People today have access to a variety of information, unlike a decade ago. (Hello, internet!) You can’t trick people into buying your product or service. They know if you’re outwitting them into purchasing something from you, which could lead to resentment. Customers are smarter, and make informed decisions, which makes marketing even harder.
In this environment, subtlety is key. Subtle ads don’t hard-sell. Instead, they use psychology to convince customers to close the deal. They tend to work much better, because the customer is doing the legwork to convince themselves that the decision is theirs alone.
This is precisely the effect that good lighting has on a customer. Quality LED light taps into people’s minds, changing how they perceive their environment. If you strategically use lights for advertising or selling, that’s half the battle won.
You need light in all areas of a retail store, but certain areas require extra attention—for instance, signage. It is well known that retail signage plays a significant role in increasing a store’s footprint.
But what happens when your storefront is located in a setting with several other businesses? Or when a product is competing for attention? In situations like that, it becomes critical to ensure that your storefront looks unique, and the products that you are looking to highlight in-store make an impact.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by deploying LED backlit signage.
Backlit display graphics refer to any graphic print that has a light source behind it. Backlit signs increase brand visibility, give an edge over competing signs & helps your message be seen.
When you choose to deploy backlit signs as part of your storefront display, it helps cut through the immediate surroundings’ uniformity and grab attention. Not only does the viewer get attracted to the sign, the sign holds their attention long enough for them to absorb the message.
Another way to integrate backlighting is in architectural features such as walls, countertops and facades.
Vision is the main sense through which we enjoy architecture, and lighting enhances the way we perceive architecture even more. Quality lighting can help bring an emotional value to architecture – helping shape an experience for those who occupy the space. Light draws attention to textures, colors, and forms of a space, helping architecture achieve its true purpose. With backlighting, architecture can even surpass its original design potential!
If you have projects in mind that require thinness and uniformity in lighting quality, our range of premium backlighting products could be the perfect solution!
Designed for scalability, the Omnify range of backlighting products is mappable across large areas, perfect for single and double-sided projects, dimmable, and can be cut to size to suit any of your installation needs. In some cases, we even offer mechanical flexibility in projects through products like our Matrix lightsheets!
Choosing the right backlighting product is important to improve ROI
Picking the best backlighting product for your signage can sometimes be complicated, but it shouldn’t be challenging. If you want to be confident that you’re picking a top-of-the-line backlighting product, consider the patented and award-winning LumiSheet™ or the revolutionary OmniSheet™ that are flagship products within the panels range of the Omnify Lighting family.
With custom sizes and fully tunable colours, OmniSheet™ lets you create the backlit signage that’s just right for your needs. Further, with a CRI of 95+, OmniSheet™ is an excellent light source for slim light boxes, laser cut lightboxes or other signage types that are typically used in retail.
LumiSheet™ is an equally fantastic alternative and has even be used as a decorative accent light source for the entertainment industry because of its distinctive smooth, even light quality, and ability to be cut into custom shapes.
We know that light affects our mood and that people emotionally respond to how a place is lit. Since lighting design arouses emotions, it is easier for customers to unconsciously recall the experience they had with the brand.
Visuals always set impressions; lighting is essential to create the perfect customer’s experience to get a good lasting impression.
And while there is a lot that must happen now on the safety front, retailers need long-term plans involving ways in which backlit lighting can be integrated into store design and whatever we learn from the deeper integration with light design is going to be a playbook going forward for the retail industry.