When designing retail display systems, there are a number of factors that can influence their success or failure in driving customer interest and sales.

Although it often seems to be an afterthought, how the displays are lit can strongly impact their overall appearance. With good-quality, well-placed lighting, the success of a retail display can be greatly enhanced.

While all lighting used in retail displays is important, the first type that a customer is likely to notice is ambient lighting. This is the main lighting in the store, and it should be used to make sure that customers feel comfortable from the moment that they enter. Getting this right is key to keeping customers in the store to browse and make purchases. If the ambient lighting is too dim, the store will seem uninviting, but very bright lighting will seem garish as well as overwhelm the other in-store lighting. Brighter lighting can play a part in areas such as changing rooms or the checkout so that customers can clearly see what they are doing, but this level of lighting is unlikely to be appropriate throughout the store.

Contrasts in lighting are an effective method of commanding attention. Accent lighting should, therefore, form a contrast with the ambient lighting to highlight the parts of the store that you want customers to notice, such as a prominent display or even a particular item. Used to illuminate products from above or below, accent lighting can make items look more appealing. It is also highly effective in display cases, allowing the products inside to be clearly seen. Signage is another area that can benefit from accent lighting, as it draws attention to information on a new range or highlights a bargain.

Lighting should also be used to reflect the image of the store and there is a vast range of different lighting styles that can be used to enhance its appearance. Sleek, metallic spotlights will bring a futuristic style to a technology store, while softer lights with shades might be used to create a homely atmosphere in a traditional craft shop.

One of our newest products, the Fabric Wall system, is a great example of how lighting can play a significant role in the look of a retail space. Not only is Fabric Wall a cost-effective and simple solution for kitting out your space without the need for professional shopfitters, but the addition of LED illumination to particular panels can really make part of the design stand out. This can be a great way of highlighting key messages, design elements or products.

While in-store lighting is vitally important in attracting and retaining customers, ensure that you do not neglect the lighting of the window displays. These displays are one of the hardest-working forms of advertising, promoting the business all the time, even when the store is closed. The lighting here can be brighter than inside the store, helping the establishment stand out on a busy high street. It is also a good idea to consider how window display lighting appears after dark. An attractive, brightly lit display can look very appealing, even if only glimpsed from a car driving past, and it may encourage passers-by to return during opening hours to take a closer look.

Effective retail displays can often represent a significant investment on the part of companies. Make the most of them with good-quality lighting to draw attention and enhance these displays — it could be critical to their success.