small point sources with relatively high color temperatures to make gem- stones sparkle while favoring lower color temperature sources for areas displaying gold.” Weiland added that color quality and modeling are critical in effective retail lighting. “The higher the CRI, the better,” he said. “A higher CRI will render colors more vividly, which is especially critical when retailing items such as clothing, produce, or jewelry.” In 2015, the Illuminating Engin- eering Society published TM- 30, which proposes new color metrics that cover color fidelity similar to CRI but also gamut (saturation). While not standards, these metrics offer addi- tional tools that can be used to evalu- ate and predict color quality. Because shopping is primarily a heads-up visual activity, achieving good vertical light levels is often more important than horizontal light levels. It’s all about the sightlines, explained Sally Lee, market segment manager, retail, LEDVANCE ( ledvance.com). That and producing contrast to high- light key merchandise. “Depending on store design and merchandise dis- plays, once a general light level is es- tablished, the accent/feature display and vertical/perimeter lighting sys- tems can be determined,” she said. “For a just noticeable difference, two to three times the general lighting is required.” Lee added that for accent lighting to achieve the most dramatic and vis- ually interesting displays, a contrast of five to 10 times the ambient light level is most effective. “While all this is more easily taken care of in new construction projects, we find that a lot of accent lighting in existing stores has become marginalized over the years,” she said. “It’s worthwhile to check lighting contrast to make sure the accent lighting is doing its job.”
Seven Key Trends Foley, Lee, and Weiland pointed to several key trends that are at the lead-
ing edge of retail lighting design:
1. Customer experience Retailers are facing fierce competi- tion by other channels, such as online. Lighting can contribute to a unique shopping experience that keeps cus- tomers coming back. “Some retailers are installing consistent lighting as an extension of their brand,” Weiland said. “Some use lighting to create mul- tiple dynamic spaces to make their stores more of a destina- tion. And some are starting to experi- ment with and use visual light communi- cation in luminaires.”
2. Multimedia displays Many stores are using multimedia dis- plays to grab atten- tion, enhance the cus- tomer experience, and promote key products. “We are seeing a lot of big screens in retail right now, and working them into the lighting design successfully is deliber- ate,” Lee said.
3. LED lighting LED lighting is becoming increas- ingly popular in retail spaces in both new construction and upgrades. “LED lighting has become the proven path to better light for retail applications,” Foley said. “LED sources allow retail- ers to dramatically lower the cost of ownership through long life and high system efficacy and color rendering.”
4. Lighting controls LED technology increasingly is be- ing paired with lighting controls to satisfy energy codes and create just the right scene. “LED lighting opens up a whole new range of opportun- ities for dynamic lighting control,” Foley added. “While dimming control has long been available in various types of lighting, with LED, dimming has never been easier or more effec- tive. LED technology also enables color tuning to a user-preset or even installation-variable range of color temperatures.”
5. Daylighting Some retail stores have adopted daylighting as a means of improving lighting quality, notably CRI. “And where natural light is impossible, say, in the third floor of a mall, lighting technology like tunable-white can get a similar emo- tional reaction from customers,” Weiland said. “There’s even lighting that mim- ics clouds passing overhead.”
6. Integrate or decorate LED lighting more easily inte- grates into store fix- tures and architec- ture, making the lighting disappear. Alternately, the lighting can stand out as a decorative element. “Where can’t LEDs go?” Lee wonders. “They can even be worn. Lighting is a great tool to capture and direct consumer attention.”
7. Volumetric lighting Selecting luminaires that throw light on walls and ceilings can make a retail space appear larger and more inviting. “This is a particularly impor- tant trend in big-box retail where a lack of light on the high ceilings often creates a cavelike, gloomy effect, while glare can make it difficult to see prod- ucts on the top shelf,” Weiland said. “More and more high-bays and strip- lights are becoming available with direct uplight or more vertical foot- candles to create better illumination and lighting uniformity.” ; DiLouie, LC, principal of Zing Comm- unications ( zinginc.com), is a lighting industry journalist, analyst, marketing consultant, and author. Reach him at email@example.com.
Sure, light- ing is a cost, and some retailers initially see it that way, but light- ing is also necessary to help customers not only find what they are looking for, but also feel comfortable while engaging in the shopping experience.
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