Lessons Grocers Can Learn From Department Stores: Lesson Three—Lighting

By Andrew McQuilkin

Great lighting is the best way to catch shoppers’ attention and sell more product. The best approach is a layered one. Start with functional lighting that ensures shoppers can clearly read labels and employees can perform their jobs. Then add more lighting to spotlight key messaging, displays, and architecture.

Roche Bros. West Roxbury

Grocery: In most grocery stores, high-bay lights placed at standard 16-foot intervals and long runs of continuous strip lights provide basic illumination with no differentiation. Sometimes, track lighting highlights produce bins while functional can lights are installed above service counters.

Department stores: Historically, department stores have utilized a sea of fluorescents over the merchandising areas and a moon-scape of recessed incandescent lights over aisles and showcases. Track lighting illuminates visual walls and displays, while decorative pendants and sconces are used for architecture and highlighted rooms.

Advice: Start with a base level of lumens to help shoppers read signage and labels, as well as to simply see the products. Add and aim spot lighting for apparel and produce displays to highlight from a distance, as well as enhance the products’ textures by creating deeper shadows. Plan out where to subtract light for dramatic contrast. Don’t forget to use any available natural daylight, as its proven effects include improving mood and lengthening the time people spend in stores.

This is Lesson Three of “Lessons Grocers Can Learn From Department Stores.” Make sure to check out Lessons One and Two if you haven’t already.

Andrew McQuilkin

For over 30 years, Andrew has served in key design leadership roles in the retail industry. In his role as Retail Leader, Andrew is responsible for leading the retail design and architecture team’s expertise in branding, store planning, interior design, merchandising, building architecture and rollout for retail clients. Andrew has extensive knowledge and background in the planning, design, and execution of specialty brands, gourmet grocery, and department stores with industry-recognized projects including six Store of the Year Awards.