Lighted Retail Displays- Is it Worth the Investment?

A lot of brands and retailers are on the fence about adding lights to their retail display. There is little doubt that lighting can improve the visual presentation of a display, increase product visibility, and attract more shopper attention. Given that the majority of store displays do not include lights, lighted retail displays almost always stand out relative to the competition.

In 1924, Hawthorne Works, a Western Electric factory, commissioned a study to determine if workers would become more productive with changes in lighting. Dubbed “The Hawthorne effect,” the study found that worker productivity increased even with minute changes in illumination. Subsequently, numerous studies of lighting in retail environments suggest that sales increase with more/better lighting.

For example, German fashion retailer Gerry Weber added accent lighting and increased lighting levels from 450lx to 600lx in one of its stores. Sales increased by 12% compared to another store that did not get the lighting upgrades. Another Dutch supermarket study showed that when they upgraded the lights from fluorescent to LED lights in half the store, the half with  the better lighting increased sales by 2% compared to the non-upgraded half of the store.

LED lighting, in particular, offers a number of advantages over traditional fluorescent lighting, including: energy efficiency, low power consumption, long lifespan, environmental friendliness (no heat or UV emissions produced), affordability, and design versatility. Despite these advantages, LED lighting can add anywhere between 10%-25% to the cost of a display, depending on the type of display so it is important to carefully consider if LED lighting is right for your display before making the investment.

If, for example, your POP display is likely to stay in a store for a year or more, you will have more opportunity to amortize the incremental cost of the LED lights than if your display was part of a seasonal or promotional retail program in which the display would be instore for only a few months. Another practical consideration is access to power. While there are battery-powdered LED lighting options, they tend to be more expensive and bulkier while also requiring service (recharging batteries). Understanding whether or not you will have access to power will help determine if your investment in LED lighting is worth it.

Let’s look at some examples of how LED lighting can be used to enhance your retail display. One of the most popular uses of lighting in retail displays is a lightbox. Lightboxes are most often used to back light a graphic or logo as a means of capturing shopper attention. The AquaSphere lightbox shown below is an example of slatwall-mounted lightbox that we designed to draw attention to the brand as well as highlight the assortment of products below.

LED lighting can also be used to create a lighted back panel. The 9Five Eyewear display shown below includes a header lightbox and also has a back-lit rear panel which makes the sunglasses pop.

Lighting can also be used to highlight a single product. The Moet Hennessy example below shows how we used light under the bottle to focus attention on the bottle as well as lighting under the entire slanted platform topper.

Similarly, LED lighting can be used on counter displays both to illuminate products and create tasteful logo treatments. We used frosted acrylic on the base platform and the upper platform with green LED backlighting. We laser cut the logo out of sheet metal and back lit the letters.

For even greater impact, LED lighting can be used in multiple places within a display. The Wild Turkey event kiosk is an example of how lighting can be used to brighten the overall presentation and strengthen the image of the brand. We used LED lighting in the front and back cabinets as well as gooseneck overhead lighting at the top to highlight the Wild Turkey brand.

Another example of using different types of lighting is the Club Nirvana mall kiosk we created. We used LED lighting in the overhead lightbox as well as in the main cabinet sections. It proved to be an effective way of capturing shopper attention in a busy and crowded mall environment.

Illuminating your retail display is a proven way to make your product stand out and differentiate your brand from the competition. Incorporating LED lighting can increase your return on investment, but we recommend careful consideration of cost and access to power prior to making the investment.

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