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A New Way To Cool Led Light Fixtures Heightens Led Functionality

A New Way To Cool Led Light Fixtures Heightens Led Functionality A New Way To Cool Led Light Fixtures Heightens Led Functionality

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Try creating shadows around displays and use spotlighting to highlight products on important shelves. Use strategically placed lights to point at where you want customers’ eyes to go.

In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.” —Aaron Rose, photographer

I’ve been using LED lights in my home for several months now, and overall the transition has been good. As you consider your lighting options, here a few things that you might not know about LEDs.

Have you tried a lighting strategy that has helped contribute to an increase in sales for your retail business? If so, tell us about it in the comments.

You get instant full light. You get the full brightness of an LED bulb when you turn it on, which is an advantage over CFLs in a couple of ways. For starters, you don’t need to wait for full light if you’re running in and out of a room. But frequent cycling also degrades the life of CFLs, one of the reasons that CFLs in some cases don’t last as long as expected.

Get valuable tips, tricks, and advice on how to build a profitable and thriving retail business.

As in the above example, the lighting is dimmer in the walkways and the products are highlighted with bright spotlights. This lighting strategy places a visual emphasis on LV’s iconic products and draws customers immediately to shelves. 

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There are several different types of retail lighting, including:

In an unscientific test last night at my house, I saw moths and mosquitoes fly right past my outdoor LED bulb; they were not attracted to the light. Consumer LED bulb maker Pharox advertises its bulbs as having no UV, so it’s something worth checking when you’re shopping around.

Physical aspects of your store create the overall feel of your retail experience. Light is one of the ways that retailers can create a pleasant atmosphere for their customers. How people feel when they enter your store can affect their mood, as well as how they perceive your brand and products.

Lumens, of course, measure the amount of light, with a 60-watt equivalent giving off at least 800 lumens. But LEDs are also sold by color temperature, either warmer yellow light or cooler white light. And then there’s color rendering index, with the highest being the best for light quality.

But what about lighting design? While lighting may be an afterthought for many retailers who are just starting out, retail lighting can provide much more than simple ambiance. This basic utility can also impact your sales and customer experience.

The stated reason that bugs don’t fly toward LEDs is because bugs are attracted to ultraviolet light and at least some LEDs don’t give off this type of light. But that’s not universally true for all types of LEDs, according to people who have commented online. In one discussion, an employee from EnergyCircle said that most residential LED bulbs give off almost no UV light.

I’ve become more conscious of this and put LEDs in places where lights are cycled on and off quickly. CFLs, meanwhile, are in light fixtures and lamps which typically stay on for extended periods. Consumer Reports found turning CFLs on and off in less than 15 minutes degraded their life.

LEDs come in funny shapes. Lighting manufacturers have tried to make LED bulbs as familiar-looking as possible, most importantly by having a screw-in connector. But there are limits to mimicking the Edison-style bulb.

FURTHER READING: If you’re looking for more in-store strategies to boost sales, check out our guide to visual merchandising.

Warmer color lights will be more familiar since they’re closer to the yellow glow of a CFL or incandescent. But I found I like the cooler, white light of the Lighting Sciences Group bulbs, rated at a cooler 3000 Kelvin, which I find a little cleaner. As for color quality, I can’t put my finger on why, but I’ve been very happy with the light from a Pixi bulb which has a 96 color rendering index–higher than the others I have.

 So, how can you leverage your lighting design to bolster your bottom line? Let’s take a look at how you can create a lighting strategy that will work for your store and your products. 

“Snow cone” LEDs, where the top half is a bulb shape, best resemble incandescent bulbs but light is given off in only one direction. So you’ll get more light from the top of a desk lamp, for example, than the bottom. CFLs or incandescents give off light in all directions.

One way to create an atmosphere with your lighting strategy is through the light fixtures that you use. Select vintage fixtures, chandeliers, or dome lighting to create a more intimate feel, versus recess, track lighting, or suspended fixtures to help create more of a professional atmosphere.

The most recent bulbs to come to market address this light dispersal problem very well. I’ve been testing a Lighting Sciences Group 60-watt equivalent for the last week or so and it does indeed give off far more even light than the company’s own snow cone-type bulbs.

The price for the more even light dispersal is odd-looking bulbs. The LSG bulb has a squat disk for a light source and the rest of the bulb is a heat sink made of metal fins that make up most of the actual bulb.

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To decide what kind of atmosphere you want your lighting to create, think about how you want customers to feel when they walk in your store. Warm, soft lighting can make people feel relaxed and comfortable, while brighter lighting helps customers see products more clearly, such as in the Louis Vuitton flagship store in London: 

Related stories: • LED bulbs in the home: So far, so good • Philips Lighting CEO: LED prices to drop in half • LED bulb makers target 100-watt brightness • LED bulbs move in and mix up home lighting

Not every product and display is creating equally — you can’t highlight every area of the store with contrast lighting because then there wouldn’t actually be any contrast. By using strong contrast sparingly, you can focus on drawing your customers to sales areas, new items, or high-ticket products.

If you’ve heard about residential LED lightbulbs, you probably know that they’re energy-efficient, last a long time, and are pricier than other lightbulb technologies.

One of the ways that you can create an inviting atmosphere in your store is by using a warm or cool temperature of lighting — there are benefits to both color schemes. Lux states that “Cool color temperatures such as cool white make areas appear more spacious whereas warm color temperatures create an impression of smallness and familiarity.”

You will need to learn some lighting lingo. We still talk about 60-watt and 75-watt equivalent bulbs because that’s what we’re accustomed to. But some manufacturers are using new labels that give people far more information than brightness, which is worth understanding as lighting gets more diverse.

When setting up your retail store, there are a lot of questions to answer: how to best display your products, where certain products should go, how the general layout of your store should look, and much more.

A recent study from Lux suggests that in-store lighting can actually help guide customers through your store, and increase the average spend per customer: “Zumtobel claims a fashion retailer in Germany saw its sales go up by around 12% compared to another local store, after it installed a new lighting scheme specially designed to appeal to the personality profile of its target customers.”

That’s not to say that heat isn’t at all an issue. LED bulbs do get hot but the heat is dissipated by metal heat sinks that wick away the heat from the light source itself. Keeping them cool with heat sinks or even liquid cooling, as Switch Lighting is doing, is important to ensuring they last as long as advertised.

Break up your space with a mixture of light fixtures in different parts of your store, like the entrance versus the changing rooms. Regardless of the fixtures you choose, match your lighting strategy to your brand identity and product offerings.

Online retailer EnergyCircle actually measured the difference and found that a halogen bulb, a type of incandescent bulb, ran at 327 degrees! A Cree LED downlight was measured at 107 degrees and a Philips Par38 CFL worked at 167 degrees.

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Lux suggests “Retail lighting should be high contrast, making perception easier and heightening levels of attention.” By using multiple sources of light in your retail store, you can create contrast around your products — drawing the attention of your customers towards the shelves and making it easier to see the details of the individual products.

You may need to try different types of lights in your store to see what best suits the environment that you’ve created, as well as what shows off your products in the best light. Walk through your competitor’s’ stores and see how they’re lighting their products and/or test different lighting strategies in your own store to see what shows your products in the best light. Also, don’t be tied to only one type of light — many retail stores mix and match different types of lighting throughout the store to get the best of both worlds.

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Ambient lighting: This refers to your store’s overall lighting concept. Ambient lighting creates the overall atmosphere in your store and has the largest impact. For example, if you had a large light fixture in the center of your store, this would create the ambient lighting in the space.

Accent lighting: This “spotlight” type lighting allows storefronts to draw attention to a few products. In the Louis Vuitton example above, the store uses accent lighting to highlight its luxury handbags and accessories.

This technique is common in luxury stores. High-activity lighting: Traditional lighting concepts often leave stores with dark corners and shadowy spots. But high-activity lighting focuses on covering the entire space with bright lights to eliminate the possibility that customers will miss any of your products.

Why Bulbs Matter: LED versus Florescent

FURTHER READING: Learn how retailers encourage sales with sight, smell and sound.

Traditionally, brick-and-mortar locations have relied heavily on florescent lights for their stores, but recently many retailers have switched to LED lighting. LED lighting is a cost-effective, energy efficient option for your retail store. In the article Use Lighting to Make Your Retail Products Shine, proprietors from lighting store Premier Lighting state that: “While any type of lighting is useful, store owners are particularly seeing measurable benefits from using LED lights. These types of lights are bright, small, and illuminate targeted areas — all traits you need in lights intended for retail spaces.” 

LEDs don’t attract bugs. Pixi Lighting, which makes LEDs, lists “no bugs!” (that is, insects) as one of the reasons to use LEDs. But if you look at discussions online, it’s not so clear-cut.

LEDs are cooler. When you’re running fans or an air conditioner this summer, having burning-hot incandescent bulbs just makes it harder to manage the heat. LEDs run much cooler than incandescent bulbs and significantly cooler than CFLs.

Bonus: 40-watt equivalents bulbs are underrated. Some of the first general-purpose LED bulbs I tested were rated with the light output of a 40-watt equivalent. I found that they were not quite enough to light up a whole room, but they do the trick in more places than I thought. For example, I have a small LED for an outdoor light and one in the basement. These aren’t spots where I’ll spend time reading a book so these energy-sippers have fit in nicely.

A great example of using lighting design to both create an atmosphere and reflect your branding is The Whisky Shop’s low lighting and neon wings:

So, if you have a small store that you’re trying to make feel larger, consider using cool lighting. Or, if you’re trying to invoke a sense of familiarity or nostalgia in your store then you’ll want to use warmer-toned lighting.

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In the article 6 ways to maximize your LED lighting strategy, Topco states that “chosen lighting can have a significant emotional impact, directing shoppers to key merchandise and hugely affecting how they perceive your overall business.”

Lighting is part of a larger in-store strategy for your retail business and your brand. Now you better understand that the right lighting can help boost sales and create a great customer experience for your store.

So, how should you use LED lighting in your store? In the Entrepreneur article Lighting Up Your Store — and Your Sales they found that “even the best LED lights might not be the right choice for your store, says Eric Strandberg, senior lighting specialist for Seattle-based Lighting Design Lab, an education, training and consulting organization. Other options like linear fluorescent lights, for example, might be better for general lighting, while LED bulbs would be more appropriate for accent lights.”

For wide displays where you want to highlight a large area, instead of pinpointing a single product, try backlighting your displays. Softer backlighting is particularly effective at drawing attention to shelves that are lower to the ground and might otherwise be overlooked.

 Don’t forget about lighting your store windows in a way that entices customers to enter your store: “In shop windows, use pinpoint accenting to emphasize perceived contrasts. In the evening and when there is little daylight, even low illuminance levels are sufficient.” High contrast in window displays is a great way to catch the eyes of passersby.

Backlighting also works to keep customers lingering at the shelves longer as they navigate through the items on each shelf. Additionally, backlighting can be used to achieve a softer, more intimate environment, as the lack of sharp contrast is more appealing to the eye: “Wide-area backlighting of shelves produces a more attractive effect than accent lighting only.”

Philips’ LED bulbs have a crown-like light source and a similar aluminum heat sink. But their recently released 75-watt equivalent bulb has a noticeably longer heat sink than the 60-watt equivalent Philips LED, which is something to consider. When I tried it at home, the 75-watt equivalent, called the 17-watt A21 LED, was too long to fit into a small overhead fixture.

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