4 Minute Read

The Impact of Lighting on Shopping Center Safety and Sales

Think about stepping into a store. What's one of the first things you notice – even subconsciously? Believe it or not, it's the lighting. Great lighting design doesn't just illuminate your shopping center; it shapes customer perception of safety, deters crime, and directly impacts how much they'll spend. Poor lighting can leave shoppers uninterested and less likely to explore, while a well-lit, strategically illuminated space can transform the experience entirely. It's the difference between a shopper rushing through and someone eager to savor the experience! Let's explore how strategic lighting influences mood, sales, and the overall shopper journey.


Why Lighting Matters: Improves Safety, Shopper Psychology & Profit

Lighting Improves Safety & Shopper Psychology

Feeling safe and secure is crucial for encouraging customers to take their time and enjoy their surroundings. Bright, uniform lighting helps achieve this. In shopping centers, warm lighting conveys relaxation and encourages browsing. In contrast, brighter, cooler lights signal energy and can increase impulse buys.


Shopping Center Lighting

Attention and Focus

Strategic lighting guides the shopper's eyes to your top priority sections of the shopping center. Accent lights zero in on new arrivals, special promotions, or standout merchandise, ensuring they make an impact. It's a way to visually direct foot traffic and keep customers engaged. For example, take a look at the image to the right of a shopping center, in which various stores used lighting to draw attention to their key displays, ensuring their best merchandise doesn’t get overlooked.


Product Appeal

Great lighting is a product's best friend. Imagine clothing under harsh fluorescent lights versus a fitting room bathed in flattering, natural-toned light. Well-designed lighting accurately showcases colors, textures, and the fine details of products, increasing their perceived value and desirability.


Practical Lighting Strategies That Boost Sales

Types of Lighting

A successful shopping center seamlessly integrates various lighting types:

  • Parking Lot Lighting: Forms the foundational base of general illumination.
  • Canopy Lighting: Strategically illuminates overhangs and covered walkways, ensuring storefront visibility, guiding foot traffic, and enhancing after-hours safety and appeal.
  • Accent Lighting: Creates focal points, pinpointing and emphasizing key displays.
  • Task Lighting: Serves functional, practical needs in areas like checkout counters and information booths.

Shopping Center


Temperature Makes a Difference (Warm vs. Cool)

The "color temperature" of light (measured in Kelvin) has a subliminal impact. Warm white light (around 2700K) creates a cozy, inviting vibe, while cool white (around 4000K) can make areas feel sharper and more focused. Tailor your choices to the specific ambiance you want to create in different zones of the shopping center. Take a look at the chart below to see a visual representation of different Kelvin temperatures and their corresponding ambiance.


Canopy and Soffit Lighting Showcase Tenant SpacesProduct Displays

Attract shoppers and highlight your tenant offerings with strategic canopy and soffit lighting. Think of this illumination as a visual invitation, setting the stage for what shoppers can discover inside your shopping center. This initial impression is crucial for drawing curiosity and increasing foot traffic into individual stores.


Navigation and Safety

Adequately lit paths, entrances, and parking areas provide a sense of comfort and security. Shoppers who feel safe are more likely to linger, explore, and ultimately spend more. Beyond shaping shopper experience, it's a proactive tool for increasing safety and security. Ample, well-designed lighting deters crime throughout your property, from parking lots to walkways and entries.

Research consistently confirms the positive correlation between effective lighting and reduced crime. For example, a study by the University of Chicago and Crime Lab New York demonstrated a notable decrease in crime rates in areas where lighting was enhanced. Additionally, housing developments with intelligent lighting systems reported a substantial 36% reduction in personal- and property-related incidents. For shopping centers, this translates directly to safety: customers who feel secure are far more likely to visit during evening hours, spend more time browsing, and become loyal patrons – directly enhancing your bottom line.


Lighting Design Trends for Property Managers

Energy Efficiency = Cost Savings

LED lighting shines bright in efficiency. Switching to LEDs not only cuts your electricity bill but is also good for the environment. LEDs have a longer lifespan and emit less heat compared to traditional options, resulting in significant savings.


Dynamic and Interactive Lighting

In the age of experience, customizable lighting solutions offer possibilities to elevate your space. Programmable smart lighting can create color palettes that shift for day and night, special events, or to promote different brands within the shopping center. Interactive elements that respond to shoppers bring an additional memorable element.


Natural Light and a Sense of Well-Being

Harness the power of natural light. Spaces awash with daylight improve well-being, and shoppers respond positively. Skylights, strategically placed windows, and reflective surfaces bring the outdoors in, maximizing positive effects.


Beyond the Bulbs: Lighting Maintenance

Flickering lights or burnt-out bulbs detract from the shopping center's image. Implement a robust maintenance plan to ensure lighting is dependable, bright, and supports the aesthetic you curate.


Case Studies: Real-World Lighting Impact

Strategic lighting drives sales, foot traffic, and customer satisfaction:

  1. Company: Korman Commercial Properties

  • Problem: Korman's properties were using outdated and inefficient lighting systems, resulting in high energy costs and subpar lighting quality.
  • Solution: Stouch Lighting implemented a comprehensive energy-efficient LED lighting retrofit across multiple Korman properties. This included interior and exterior upgrades.
  • How it Helped:
    • Significant cost savings: Korman reported substantial reductions in energy costs due to the LED upgrades.
    • Improved lighting quality: The new LED lighting systems created a brighter,more visually appealing environment across the properties.
    • Enhanced maintenance: LEDs have a longer lifespan than traditional light fixtures, leading to reduced maintenance costs and hassle for Korman.
    • Environmental benefits: Switching to energy-efficient lighting aligns with Korman's commitment to sustainability.


Kohls Shopping Center Lighting

  1. Company: Kohl's

  • Problem: Kohl's needed to update its aging parking lot lighting system, reduce energy consumption, and improve maintenance costs.
  • Solution: Stouch Lighting implemented a full-scale outdoor LED lighting conversion. This involved replacing outdated lights and poles throughout Kohl's parking areas.
  • How it Helped:
    • Safety and Energy Savings: The new LED fixtures increased light levels and created a safer, more inviting environment while substantially reducing Kohl's energy usage.
    • Reduced Maintenance Costs: LEDs have an extended lifespan, significantly reducing the time and expenses associated with traditional light bulb replacement and maintenance.
    • Customer Experience: Brighter, more modern lighting design creates a better shopping experience, especially during evening hours.
    • Environmental Responsibility: Energy-efficient LEDs support Kohl's commitment to sustainability initiatives.

Shopping Center Lighting


Investing in Lighting

Smart lighting isn't an expense – it's an investment in the success of your shopping center. Lighting plays a silent but powerful role in shopper behavior. Strategic illumination entices exploration, highlights merchandise to best advantage, and creates a vibrant and inviting atmosphere that translates to higher sales and happier return customers.

At Stouch Lighting, we specialize in customized lighting solutions tailored to the unique needs of shopping centers. Our experts will craft a plan to highlight your space, attract more footfall, elevate the overall customer experience, and maximize your center’s safety. Reach out today and let's work together to illuminate your path to success!