Published on March 3rd, 2021 | by Sunit Nandi


How Lighting Affects How Customers Perceive Your Storefront

Marketing strategies have definitely shifted over the last decade to favor digital platforms and have come to focus nearly entirely on those versus physical or in person marketing efforts. But storefronts can still be a powerful marketing tool in themselves for strategically positioned businesses in well-traveled streets and shopping areas.

While physical storefronts may be dying as a concept, a well-designed storefront affects the perception of your entire brand—off AND online. If your physical location does not live up to its digital counterpart, your customers will feel cheated or even duped. People tend not to take kindly when a digital representation of a brand is not represented in cold hard physicality, as hypocritical as that may seem. Sometimes, you may wonder if you are better off not having a storefront at all!

But you can design a storefront that both grabs attention while still maintaining the integrity of your brand messaging. Here is Techno FAQ’s guide to using lighting in designing your storefront.

Neon Signs

Neon signs are ubiquitous in a number of competitive industries that rely on differentiating themselves from the competition. Usually, storefronts that utilize neon signage are doing so to also physically separate their storefront from an otherwise unremarkable street at large or, on the flip side, a super competitive strip where attention is fleeting.

Neon signs impart urgency in the minds of visitors. They leave bold impressions, start conversations, and get you noticed. So how does neon differ from others forms of lighting?

Neon lights work by filling up colored tubes with specific combinations of gasses that give neon lights their signature brightness. These tubes are bent into the desired shape, usually letters, and then the appropriate current “activates” the gasses so they light up. If you want to try them out, you can buy here.

The best part about neon signs is their versatility. There are few shapes that can be achieved and few brand messages that can’t be communicated. If you are thinking exclusively of the Las Vegas strip and gaudy bright lights, think again! “You can capture modern elegance easily with the right custom neon lights,” says Bakers Signs maker of neon signs in Houston. “Though technology has changed dramatically since the first appearance of Neon on the advertising scene, it is still preferred by many for that classic distinctive appearance.”

Warm vs Cool Lighting

Only you can speak to the branding of your specific storefront and what lighting just feels right to further that message, but there are some basic guidelines to consider. Overall, warmer colored lights tend to give off more intimate, cozier vibes, and cooler lights do the opposite, giving a sense of starkness and alertness.

Both have their pros and cons, obviously, depending on your goals. A bohemian boutique selling lingerie will have a very different set of clientele with very different needs than that of an advertising agency trying to court multimillion dollar brand deals.

You can get creative with these things, of course. As a general rule of thumb, colors that more closely mimic daylight are great for the purposes of encouraging feelings of productivity and creativity. So a storefront specializing in cute stationary can still get a lot of value out of cool colored lighting schemes.

If you are selling clothing or makeup or services related thereto, you want your customers or clientele to feel immediately comfortable in your space, so you should opt for colors that lean a little warmer. However, you will want to keep within that “soft white” range rather than embracing yellow tones, because you want your clients to see the full realization of your work on their face—and they need the right lighting to do just that.

Choose LEDs (When You Can)

LED Lights tend to emit a softer glow than their traditional counterparts. Some people chalk it up to the electroluminescence that LEDs emit, as opposed to the stark, straightforward light emitted by fluorescent and incandescent lighting choices.

LEDs also tend to be a more cost-effective option for storefront owners, which makes them an appealing choice for small businesses. Better yet, they are also the widely-preferred eco-friendly option when compared to fluorescent or incandescent bulbs of yesteryear.

If you want to project a modern, self-aware, and sustainable image, your lighting choices do in fact impact how true that rings in the subconscious of your shoppers. If you choose stark, fluorescent lighting, they might be reticent about buying into any of your brand messaging that positions your storefront as an eco-friendly haven.

On the flipside, a romantic, warm glow like those that may be emitted by some LEDs can make a professional business meeting pretty awkward. So it is true that LEDs might not be the right fit for every office. To be fair to fluorescent bulbs, they are also a more eco-friendly alternative to incandescent bulbs, though their unattractive appearance and the unappealing lighting schema they tend to project suggests otherwise.

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I'm the leader of Techno FAQ. Also an engineering college student with immense interest in science and technology. Other interests include literature, coin collecting, gardening and photography. Always wish to live life like there's no tomorrow.

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