Grocery stores and supermarkets are the quintessential examples of retail operations that are always on the cutting edge of industry technologies that might give them a competitive advantage.
Whether it’s signage designs, store layouts, endcap placements — you name it, grocery stores and supermarkets are always in the middle of some form of A/B testing, finding what works, what doesn’t, and maximizing their ROI.
And it’s in this pursuit of greater returns and ever-greater customer satisfaction that these stores invest heavily in both indoor and outdoor LED lighting.
But what are these leading retailers — like Wal-Mart, Target, and Whole Foods — actually getting from their investment in LED lighting?
More importantly, where can you implement LED lighting in your store to attract more customers, grow your sales, and generate positive ROI on your lighting investment?
To understand the returns they’re reaping (and the returns you could enjoy), let’s take a deep dive into the finer details of grocery store and supermarket lighting. And together, we’ll analyze where LED solutions are most effective, the impact they have on customers and market penetration, and how that translates into greater returns on your investment.
How Architectural and Outdoor LED Lighting Benefits Grocery Stores and Supermarkets
Naturally, your building’s exterior is where you make your first (and most memorable) impression on customers. But since COVID-19, the outdoor spaces of most retail sectors have transformed dramatically.
In less than a year, we’ve witnessed the transformation of many supermarkets’ outdoor areas from little more than parking lots into major customer service hubs complete with outdoor advertising, signage, and welcoming lighting as customers pull up for curbside delivery, drive-thru services, or shop in outdoor open-air departments.
For many retailers, this has underscored the need to use lighting as a means of not only illuminating these outdoor spaces and customer service hubs, but also as a way of tapping into customer emotion to help shoppers feel welcomed and safe.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at where architectural LED lighting and other forms of outdoor illumination can be strategically implemented, the effects they have on your shoppers, and how your lighting can help you attract customers and create memorable shopping experiences.
Architectural LED lighting attracts customers to your location and establishes the emotions you want them to feel toward your brand.
As humans, our attention is naturally drawn towards bright lighting and vibrant colors.
But just having any bright lighting or colors on the exterior of your building isn’t enough.
What grabs attention and ultimately earns that resulting foot traffic is the right combination of architectural lighting and colors and understanding the powerful emotional and psychological responses they invoke.
Let’s look at how different colors and bright lighting emotionally affect your customers and what messages your grocery store sends to them.
- Blue lighting: security, stability, and reliability
- Green lighting: health, calm, peacefulness, serenity
- Red, yellow, and orange lighting: excitement, energy, and activity
- Gold and beige-colored lighting: comfort, familiarity, coziness
- White lighting: Cleanliness, quality, safety
Think about some of the most prominent modern brands in the grocery industry. Let’s use Whole Foods as an example.
It’s known for being focused on health, offering higher-priced organic goods that attract a higher net worth customer base.
And their lighting and brand color choices? Perfectly in line with the chart above: They primarily have a green and white color scheme in their lighting. With this, they immediately reinforce the feelings of healthfulness, cleanliness, high quality, and the serenity in knowing you’re making the best choice for your family’s health.
Before a customer even sets foot in their store, they’ve grabbed their attention through their architectural lighting and used it as a powerful tool to set the emotional tone for the experience that customers can anticipate by shopping at their location.
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Architectural LED lighting helps you stand out from your competitors.
You know the adage: “Out of sight, out of mind.” When it comes to grocers standing out from their competition, it couldn’t be more accurate.
Regardless of the industry, customers will favor the storefront that’s better illuminated because it naturally engenders greater feelings of safety and brand quality.
If yours is the storefront that’s poorly lit and harder to see as the light begins to wane during the day, you’re likely losing valuable foot traffic to your better-lit competitors.
Moreover, when vibrantly lit, your grocery store’s exterior helps you to stay top-of-mind with the customers in your territory.
Even if they don’t have the time to stop by your grocery store right now, they’re reminded of where you are, and you’ve planted the seeds of the positive emotions and experiences they’ll eventually do stop in.
Bright outdoor LED lighting makes your property feel safer and cleaner to customers.
In a comprehensive study conducted by researchers at the Society of Light and Lighting, they found that no matter the circumstances, people naturally feel safer when they’re in a well-lit environment.
The very same psychological drive we have to seek out the nearest light or flame at night is the one that subconsciously urges us to favor the more well-lit supermarket, gas station, or restaurant.
And the data doesn’t lie: When this need is met — and vivid white lighting is used to provide consistent illumination in outdoor spaces — your customers feel that they can trust your brand, that your products are of higher quality, and that your stores are cleaner than your competition.
Outdoor LED lighting can help reduce loitering, vandalism, and theft.
LED lighting doesn’t just help customers feel safe; it can actually have a remarkable effect on the actual levels of theft and vandalism in your outdoor spaces.
When outdoor spaces — like grocery store parking lots and walkways — implement a vibrant LED lighting solution, crime rates have been shown to drop by more than 35%.
Moreover, your bright lighting also helps your existing security features — especially cameras — pick up more information as your outdoor spaces and the people coming and going are more brightly illuminated.
Illuminated walkways and landscapes make wayfinding easy and help reduce accidents.
Slips and falls are among some of the most common reasons why grocery stores find themselves in costly legal battles with customers and employees alike. And in many cases, poor illumination is often cited as a factor that contributed to the fall.
In such instances, your LED lighting can be a powerful deterrent to frivolous lawsuits or can help eliminate your store being found at fault due to poor lighting.
Most importantly, your exterior lighting can help people with disabilities more easily find their way around your outdoor spaces, such as walkways and parking lots.
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The Benefits of Interior LED Lighting for Grocery Store and Supermarkets
Architectural and outdoor LED lighting can have a remarkable effect on drawing customers into your store while making them feel safe and confident in their choice to choose your location to do their shopping.
As we get inside of the store, however, this is where LED lighting can help produce some of the largest returns on your investment — amplifying the perceived quality of your products, helping keep customers and staff safe, and even making food look more appetizing.
Let’s jump in and get a better understanding of how your grocery store or supermarket’s interior LEDs can be such a powerful benefit to your bottom line.
Interior LED lighting makes your food and products look more appealing.
When your foods and products are well-lit — especially when it’s similar to the color and depth of natural light — they’re more visually appealing to the customer’s eye.
And with the color options and level of control LEDs can give you over your lighting, you can have complete control over how your products are perceived by your customers:
- Freezers and coolers
- Meat counters and deli cases
- Produce coolers and shelves
- Heath and beauty aisles
- Garden and outdoor goods areas
Apart from just making your goods look more appealing, your LED lighting can also help keep some food items fresher for longer periods of time.
According to the University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources: “LED lighting in deli cases can leave hamburger meat looking fresher — and with more red color – longer than their incandescent counterparts.”
Here, your LED lighting is working double-time: making your food and products look more attractive while simultaneously increasing their shelf life.
Interior LED lighting helps keep customers safe and reduces incidents of liability.
Slips, trips, and falls are among some of the most common accidents that befall grocery store and supermarket customers.
In fact, according to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), supermarkets pay out more than $450,000,000 annually to victims of slips and falls that occur inside of their stores. And in many of those cases, poor lighting was mentioned as a contributing factor in the accident.
Additionally, LED lighting helps your grocery store employees — especially food workers — more readily catch issues with food spoilage, such as discoloration or changes in food texture, reducing the risk of costly contamination or liability.
Interior LED lighting helps prevent theft and other forms of shrinkage.
Retail shrinkage now totals more than $61.7 billion dollars annually, according to the National Retail Federation, with some of the top shrinkage sectors stemming from in-store and employee theft.
Regardless of the source of the shrinkage, thieves don’t like to be seen. To help combat theft, the NRF recommends keeping high-risk areas of potential shrinkage well-lit and highly visible.
With bright LED lighting, your grocery store can simultaneously make your interior spaces look cleaner, your products look more appealing, and help your store reduce overall theft.
How Interior LED Lighting Enhances Staff Productivity and Safety
Your store’s LED lighting isn’t just an effective tool for attracting customers and increasing sales; it’s also a significant force in helping your staff stay safe while boosting their productivity.
Your staff is more productive and alert.
White LED lighting (specifically lighting closer to 6000k) helps your staff feel more alert and increases their processing speed and reaction times by up to 15%.
Here, your LED lighting is providing direct ROI almost immediately by boosting the effectiveness of your workforce and helping prevent accidents that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Your staff notices spills, hazards, and other workplace safety issues more easily.
With vivid white LED lighting throughout the interior of your store, your staff can more easily notice the reflection of spills or spot trip hazards that may have gone unnoticed.
With 85% of all worker’s compensation claims attributed to employees slipping on spills or wet floors — and with each slip-and-fall incident leading to 31+ days missed from work — your LED lighting keeps your teams safe and productive while saving you money.
Your staff can spot damage or spoilage in products or food quicker.
Bright LED lighting helps your staff spot small abnormalities in food — such as changes in texture, color, or shape — that might signal spoilage and, in turn, make your customers sick.
Moreover, the level of visual detail afforded by your lighting also enables your teams to catch small cracks, breaks, or other dangerous irregularities in your physical goods and save you from costly accidents or liability suits.
How LED Lighting Helps Grocery Stores and Supermarkets Save Time and Money
LED technology has evolved by leaps and bounds over the past few decades, transforming it into one of the most cost-effective investments that any grocery store or supermarket can make.
Let’s dive in and examine how LED lighting helps grocery store owners like you save money, time, and energy every month.
LED lighting dramatically lowers your maintenance costs.
With the dramatically increased lifespan of LED lighting (often lasting more than 50,000+ hours) and the rugged durability of the technology, your store will save bundles on regular maintenance calls and the cost of labor.
LED lighting lowers your monthly energy costs.
With the massive energy savings that LEDs provide, it’s no wonder why getting more businesses to switch to LED lighting (or simply choose LED solutions from the get-go) is one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s biggest initiatives.
On average, most LED lighting solutions will use 75% less energy and last 25x longer than conventional lighting technologies. This translates directly into immediate month-over-month savings that roll in immediately after your grocery store’s LED installation is completed.
Your store may qualify for special tax incentives.
While not every territory, province, state, or city offers the same types of programs, many offer special incentives for retailers who upgrade their existing lighting to modern LED lighting solutions — putting more money back in your pocket.
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Conclusion: Understanding the ROI of LED Lighting for Grocery Stores and Supermarkets
As we’ve seen together, a grocery store’s investment in LED lighting doesn’t just affect customers; it affects nearly every aspect of the business’s operations, from customer acquisition to accident prevention:
- You attract more customers to your store.
- Your food and products look more appealing to customers.
- Your store stands out from your competition.
- Your property feels safer and cleaner to customers.
- Your lighting helps reduce vandalism and theft.
- You cut down on accidents inside and outside your store.
- Your staff can spot spoilage and hazards more easily.
- Your staff is more productive and alert.
- You save money every month on energy and maintenance.
These factors working together create a significant return on any grocery store’s investment in LED lighting.
If you’re ready to harness the transformative power of LED lighting for your grocery store or supermarket, we’re ready to get to work and help you maximize the ROI of your investment.
Let’s get started together.
- McCloughan, C L B et al. “The Impact Of Lighting On Mood”. Lighting Research And Technology, vol 31, no. 3, 1999, pp. 81-88. SAGE Publications, doi:10.1177/096032719903100302.
- Schmidt, Stephen. “College Of Agriculture, Food, And Natural Resources // Staying Fresh”. Cafnr.Missouri.Edu, 2021, https://cafnr.missouri.edu/2017/01/staying-fresh/. Accessed 12 June 2021.
- Wilms, Lisa, and Daniel Oberfeld. “Color And Emotion: Effects Of Hue, Saturation, And Brightness”. Psychological Research, vol 82, no. 5, 2017, pp. 896-914. Springer Science And Business Media LLC, doi:10.1007/s00426-017-0880-8.
- Bommel, Wout van. “Dynamic Lighting at work–both in level and colour”. 2006