A retail store should be designed with a few important goals in mind. It should be as inviting as possible to customers, display your merchandise in the most flattering way and, of course, allow your employees to work productively. To achieve all of these goals, you need to pay careful attention to your store’s overall atmosphere.
If you want your customers and employees to have a positive experience in your store, you need to make sure your store’s sound system, visual media displays and lighting all contribute to the experience.
Consider how you want customers to feel in your store, whether it be excited, comfortable, relaxed or inspired. Whatever emotions you want to evoke, your audio, video and lighting (AVL) system should help you accomplish this goal in addition to serving more practical purposes.
In this guide, we’re going to look at how you can leverage AVL technology to create a positive retail environment that employees and customers will enjoy, so your business can thrive.
The Importance of AVL in Retail Stores
It’s no secret that the world of retail has been significantly impacted by the rising popularity of online shopping. An e-commerce store can provide loads of information, photos, videos and reviews to help shoppers learn more about a product and make a buying decision. Even so, there are still many shoppers who prefer shopping in a brick-and-mortar store. Plus, research also shows shoppers tend to spend more when they shop in-store compared to online.
While online shopping offers some unique benefits, it can’t offer the same sensory experience that shopping in a retail store can. In a 2019 study, 78 percent of shoppers globally said an enjoyable in-store atmosphere plays a critical role in their decision to shop in a brick-and-mortar store rather than online.
Retail stores must capitalize on this edge by creating a positive sensory experience for shoppers. The sensory aspects of a store, including the lighting, sound, visual design and more, are sometimes referred to as atmospherics. All aspects of your store’s atmospherics should contribute to an enjoyable shopping experience.
One of the primary ways to create sights and sounds that make for a positive shopping experience is through quality audio, visual and lighting technology. Choice of lighting, visual media and sound are all crucial aspects of a store’s environment.
In recent years, some retail stores have started to take AVL technology a step further to offer more than a comfortable, pleasant environment that places products in the best light. AVL technology can also be harnessed to create a more modern, connected retail space that combines the advantages of both in-store and online shopping. In other words, you can use AVL technology to provide more information about products that will encourage shoppers to add them to their cart.
It’s clear that AVL is important for informing shoppers and encouraging them to make a purchase. However, well-designed AVL can also have practical benefits. For example, adequate lighting is essential to maintaining employees’ health and wellbeing and making it easy to work in the environment, and a loudspeaker makes it possible to communicate with shoppers or employees throughout the entire store.
The Benefits of Effective AVL Design
The sensory aspects of your store should influence your overall design. Every aspect of the client’s sensory experience, particularly when it comes to the sights and sounds in your store, should add value to a shopper’s experience. It should also enhance your employees’ experience working in your store. Some of the benefits you can enjoy with an effective AVL design include:
1. Reinforced Branding
Your brand is your company’s unique identity, and the design of your store should reflect that identity. Shoppers should be immersed in your branding through your store’s design, not just by seeing your logo on signs or your brand’s colors in the decor, but through more subtle ways. When it comes to branding, consistency is key.
For example, if your business’s branding is bright and energetic, you should have bright lighting to match. A dimly lit store will undermine your branding in this instance. If your branding is sleek and ultramodern, you need your store’s AVL technology to reflect that. Outdated systems or a lack of video screens will tell a different story. When your store’s design matches your branding, it will serve to reinforce that branding, which can lead to deeper connections between your business and your customers
2. Lingering Shoppers
A comfortable environment, especially one that feels like a cut above other stores, will encourage shoppers to stick around for longer periods of time. Remember, many shoppers prefer brick-and-mortar stores to online stores because of the sensory experience, so when this experience is well-designed, you can expect customers to take their time enjoying their shopping trip rather than dashing in and out. In fact, three-quarters of consumers reported they have stayed at a store longer because the right sensorial elements were in place.
If you have video media to help promote products, this can also encourage shoppers to pause to learn more about a product they may have otherwise strolled right past. Generally, the longer a shopper lingers at your store, the more they will spend, so encouraging customers to take their time is always a win for businesses.
3. Enhanced Products
A good design that takes advantage of AVL technology can also help bring products to life for consumers. This is especially critical for products that are less familiar to consumers, or that may be misunderstood without some explanation. Some big-box stores have discovered the value of including video screens with certain product displays to play infomercials or other types of informative content about the product.
Playing videos in-store helps to make up for the potential disadvantage retail stores face compared to online stores, where shoppers can click on videos that show off the product or read lengthy explanations of the product. An AVL design team, like Illuminated Integration, can help you work these video screens seamlessly into your store’s design, so they enhance the overall design rather than feel out of place or haphazardly included.
4. Improved Environment for Employees
Retail store owners should also consider the ways a thoughtfully designed store environment will contribute to employees’ wellbeing. For example, lighting is directly linked to mood and energy, so if you want employees to feel enthusiastic at work, adequate lighting is a must. However, the wrong kind of lighting or excessive brightness could have a negative effect on employees. This is where an expert in retail store lighting design can help you achieve the perfect balance.
Other aspects of your design also impact how employees function within your store’s space. Another example of how the AVL side of your store’s design can affect employees is in the sound system. A quality speaker system will allow employees to enjoy music while they work and will allow them to communicate clearly when they need to call a particular employee or request help from whoever is available.
5. Higher Retention Rate
Finally, when your store is well-designed, and customers have a positive experience shopping there, they will be more likely to return and become loyal customers. One survey found that nine out of 10 consumers have chosen to shop at a store again because they enjoyed the atmosphere. Especially as retail stores fight to compete with e-commerce, creating loyal customers is absolutely essential.
Imagine if customers associated your store with feeling energized, relaxed or uplifted. Or maybe they love the way the video content in your store helps them make more informed shopping decisions. Your store’s atmosphere may feel like more of an abstract concept, but with effective AVL design, you can directly influence the atmosphere your shoppers’ experience and encourage them to come back regularly.
Types of AVL for Retail Stores
When you work with a professional design and integration team like Illuminated Integrations, they will help you determine what types of AVL will work best in your retail store. It’s helpful to understand some of the different types of technology you can incorporate into your store, like:
For most retail stores, the audio system should provide a practical means of communication, as well as a source of background music to help you create the perfect atmosphere for shoppers. Therefore, to keep up with these retail audio best practices, the most popular type of audio system for retail stores is a distributed audio system.
This system allows for ongoing ambient music throughout the entire space, even if your store has multiple rooms or levels. It also provides a way for you to communicate with customers or other employees. A quality distributed sound system will allow you to communicate clearly.
If you’ve ever been in a store and heard a muffled voice over the loudspeaker and wondered what the employee was saying, then you know just how unhelpful some loudspeaker systems can be. You need a quality system that delivers crisp, clear vocals. The music that plays over the system should also be clear, so shoppers can enjoy it rather than feel like they’re listening to a radio with a poor signal.
There are many types of visual systems you can integrate into your retail store’s design. Examples of video systems Illuminated Integration provides include:
- Projection systems
- Camera systems
- LED walls
- Video walls
- Video distribution and switching systems
There are several ways stores can leverage visual media. For example, LED walls can serve as an eye-catching, artistic display. You can also use projection systems to turn a blank wall into an exciting, dynamic display. For example, a clothing boutique could show their clothing in action on the runway. The possibilities are endless, so it’s helpful to meet with a design consultant to help you choose the right types of visual media for your store.
Whatever type of display you choose to integrate, retail video and visual best practices dictate that visual media displays should be aimed at attracting and connecting with customers rather than feeling like a nuisance. Make sure your video displays add value to customers’ shopping experience.
The importance of lighting in retail stores really cannot be overemphasized. To enhance the overall environment, most retail stores will need four different types of lighting, each of which serves a distinct purpose:
- General (ambient): General, or ambient, lighting is the overall or main lighting source for your store. It is the primary way by which you provide a well-lit environment for employees and customers. Ambient lighting should flood the whole space to ensure there are no areas left in the dark.
- Task: Task lighting is high-performance lighting that ensures both employees and customers can clearly see everything they need to while they’re in your store. These lights are typically included in areas such as dressing rooms, service desks, checkout areas and entrances, where an extra dose of lighting is needed for tasks.
- Accent: Accent lighting is an excellent way to bring attention to shelves, products, artwork, displays and other important spots in a store. Accent lighting puts the spotlight wherever you want to direct a shopper’s focus. It’s most commonly installed as track or can lighting fixtures.
- Decorative: Decorative lighting is all about emphasizing your brand. A subtle way to do this is with a colored bulb that matches your brand. You can also choose decorative fixtures that match your branding. For example, a high-end jewelry store might have a chandelier hanging noticeably by its entrance, or a specialty auto parts store might feature a neon road sign.
There are endless possibilities for getting creative with retail store lighting design. Whatever mood or effect you want to create, the right lighting can help you do it. While this retail store lighting guide will give you a helpful start, you’ll want to meet with a consultant who can help bring your vision to life.
Achieve Your AVL Goals With Illuminated Integration
If you’re designing a new retail space or you want to take your existing store’s AVL to the next level, get in touch with our team of audio-visual design consultants at Illuminated Integration. We are a provider of full-service AVL solutions. That means you can trust our company to help you achieve your AVL goals through consulting and design all the way through implementation. Our turn-key service makes it easy for you to ensure your store’s AVL system gives the professional and positive impression you’re after.
Whether you want to ensure your store has audio, visuals, lighting or all three that will engage customers and keep them coming back, Illuminated Integration can help. Contact us today to learn how our team can help make your retail space a delight for all who visit and shop there.