JCK Las Vegas: Get Light Right

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The quality of a store’s lighting has three overlapping considerations. Kate Peterson, president of Performance Concepts, discussed these and other illuminating facts about lighting during her “Lighting the Way: Capitalizing on Lighting to Improve Total Business Performance” seminar on Friday.

Kate Peterson, president of Performance Concepts, dished on lighting during JCK Las Vegas.

The three considerations are human needs (performance, comfort, and safety issues for employees), architectural needs (highlighting interior design features in your store such as colors and tones as well as style and form), and economic and environmental needs (energy-efficient lighting that’s easy to operate and maintain and that lowers utility bills).

Lighting has emotional and physical properties that can influence employees’ and customers’ attitudes, and Peterson discussed the feel-good effect good lighting can have on these two groups.

The effect on employees can make them friendlier in dealing with customers while making them more productive and focused. And feel-good lighting will not only get customers in your store but also encourage them to remain longer. It can make customers feel better about themselves, spend more money, and experience an enjoyable retail experience that will bring them back. “Yes, good lighting can actually close more sales,” said Peterson.

She discussed the four primary types of lighting used in jewelry stores, fluorescent, halogen, ceramic metal halide, and LED. Each has pros and cons, but to answer the full spectrum of lighting needs, store owners must use a “combination of types of lighting at various locations, serving various objectives,” said Peterson.

The most vital light source is the cheapest—daylight. Windows and skylights in some stores can boost performance by 40 percent, according to a study from DesignLights Consortium. “The goal is to mimic daylight in your store whenever possible,” Peterson said.

To achieve balance, use compact fluorescent lamps in ambient areas, which will illuminate the space in a way that’s pleasing to the eye.

For inside showcases, avoid lighting that can obstruct the customer’s view or cast shadows over products. Peterson suggested T-5 or T-8 fluorescent tubes positioned at the top back of the inside showcase. Retailers are moving toward LED technology, but Peterson cautioned that powering such lighting is costly.

The three lighting options over showcases include Par-38 for recessed fixtures. For higher ceilings try MR-16 halogens from suspended pendants. Metal halides are the more powerful alternative. “Remember, showcase light should be, on average, 10 times more powerful than ambient lighting,” Peterson said.

For diamonds, lighting is critical. “A 70 watt ceramic metal halide with a CRI [Color Rendering Index] over 90 and a temperature of 4,000K to 4,200K is perfect for diamonds,” said Peterson. “Anything cooler [over 4,500K] can give diamonds a bluish tint. Anything warmer [less than 4,000K] can give diamonds a yellowish tint.”

Ceramic metal halides are also good for colored stones, which look best in lighting between 3,000K and 4,200K. If colored stones are mixed with diamonds, Peterson suggested using 4,200K diamond light fixtures. For showcases featuring only colored stones use a 3,000K to 3,500K color light.