Higher sales in store – thanks to good lighting in fitting rooms

12 Mar 2020

Virtually no area of your store is as crucial for sales success as the fitting rooms. How come? Because it’s generally here that the customer makes a decision on whether to buy an item – or not. Poor lighting in fitting rooms can quickly dampen their enthusiasm for shopping.

In this article, you’ll find out how you can use the right lighting to design fitting rooms that have your customer leaving the shop with a good feeling – and a bag full of purchases.

Fitting room

1. Why the fitting rooms are so important

Online retail has turned the fashion industry upside down. Small high-street stores in particular are increasingly feeling the pressure of competition from the internet. Yet as the owner of a bricks-and-mortar shop, you have one crucial advantage over online retailers: fitting rooms. Only in a real store can customers view, touch and try on the items.

According to a study by research institute INNOFACT from 2017, around 75% of customers will try on clothes in fitting rooms in retail stores – yet more than 40% of these customers leave the fitting room without buying anything. When asked why, the majority of those questioned claimed that they particularly disliked the unflattering lighting in the fitting room.

2. Typical errors in fitting room lighting

Frequently, too little attention is given to the lighting in fitting rooms. In many cases, the same lighting is used in the cubicles as in the shop – for example narrow-beam spotlights. These are generally mounted in the middle of the space, and their harsh lighting creates unnatural shadows on the customer below. Hence, the poor lighting highlights problem areas that might not even be there, such as unsightly dimples in the thighs, blemishes on the skin or small rolls in the belly. Overly bright lighting, bluish LED lamps or unfavourable colours in the room also make faces appear pallid and hair lifeless.

Anyone who doesn’t like what they see in the mirror will leave the cubicle frustrated and will probably not buy anything else – and indeed might not even come back because their experience has been a negative one. Poor lighting in cubicles is anything but good for sales.

3. Trying on clothes as an experience – with the right lighting

You as the owner of a store should exploit the advantage you have over internet trade by making any trip to the fitting rooms a real experience. Atmospheric lighting can transform a small fitting room into a place where the customer feels good and is happy to linger. Most women, but also a lot of men, are very self-critical when looking at their own bodies – good lighting in the cubicle helps them to feel good in their own skin and presents the face and body in a flattering way. Ideally, the customer will leave the cubicle feeling better than they went into it.The aim of the design here is to create an atmosphere in your fitting room cubicles like that of a private living room: cosy, intimate and pleasant to spend time in.

Yet lighting is just one element of a successfully designed fitting room: With an atmospheric interior design concept, the cubicle becomes a veritable “happening”. If the cubicle is sufficiently large and includes comfortable seats, then the customer’s best friend or partner can go in with them. That means trying on clothes can be really fun! A pleasing colour scheme, stylish wallpaper and fine fabrics improve the look and feel of a cubicle enormously.

Decorative lighting elements like a snazzy fabric-covered lamp or LED filament lamps can make the space feel even more like a living room. Let yourself be inspired by our decorative lighting. Go to shop

4. The right direction and colour for the lighting

Customers’ perception of the lighting in the fitting rooms as pleasing and flattering depends entirely on the direction and colour of the light.

Light direction: A combination of horizontal and vertical lighting has proven to be optimal: direct light from above and indirect light from behind the mirror. In nature, light comes from above – this factor must be taken into account so the customer can realistically assess the clothing item while trying it on. For the direct light, you should select a downlight with a wide radiation angle. Too tightly bundled, narrow-beamed light can quickly appear unnatural and emphasises bags under the eyes, wrinkles, etc. The indirect light is therefore equally important as it gently shapes the body and softens the shadows created by the direct light. If you are using pivoting spotlights in the cubicles, make sure they are angled so they neither dazzle the customer nor create glaring light reflections in the mirror.

Light colour: The choice of colour for the lighting depends on both the type of clothing you predominantly sell and the lighting concept of your store. In general, it’s advisable to use a light colour that matches the lighting concept of the rest of the store. Hence, if you primarily sell sports clothing and have chosen a fresh, neutral-white colour for your lighting, then this should continue into the fitting rooms too (4000 Kelvin). If you run a lingerie store, however, and have a subdued lighting ambiance on the shop floor with warm-white LED lights, you can pick up on this concept in the cubicle too (2500-2700 Kelvin). For stores selling clothing for various occasions, meanwhile, we recommend you use warm-white LED lighting in the fitting room (3000 Kelvin).

5. How to choose the right brightness and colour rendering

Alongside light direction and light colour, brightness and colour rendering in the fitting rooms also play an important role.

Brightness: The lighting in the fitting rooms must be significantly more subdued than the lighting on the shop floor: around 200 to 350 lx is quite sufficient. Most of the light should always come from the indirect light sources in the cubicle and less from any direct light source – this prevents the formation of overly stark shadows. In general, downlights with light flux between 1000 and 2000 lm are a good choice for an optimal level of brightness in the fitting rooms.

Colour rendering: As a customer, you want to be able to gauge exactly what the colour of the item of clothing will look like in natural daylight. It’s therefore in fitting rooms in particular that it’s worth using high-quality lighting with good colour rendering of more than 90 on the colour rendering index. The higher the colour rendering index of an artificial light source, the more truly the colours are rendered. 

6. Three lighting concepts for a perfectly illuminated fitting room

Depending on your budget and spatial limitations, there are various lighting concepts for ideal fitting room lighting:

The basic option: This option consists of a broad-beam LED ceiling spot and two LED profiles mounted on both sides behind the mirror. The spot should be positioned between the mirror and the observer rather than directly above or behind the observer – otherwise the front of the customer will be in shadow.

The ideal option: Even better, however, is to use four small LED spots in each corner of the room instead of one single ceiling spot. This way, the customer’s silhouette is always optimally illuminated, regardless of how they move or turn. This lighting solution is therefore also suitable for cubicles with folding mirrors.

fitting room basic and ideal option

 Basic option with one LED spot (left fitting room) and ideal option with four spots (right fitting room)

The VIP option: The lighting gets even better if you use lights with tunable white technology. With various pre-programmed lighting scenarios, the customer can adjust the light situation to best assess the item of clothing they are buying. A lighting scenario for underwear and evening wear, for example, would require more horizontal and less vertical light in a warm-white light colour (2700 Kelvin). For functional sports clothing, the customer can select neutral-white lighting (4000 Kelvin) with more vertical and less horizontal light. And for a smart business outfit, there is a light scenario with balanced proportions of horizontal and vertical light in 3000 Kelvin. This kind of cubicle presentation is the lighting concept of the future that makes buying high-quality fashion an experience.

fitting room vip option

VIP option with individual lighting scenes

Do you have any questions on fitting room lighting or do you need help planning the lighting in your store? Get in touch with us.

We support you with the lighting of your fitting rooms. Write us: info@lichtbasis.de.

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