You may have heard of vanity sizing. It’s the practice of changing the size of an article of clothing – a woman’s dress, for example – without changing the actual measurements of the dress itself. The same dress that was size 12 last year is now labeled as a size 6. The shopper is thrilled that she can now fit into a size 6, and is inspired to buy the dress. You’ve made the customer feel good.
The same is true for store lighting. Lighting has to make the merchandise look good, but it also has to do the same for the customer.
When a woman goes into a dressing room, she wants to look good in whatever she’s about to try on. If the lighting is glaringly white and bright, it will wash out her skin tone and reveal every wrinkle and bulge. Her hair will look dull and the color unattractive – and she just came from the salon.
That customer will run from the dressing room faster than you can say “no sale”, and there’s a very good chance she’ll never come back. She won’t necessarily know why she doesn’t like your store; she’ll just know that your clothes don’t look good on her. And you ruined her day.
If, on the other hand, the lighting is flattering, she’s going to buy up as much of the store as she can afford – and maybe then some.
Flattering lighting is as much an art as it is a science. How do you do it?
As a rule of thumb, keep the lighting fairly low – no glaring fluorescent lamps on the ceiling. Instead, go for decorative wall sconces that suit the décor of your store. They bathe the room with light without hitting customer directly.
To brighten and enrich hair, use a few small ceiling spots positioned to gently shine on the area where the customer will likely be standing.
Different skin tones look best with certain colors. Olive skin, for example, looks good in an olive green, yellow or pink. In general:
Light skin likes pale peach, coral, light pink or bronze.
Medium skin tones are flattered by a darker peach, light to medium pink and light red.
Dark skin really glows with bronze, red, deep pink, fuchsia and plum.
With all the different skin tones walking into your store, choosing a color could be challenging. But if you go with pink – note that it’s flattering to all skin tones – you’re pretty safe.
Lighting to make the customer look good is especially important in dressing rooms. And although this lighting may be a minor part of the overall lighting design, dressing room lighting can make or break your sales.
You may not use vanity sizing, but making your customers look good using your store’s lighting – as well as your merchandise – will always pay off.