The Right Lighting is a Merchandising Tool

I can almost guarantee that today there’s one consistent message virtually every supermarket promotes: that they have safe-to-eat, quality fresh food.

In an industry where mass merchandisers and supercenters grind down prices of center store products, supermarkets use fresh food sections as a competitive tool; retailers rely on their perishable food displays to attract customers and promote impulse sales. Fresh foods are a lifestyle choice for most consumers and a strategic necessity for supermarkets.

Consumers can choose from any number of supermarkets in their neighborhood, so retailers spend thousands on advertising – just to get them to come into their store. Then inside the store, supermarkets spend hundreds of thousands designing perishable food departments and purchasing display cases – all in an effort to get consumers to notice and buy their fresh food.

Yet, after all the care and cost put into the perishable department and display cases, the lights used to merchandise the very product they are trying to attract our attention to are often overlooked and the cheapest, most visually unappealing lights are used!

Using the right lighting is a merchandising tool because decisions to purchase fresh food are subjective! Lighting designed specifically for fresh food merchandising, such as Promolux balanced spectrum, low radiation LEDs & fluorescents, ensure perishable displays get noticed and allow food’s vibrant, natural colors to pop creating a visual ‘wow’!

Retailers across the nation who use Promolux lighting do so because they know consumers buy based on what they perceive to be fresh and appealing. We’ve all opted for one supermarket over another because the fresh meat looks better here, or the produce looks better there. That decision is the “moment of truth” – once inside the store, does the customer buy or not buy?

Customers make their “buy or don’t buy” decision based on eye appeal; fresh food is naturally colorful and retailers across the nation strive to bring that color to the attention of their customers. From a supermarket’s perspective it’s a waste of money if, after all the expense incurred just to get a customer into their store, that customer leaves without buying – because the steak didn’t look good to them or it didn’t appear fresh. The lighting used to showcase a retailer’s fresh food makes world of difference and can easily be the deciding factor in how a customer perceives a food’s freshness and a supermarket’s quality image.

The mindset that all lights are the same is one of the most critical mistakes made in the retail industry; the light in the ceiling should never be used to merchandise the product to be sold! Regular lighting is designed to be as bright as bright as possible using the least amount of energy with no consideration given to the quality of color it displays. For a retailer, the lighting used to showcase the product they’re trying to sell must make that product look fresh and appealing! Fresh food has a time limit – if it doesn’t sell before it goes bad, it goes into the garbage.

Perishable departments have a profit margin of 50% or more – this is where they make their money! Merchandising fresh food with an LED or fluorescent with a balanced color spectrum that’s specifically designed for food ensures perishable displays get noticed. As retailers and merchandisers, we’ve done our job when a customer buys a steak because it looked so good that they visualized cooking it for dinner and imagined how amazing it would taste – all based on how it looked to them when it was inside the display case.

By Scott Werhun, Regional Manager, Promolux Lighting International

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