The shopping environment is everything.

As consumers struggle to make endless choices and keep up with an information flow that knows no boundaries, they have adopted more fluid, independent lifestyles, characterized by sociologists as “mosaic living.” They're not as interested in simply consuming products; now shoppers look to consume services — experiences — espoused by retailers.

An example of success is Nike's revolutionary “Goddess” store. By creating an environment rich in detail and emotion, one that melds the principles of architecture, lighting design and retail into a celebration of the female athlete's spirit, Nike has tapped into its customers' lives, boosting its profitability in the process.

It's time to rethink the way we approach the shopping environment, and few areas have as much creative potential as lighting. Through its relationships with retailers, Philips Lighting has seen a movement toward lighting being used as an organic component within the retail environment.

In the distant past, from the 1960's through 1980's, lighting schemes typically emphasized function over emotion, drawing attention to products, lighting spaces evenly, and so on. Only over the last decade, as consumer behavior has trended toward experience and intangible sensation, has lighting become more.

Consider a simple lighting technique that could be used to boost sales and draw greater numbers of customers into stores — changing lighting settings at different times of day. At play is the idea that the retail environment is scalable to customers' shifting moods and wants, either from person to person or from day to night. Using lighting in this manner has also been used as a means of differentiation between brands.

What if you had the ability to tailor your environment to a single customer's mood from moment to moment? Imagine guiding a teenage shopper to the products she most wants. Imagine appealing to an older customer's sense of security through increased light levels. Imagine creating a perfect simulation of daylight over your store floor. Now imagine all of these things happening simultaneously, on-the-fly.

Expect to see these innovations over the next few years. Philips Lighting is at the forefront of not only developing these ground-breaking lighting schemes, but also in helping retailers understand how to integrate lighting into their architectural plans, and, ultimately, how to drive sales.

Contact Philips at 732-563-3600 to discuss how lighting can help you redefine your company's retail environment, or schedule a visit to the Lighting Application Center, the largest, most technologically advanced lighting education and display facility in North America.