The checkouts - the most stressful point in the entire customer journey. It often represents a genuine barrier at the end of the shopping experience that light can help the customer to overcome.
Waiting at the checkouts is an unpleasant experience for customers because they associate it with poor service. What is more, when a person stands in line at the checkouts they have their back to the store, which increases the stressful sensation of being observed from behind and not being able to do anything about it. The function of checkout lighting is to reduce customers’ stress level to a minimum. Sometimes, simply dimming the light is enough. A discreet interplay of lighting effects can also have a powerful calming effect.
When customers arrive at the front of the queue, under the scrutiny and sometimes pressure of the people behind they have to put their products on the conveyor belt as it constantly jerks along. Some customers feel a little uneasy. Good lighting clearly illuminates the products in the shopping cart and on the conveyor belt without casting shadows. Good three-dimensionality improves the customer’s perception of the objects in the cart so that they can handle them with greater dexterity. The conveyor belt is also the last place where the customer can review the merchandise before making a final buying decision.
Checkout lighting has to ensure that products look attractive so that the customer’s buying decision is ratified. If the customer decides not to buy a product at the checkouts because of poor conveyor belt lighting, all efforts to stage the sales story in the store with an effective lighting concept will have been in vain. To reduce the sensation of being watched yet maintain lighting at the necessary level, the checkouts should be treated as a separate zone.
Once the customer has reached pole position at the conveyor belt, the race with the cashier begins. Often the cashier scans the products faster than the customer can put them back in the cart on the other side. Even though customers seldom win the race, shadow-free, three-dimensional and dazzle-free light helps them to get through the process as quickly and adeptly as possible.
This shows that very good light can reduce waiting time, physical effort and social stress. High-street retailers have one USP that sets them apart from online retailers – the human factor. The cashier’s main function should not just be to scan the products and collect the money from the customer. This is a great opportunity to remind the customer how important a friendly and sincere farewell between two people is. The cashier is the last person customers encounter at the supermarket and thus also the face they are most likely to remember. It is therefore essential that the checkouts are illuminated in warm, shadow-free light with extremely good colour rendition.
At the same time, the checkouts are a workplace, meaning that lighting has to comply with ambient brightness and dazzle-free standards. The checkout zone’s immense significance as the final page of the sales story necessitates a complex lighting concept that is precisely tailored to the customer’s needs and the above-mentioned factors.