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Sales Increase With Limbic Lighting

Zumtobel has been able to use a field study with retail chain Gerry Weber to demonstrate the significance of light in shop applications. Customer behaviour and reactions measured with implicit and explicit methods showed that target group-oriented lighting design concepts had a positive effect and led to a 10% increase in turnover. This research is a continuation of the laboratory study in which the light preferences of seven different customer groups were analysed using a neuropsychological target group model.

A recent field study has confirmed the findings of a Zumtobel laboratory research project on the unconscious effect of light in retail stores. In cooperation with the fashion retailer Gerry Weber, it was possible to analyse to what extent targeted lighting solutions influence the buying behaviour of customers and thereby drive sales. Based on the Limbic Types identified by the laboratory study in 2013, the target groups of the Gerry Weber brand could also be specifically examined.

The Gerry Weber shop in Herford, Germany, was the location for the field test. The lighting concept was the only element that was changed in the store, which has now been open for a year. An LED spotlight solution from Zumtobel was installed specifically to meet the preferences of a key target group for Gerry Weber, the so-called Harmonisers. Harmonisers belong to the BALANCE Limbic Type, and therefore react positively to moderate accent lighting. As a result, the new look of the retail space in Herford was carefully designed to generate a bright and friendly atmosphere with a warm colour temperature of 3000 Kelvin.

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Fig. 1: As part of a larger research project, in cooperation with Gerry Weber, Zumtobel devised and installed a new lighting concept in a shop in Herford that was specifically tailored to meet the light preferences of the main target group. The new solution was based on moderate accent lighting with a warm colour temperature (Left: before. Right: after)…

General purchasing behaviour before and after the installation of the new lighting solution was then measured and observed over two months. In addition, certain customers were tested using the Limbic Emotional Assessment (LEA), a method developed by GruppeNymphenburg, who worked with Zumtobel on this research project. LEA is able to empirically capture the slightest unconscious physical reactions, including brain activity and heart rate. Some customers were also interviewed about their shopping experience and turnover was compared with an equivalent reference store for the same period.

The results were clear – adjustment of the lighting situation to reflect typical target group preferences delivered a 10% increase in turnover compared to the reference store. Further analysis also revealed an even higher average sales increase amongst the specific target group for which the lighting solution was optimised.

Implicit measurements revealed an overwhelmingly positive emotional response from Gerry Weber customers to the newly installed Limbic Lighting concept, particularly when compared with the original shop lighting. Explicit questioning also gave customers the opportunity to say how much they appreciated the positive atmosphere generated by the new Limbic Lighting solution.

The reference store used to contrast the results of the field test was carefully chosen for its equivalent size, shop design, customer demographics and geographical proximity to Herford. Looking at the national picture, the branch with the Limbic Lighting concept saw above-average sales when compared with all HOUSES of GERRY WEBER across Germany.

Reactions measured using the LEA methods demonstrated greater potential for buyer activation in response to Point Of Sales (POS) displays in Herford.

This means that customers showed a greater level of interest in the retail space – and the products on offer, leading them to spend more time in the store. At the same time, analysis of the data showed how participants felt relaxed and exhibited fewer signs of stress.

Fig.2: The ultra-modern INTRO LED spotlight system from Zumtobel meets all the criteria for the preferred lighting scenario of the Gerry Weber customers. The field study also showed that customers had a more positive feeling with the new Limbic Lighting concept than with the original lighting solution…

Head of Retail Operations at Gerry Weber, Hörschläger Martin, was delighted with the outcome. Gerry said, “For us as an international fashion brand, it was fascinating to see clear scientific findings that prove the significant influence of light at the POS.”

“The cooperation with Zumtobel was extremely positive and ultimately the key to us understanding and then responding to the light preferences of our target group. We have seen how profitable the Limbic Lighting concept proved in our Herford store, with a marked increase in sales during the test period. In comparison with the reference store, the retail space with the optimised Limbic Lighting solution achieved up to 10% more turnover,“ added Gerry.

Ralf Knorrenschild, Senior Vice President Global Key Account Management Zumtobel, was equally enthusiastic. In the words of Ralf, “This positive result confirms our view that light offers the greatest potential for sales growth at the POS – a fact that has often been overlooked. With Limbic Lighting, we have managed to realise an exciting new form of buyer activation for our customers.“

The laboratory study 

The most recent research in the area of neurosciences has shown that more than 80% of buying decisions at the Point Of Sale (POS) are made unconsciously, mainly depending on influences addressing people’s emotions.

However, the effects of light have so far been evaluated only by means of various questioning techniques, without taking the decisive aspect of the unconscious into account.

For that reason, Zumtobel Research jointly with Gruppe Nymphenburg, a Munich-based consultancy and market research institute, initiated a laboratory study in order make the emotional effects of light on customers measurable empirically, recording their physiological responses.

For the laboratory study, the researchers used the “Limbic Model” developed by Gruppe Nympenburg, which focuses on the complex emotional personality structures of consumers. The subjects were assigned to seven different personality types, the ‘Limbic Types’, using a questionnaire. These included the ‘Bon vivants’, the ‘Hedonists’, the ‘Adventurers’, the ‘Per- formers’, the ‘Disciplinarians’, the ‘Traditionalists’, and the ‘Harmonisers’. The objective of the research project was to find out how these seven groups respond to various lighting scenarios at the POS. For this purpose, a new method developed by Gruppe Nymphenburg was used, the ‘Limbic Emotional Assessment’ (LEA).

Using this method, even the most minor physical responses can be measured. In the laboratory experiment, the subjects successively looked at 20 different lighting scenarios with various ambient and accent lighting features, colour temperatures, contrasts and light quantities.

While doing so, their unconscious physical reactions, including brain waves and cardiac activity, were empirically measured. Based on the psychophysiological data collected, it was possible to clearly establish which of the lighting scenarios’ parameters triggered positive or negative emotions, stimulation or relaxation in specific target groups.
The findings obtained clearly show that there is an optimal way to address each individual target group. It has also turned out that there is no single lighting scenario that has the same markedly positive impact on all ‘Limbic Types’. There are, however, individual lighting profiles that several types respond positively to.

Fig. 3: The smart interior and warm colour temperature of the GERRY WEBER store catches the eye of passers-by…

Three main groups were identified, each with similar requirements as to lighting solutions: the first group, BALANCE (Harmonisers, Traditionalists and Bon vivants), responded particularly positively to moderate accent lighting. The second group, STIMULANCE (Hedonists, Adventurers), responded most positively to lighting scenes with relatively strong contrasts, created by accent lighting and a variety of different spots.

Group three, DOMINANCE (Performers, Disciplinarians), responded sensitively to unbalanced lighting concepts and can best be loaded with positive emotions through balanced, moderate effects. However, narrow-beam lighting with extreme contrasts triggered negative emotions in this group.

About the research method

The Limbic Emotional Assessment (LEA) research method, which has been developed by Gruppe Nymphenburg, is based on methods used in neurosciences as well as psychophysiology. The latter discipline is concerned with the relationship between brain activity and the related physical responses. In combination with Limbic, a brand and target group navigation model tried and tested in practical applications, LEA allows for a distinction according to specific target groups. In doing so, the scientifically tested LEA method combines five different parameters that capture even the tiniest of physical reactions.

From brain waves and skin conductance through to cardiac activity, numerous physical reactions of customers are measured to draw conclusions on their emotional state.

Gruppe Nymphenburg

For more than 40 years, Gruppe Nymphenburg as a consultancy and market research company has supported leading manufacturers of branded products and trading companies in areas ranging from brand positioning through to POS implementation.

Their consultancy is based on in-depth knowledge about the behaviour of consumers and shoppers. Gruppe Nymphenburg count themselves among the world’s leading experts in neuromarketing. In addition, the company specialisesin psychological POS and shopper research.

About the GERRY WEBER group

GERRY WEBER International AG, with headquarters in Halle/Westfalen in Germany, is a global company with four strong brands: GERRY WEBER, TAIFUN, SAMOON by GERRY WEBER and HALLHUBER. GERRY WEBER International AG was founded in 1973 and has since developed into a prominent name in the fashion and lifestyle sector.
The company has almost 1,000 centrally-operated stores worldwide, plus over 2,800 retail subsidiaries, 281 franchise stores and online brands shops in nine countries. With approximately 6,900 employees, the group is rapidly establishing itself as a true global player.

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