Bakers Journal

Concepts for Success: Enhance Sales Through Lighting

August 25, 2016
By Diane Chiasson

Making your baked goods stand out with good lighting can go a long way to boosting your product sales.

Lighting can be an important way to attract customers and highlight your offerings, but it’s essential to use lighting sensibly to achieve the benefits without any of the pitfalls. Following are eight tips on using lighting to enhance your bakery and your sales.

Understand Basic Principles
There are four basic kinds of retail lighting to consider when seeking to improve your bakery’s appearance and sales (general, decorative, accent and task lighting). General or ambient lighting is the main source of illumination in a space, and choosing lower levels where appropriate can do much to reduce overall energy bills and be more environmentally-friendly. For a bakery with a cozy café combination, more subdued lighting may set a nice tone for those spending time in the café space, and this can allow you to emphasize your feature items more easily with other forms of lighting.

Create Personality
The lighting you choose should complement and conform to the overall theme and mood of your bakery, and it should reflect the brand identity you have chosen for the space. Make sure you select appropriate lighting to convey the idea you had in mind when you began your bakery—how you want your customers to feel and how you want the products to look—and employ creative choices to achieve this. Decorative lighting choices, including pendants, sconces, chandeliers, table lamps, floor lamps and cylinders, can be used to enhance the look of a space in this regard. Decorative lighting should complement and add visual interest to the interior, as well as contribute to the overall lighting plan.

Enhance Your Offerings
Accent lighting can be used to highlight specific areas, displays and decor in your bakery to make products pop and add a sense of importance. This is most often used in display cases, but remember to think outside the box and consider emphasizing displays of specialty goods you are up-selling to your customers or for point of purchase displays. It is imperative to also showcase products creatively to boost their appeal. Lighting levels should be three to five times higher than the surrounding ambient light, highlighting merchandise for easy evaluation by the customer

Attract Customers
Every retailer is competing for a customer’s attention; the retail window is an opportunity to stand out. It should be a powerful attraction, providing a link between the passersby and the baked goods within. Accent lighting can play an important part here, creating a dramatic emphasis on your baked goods using a focused light source or sources. It can add depth, contrast and create a focal point for merchandise to be displayed. It highlights shape, texture, finish and colour of baked goods, drawing customers in.

Display Cases
Shine the light on your creations. Make sure your bakery display cases are well lit. A well-lit case will let your customers know you are proud of your work, and it will create a welcoming ambience to your establishment. The key is to make this illumination more precise and of higher intensity than the surrounding ambient light. Track fixtures, recessed housings with adjustable trims and concealed adjustable illumination with point source lamps provide directional control and are especially effective for this kind of accent lighting.

Use Lighting Carefully
Lighting can add life to your bakery display, as long as you do not over- or under-light the most important areas. Customers should be able to easily see textures and colours without straining. Be careful of using hanging light fixtures that may spotlight an item and wash it out. These types of lights may also produce excessive radiant heat, warming the item and potentially drying it out or disturbing its consistency. If accent lighting is directed ambiguously, the end result may have many unwanted shadows obstructing the details of the highlighted items as well as a distracting glare.

Choose For Purpose
Task lighting is more focused and used to better illuminate areas in your bakery where more light is needed to perform certain tasks. This should be used in kitchen areas for staff to work effectively and efficiently. Completing the sale is the most important retail task; it is the final interaction between the customer and staff. Pendant luminaries at the point of sale are a great way to provide task light for sales work; enabling staff to quickly and accurately wrap packages, run register sales and credit card transactions, minimizing mistakes and returns.

Boosting Sales
The purpose of lighting your offerings is to make them more appealing. By using lighting in a sensible way you can establish displays and enhance what your bakery has to offer. You won’t only create a dramatic effect but also increase your sales by using these simple ideas or other valuable advice you can gain from working with someone skilled in the application of lighting principles in a retail environment. / BJ

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years. She is recognized as the industry leader in providing innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or, or visit

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