Fashion and Retail Lighting

Posted by Briana Lipor on 11/20/19 11:52 AM


Did you know, retail lighting can provide much more than simple ambiance? This basic utility can also impact your sales and customer experience.

In a single generation, retailers have watched their industry change almost overnight. As a result of the internet and mobile devices, you can basically carry a department store in your back pocket. With this change in retail environments, the role of lighting has revolutionized. Lighting is no longer solely about function and illuminating merchandise. It has evolved into an effective branding and marketing tool, culminating in an enhanced consumer experience.  

The role of lighting is to render goods in an attractive manner to allow the consumer to examine the product in order to make the final purchasing decision. To incorporate retail lighting design with the marketing strategy, the lighting design process should start at the early stages of the project. 


                               Accent light in recessed white track on stained gray ceiling above contemporary art exhibit



Product Highlighting

Many studies have been done on how people react to different retail lighting set ups. Different types of light better suit each individual environment. Many stores tend to mix and match different types of lighting to maximize the consumer experience throughout the store.

Research has found that people's eyes are naturally drawn to areas of contrast. By using strong contrast lighting sparingly, you can focus on drawing customers to sale areas, new items and high-ticket products. Contrast should be used very specifically, you can't highlight every area of a store with contrast lighting or there will technically be no contrast lighting.

Ambient lighting refers to the overall store lighting and makes the largest overall impact. It serves as the primary source of light for a certain room. Ambient lighting is the foundation of the lighting of a room and can help by improving the sense of warmth and depth.

Accent lighting is used based on the overall store assortment. It directly illuminates and visually elevates merchandise, usually through spotlights. Whether highlighting high end luxury items or showcasing sale items, accent lighting is used to give special attention to a certain item within the store. The ultimate goal of accent lighting is to call attention to a few products versus everything else in the store. 

Backlighting also works to keep customers lingering at shelves longer. Backlighting can be used to achieve a softer, more intimate environment. Wide area back-lighting can produce a more attractive effect than accent lighting alone. Softer area backlighting is also effective at drawing attention to shelves that are lower to the ground and might otherwise be overlooked. 






Targeting Emotions

Light can drive emotion and even manipulate consumer behavior. This makes it a very influential tool for retail stores. As an important component of a retail store's atmosphere, lighting can affect the emotional responses that influence consumer shopping behavior. Studies have shown that lighting can have both a positive and negative impact on a customer's buying behavior. Lighting has the ability to guide a consumer through the store and the ability to draw attention to certain displays. Lighting can also make products look better and appeal to the sense of a shopper. When lighting is too dark or does not light products sufficiently, it can discourage patronage. Studies have shown that stores that provide good lighting notice longer visits and more purchases from customers.

In store lighting can have an effect on the rhythm of brain activity. It can influence how a customer responds and engages to a store. Different frequency and intensity combinations of lighting can influence a customer's perception of the products and the store as a whole. Knowing your target market is imperative when choosing retail lighting. Also choosing the appropriate color temperature is integral to a retail space. Color temperature can create either a warm or cold environment and affect how products are displayed. Stores can be very specific about the color temperature they use, some will even choose a color to be signature to their brand. 






Improve Sales

Studies have shown that the right retail lighting can have the potential to change the customer's purchase and the amount they will spend. Increasing the in store experience and strengthening the retailer's brand can increase store traffic and even increase overall sales. The proper lighting can also help a customer feel comfortable and relaxed during their shopping experience. When a customer is happy or relaxed in a store, they are creating positive memories and that can make them more likely to become a repeat customer. All of these factors will drive more sales and make for better business. 


RCI has years of experience in designing, developing and manufacturing Tailored Reflectors for retail and fashion lighting applications. Let our experts help! Call RCI at 866-276-6242, use our contact form  or email us at and let us know how we can assist you on your next project.

Topics: Lighting Facts, Engineering, Mechanical Design, Reflective Material, Photometric Design, reflectors for film, Supply Chain, Energy Efficient, Energy Efficiency, aluminum reflectors, photometrics, lighting reflectors, LED lighting