Tips on Retail Lighting for Enhanced Customer Experience

December 6, 2023

Imagine walking into a retail outlet with poor lighting! Do you feel like shopping at that store? Of course not. It is not just because you cannot see the products. But the overall ambiance of the store is not conducive to browsing the various products.

Such is the importance of retail lighting that you cannot simply ignore it. Lighting is a strategic tool for a retail outlet in shaping the overall customer experience. Thus, a thoughtful and well-executed lighting design can captivate the customers and elevate the brand to a new level.

What are the things to consider while choosing retail lighting?

●     Strike the right balance

Every retail outlet should have two types of lighting – ambient or general lighting and accent or focus lighting. While the primary purpose of the ambient light is to brighten the space, the accent light focuses on the products. Striking the right balance between these two lights is essential to get the desired result.

Suppose you walk into a store with different contrasting colors. You will naturally feel overwhelmed and find it difficult to concentrate on the products. The right amount of ambient and focused light creates an inviting atmosphere that makes the customers walk into the store.

●     Select the right color temperature

Color temperature refers to the visual appearance of the light. It is how you see the light in its true color and brightness. Color temperature is often denoted by Kelvin (K).

Choosing lights of the correct color temperature is very important to get the desired result. Having the proper warm or cool color temperature can affect how the product is displayed.

In the case of jewelry stores, the focus light should be of a bluish-white tint so that the products are displayed clearly. Lights with a temperature of 5000k would be ideal for such stores. Retail outlets selling dresses and groceries can have a slightly lower color temperature, around 4000-4500K.

●     Consider the texture of the wall

The products in a retail outlet are enhanced by the lighting and the wall’s texture. Thus, the wall color, texture, and lighting should complement each other.

If you go for a shiny wall or ceiling color, the surface will reflect light. This will diffuse the product’s color and distract your attention. Thus, it is best to go for a matte-finished wall texture so that the lights can highlight the products.

In addition, you can also use the right wall texture to provide depth and dimension to the room.

●     Consider the lumen

Lumen is the amount of light a human eye gets from a light source. To create an inviting feel, each corner of the retail space should have lights with a certain number of lumens.

For this, you should first calculate the square feet of the retail space. Every square foot should have a set number of lumens to get the desired result. For example, A raised display table with products should have lighting with a lumen of 30 to get the desired result.

Selecting lights with the correct lumens and color temperature can do wonders for your retail space.

●     Select the correct type of light

Three types of light are used in a retail outlet – compact fluorescent, halogen, and LED.

Compact fluorescent or CFL bulbs mimic the incandescent bulbs that were popular sometime back. This type of light provides a full spectrum of color, from warm to light. CFL bulbs can last 7-9 years and are best suited for ambient and task lighting.

Halogen bulbs use halogen gas to create a full spectrum of light. They cost low to mid-range and have a 1-2 years lifespan. Halogen bulbs are best suited as accent, task, and decorative lights.

LED lights are the most commonly used retail lighting as they can be used for all types of lighting. They are highly energy efficient and offer a full spectrum of colors. However, the cost ranges from mid to high.

You should consider all three types of lighting while designing your retail light.

●     Consider the fixture

Though a certain type of light produces a specific lumen and color temperature, its overall effect depends on the fixture used.

A flushed recess lighting is best if the ceiling is low. Exposed canister lighting can be used if the interior is done in an industrial style.

Pendant lights need less bright bulbs as they are closer to the surface. This type of light can be used as focus light to accentuate any small space or decorative elements.

Track lighting offers multi-directional lighting. Thus, they can be used as accent lighting for display racks.

What are the tips and tricks while installing retail lighting?

  • Choose a lighting that goes with the brand image. E.g., a fine dining restaurant should have warm and dim light to create the right ambiance. Similarly, a retail outlet selling apparel should have a bright light that grabs customers’ attention.
  • Always ensure consistency in color temperature throughout the room. This means all focus lights should have the same color temperature.
  • Avoid too many lighting fixtures in the space, as it can create a cluttered feel.
  • The position and temperature of the focus light should be such that it enhances the product and does not wash out its color.
  • Adjustable track lighting provides more flexibility and lets you change the light as needed.
  • It is best to buy lighting in bulk. This way, you can save on the cost.
  • Light bulbs should always be at a safe distance from inflammable products to avoid accidents.
  • If your retail store gets plenty of natural light, you should consider that as well while planning the retail lighting. By making the best use of natural light, you can keep your energy bill down.

What are the types of lighting required for different types of retail stores?

Types of retail store lighting


Retail lighting is not just about illuminating the retail space. It also plays a key role in enhancing the customer experience and influencing their purchase decision. Having the right type of light in retail space establishes brand identity and communicates the store’s personality. It also helps foster an emotional connection with the customers, which can be beneficial to the store in the long run.

Read more articles:
Optimize Your Project: When Do You Need Lighting Designers?
What Does Lighting Design Bring to Architectural Design
Interior Lighting Design: Its Importance & Samples
Outdoor Lighting Design: Rules of Thumb
Illuminate Success: Commercial Lighting Design Guide