Guidance and Advice on How to Light a Retail Store

Retail store lighting is instrumental to the customer’s overall satisfaction of their shopping experience. Good retail display lighting makes visual merchandising much easier, while also creating a pleasant environment for them to do their shopping. It can also drive home your retail brand identity. Below, we’ll discuss retail lighting solutions and how to incorporate them into your shop.


Why is Retail Lighting Significant?

Store lighting design can do much more than make the environment a welcoming one. It can also be used to highlight the different items on display. LED shop lights can be used to clearly show the details of the products you are selling, which is important for independent shoppers. They need to be able to see the products clearly to determine whether or not they intend on buying them.

Your retail store layout can also be zoned with shop lighting. With spotlights on wall displays and over the checkout tills, you can lead the customer around the store with subtle visual cues.

The future of store lighting is shaped by the various types of lighting that you can incorporate into the space. Gone are the days where only overhead lights provide the illumination, so you can get creative with how your shop looks.


What Kind of Retail Light Fixtures Are There?

There are many different types and styles of light that can be used in your retail shop.


  • SHOP SPOTLIGHTS – Spotlights can be used in a number of different ways. From installing them over the checkout area to the customer service desk to the dressing rooms, they are a versatile way to fill out your shop lights.


  • DISPLAY CASE LIGHTS – Display case lights are especially important for smaller items. Products such as jewelry items locked inside a glass case need to be clearly shown, so customers have a solid idea about what they are buying. Good display lighting will easily show all of the details.


  • SHOP TRACK LIGHTING – Perfect for wall displays, track lighting can draw attention to certain products with ease. They are also useful for using in window displays to cast plenty of light over the entire area.

Luxury show store with modern LED retail track lighting

What Colour Temperature is Best For Retail Lighting? 

Colour temperature plays a huge role in the mood that is set by retail display lighting. This is a measurement of a light’s coolness or its warmth as communicated in units Kelvin. These lights exist on a spectrum, with lower numbers indicating warmer light, and higher numbers indicating cooler light.

Various colour temperatures have their place in every kind of space. When it comes to retail lighting, you are free to choose the one that best suits your shop.

Many people prefer to have cool lights in retail shops. This creates a more energetic and cheerful look in the shop and brightly lights the space. Cool lights tend to also have higher CCT ratings, meaning that the light does not alter the colours of the items it shines on as much.

On the other hand, warm lights are usually included in discussions about boutique lighting ideas. If your goal is to create a cosier environment with interesting dramatic features, this colour temperature is a good choice.

If you want lighting that sits in the middle, you can opt for warm white light around 3000k to 3300k. This provides a nice balance while still giving plenty of clarity.

LED colour temperature guide


How To Balance Retail Lighting 

Layered lighting for retail shops can create a cohesive look and feel in the store. Layered lighting consists of three types: ambient, task and accent lighting.

Ambient light refers to the overall illumination cast around the store. It is important to have a solid foundation of ambient light to ensure the entire store is well lit. This main light helps set the overall mood and tone of the space and can be supplemented with other lights, such as task lighting.

Task lights will be the lights that put focus on certain elements. This type of light is used anywhere that activities take place beyond browsing the selection of items. Therefore, task lights will make it easier for customers and employees alike to complete various tasks, such as checking out or visiting the dressing rooms.

To top it all off, you can incorporate accent lighting. Creating focal points with lighting is done easily with this type of lighting. You can use it to draw attention to select products or even just to visually enhance one visual element of the shop’s design.

For an added touch, you can also install seasonal store lighting. This is especially useful during holidays when you want to create a festive mood. It is also useful for creating a sense of nostalgia and cosiness if that fits the brand of your shop. You can use this type of lighting to create a dramatic picture by carefully using shadows and light.


General Tips for Retail Lighting 

Here, you’ll find a few things to consider when planning your recessed lighting.


  • HIGHLIGHT THE UNIQUENESS OF THE STORE – Your shop is bound to have some architectural element that makes it stand out from others. This is especially true if it is a boutique shop. Use accent lighting to draw attention to these areas.


  • DRAW ATTENTION TO VARIOUS TEXTURES – If you have unique textures on the walls or ceiling, you can install lighting that will draw attention to them. Wall washing sconces are a good choice for this.


  • USE PICTURE LIGHTING – Whether you want to display artwork, plaques or other decorations on the wall, you can do so using picture lights. They are designed to clearly show off the items being displayed without casting unwanted shadows.


  • CREATE A FLATTERING DRESSING AREA – Be sure your customers feel confident in the way they look in the dressing area with appropriate lighting. Using warmer lights and not positioning them directly overhead can create more flattering illumination. If they like the way they look, they are more likely to purchase the clothes they are trying on.


How To Achieve Ambience and Functionality in a Retail Space with Lighting

Retail lighting design gives you plenty of ways to enhance the appearance and functionality of your shop. With proper shop lighting, not only can you positively influence your customers’ experience in your shop, but you can also help cement the brand identity in their minds.

To create the best commercial retail lighting, you’ll first need to understand the layout of the shop and the space you have to work with. Architectural features, dimensions, product displays, tills and entrances are among the things to take into consideration.

By layering the lighting, you can easily achieve the right balance between form and function. Creating ambient light, task light and accent light throughout the shop will ensure that it is perfectly lit according to your needs.

Cast overhead, ambient lighting throughout the store at a light level that reflects your brand’s personality. Retail track lighting, pendants and recessed downlights work well in retail stores.

Use task lighting over tills, customer service desks and dressing rooms to make it easier for customers and employers alike to see. Task lighting for shops comes in many forms, such as retail cabinet lighting, hanging pendants or spotlights.

Finally, LED accent lighting can show off architectural designs or even just product displays that you particularly want to draw the eye to. Utilise track lighting systems with adjustable track lights to put various sections of the shop on display.

Choosing an appropriate colour temperature is also important. Cool and warm lights both serve different purposes and create different atmospheres. If you want your shop to feel bright and invigorating, opt for cooler lights. Warmer lights will create a more intimate and welcoming feel.


How To Enhance Customer Experience with Lighting

Store lighting contributes to the overall customer experience in ways that might surprise you. With improper retail lighting, you may fail to entice customers to browse for longer and may negatively impact your sales.

With good retail lighting, you can invite customers into the shop and encourage them to stay. Guide them around to various points of interest using highlighted areas and promotional zones made clear with accent lighting. This can also encourage general exploration of the shop.

Retail display lighting, especially when it comes to shop display cabinet lighting, can also influence whether a customer buys a product or not. By ensuring the details of the items on display are clearly visible, customers can know exactly what it is they want to buy and feel more confidence in making the purchase.


How To Get Visual Merchandising Lighting Right 

Balanced light distribution is key in any retail environment. Where key products are concerned, lighting becomes even more important. Ensuring your merchandise is well lit involves strategic placement, careful planning and attention to detail.

Begin the process by truly understanding both the brand identity and the target customer. You will need to think about aesthetic design, the ambience you want to create and what your target customers will want to see. After having done this, you can begin to work towards your goals with a plan.

Choosing the right retail lighting fixtures is critical. You want fixtures that not only appeal to the shop’s design itself but are also effective at highlighting products. Consider colour temperature, colour rendering index, the angle of the beam and the light intensity when selecting fixtures.

With the right fixtures on your side, you can begin working on the actual store lighting. Accent key products and features in the shop, such as promotional items or hot-ticket products that you have on display. Using accent, ambient and task lighting, you can bring focus to specific areas of the shop while ensuring the rest is well lit.

In a similar vein, you can create what is known as “visual hierarchy” with retail shop lighting. This simply means putting more attention and focus on select areas than others. Doing so can guide customers not only to the items you want to sell the most; it can also guide them around the store to encourage interaction with more products in the shop on their way.


Factors to Consider When Choosing Retail Lighting

Retail lighting solutions and needs will vary from shop to shop. It’s important to recognise what your specific shop needs and to light the area according to those needs.


  • BRIGHTNESS. Brightnesses of different levels serve different purposes. Of course, you want your retail LED lighting to be bright enough for customers to easily see the products. That said, you can have dimmer lights in some areas to create mood and visual interest.


  • BULB TYPE. Choosing LED bulbs over traditional halogen bulbs will bring you a world of benefits. Reduced heat emission, long lifespan, energy efficiency and reduced costs are just some of the perks of choosing LED bulbs above the others.


  • COLOUR TEMPERATURE. Among the many benefits of LEDs is the spectrum of colour temperatures they come in. Choose either a cool or warm light depending on the mood of the shop you want to consider.


  • FIXTURE TYPES. There is an endless assortment of styles, shapes, materials and finishes that LED retail lighting comes in. Choose a style that best fits the atmosphere of the store, as well as the brand’s identity.


  • COLOUR RENDERING INDEX. Colour rendering index, or CRI, measures how accurately light shows the items to be. A high CRI will let guests see the details of the merchandise and colours clearly so there are no surprises when they leave the shop with their purchases.


How To Effectively Illuminate Shop Window Displays 

The window displays in a shop are the first step towards getting customers into the store and off of the sidewalk. They allow you to showcase a snippet of what you have on sale to entice people to explore further.

A well-lit window display can make or break this goal. Above all, the idea is to make the display stand out. You can accomplish this with lighting that stands out from its surroundings and even against the backdrop of your shop.

Choose bright lighting to illuminate the items on display. You can do so from above with recessed lighting fixtures or from below with spotlights. The latter allows you to create intentional shadows to make the window display more complex and eye catching. This will require an understanding of lighting angles so you can determine whether you want to cast hard or soft shadows.

The colour temperature of the light in window displays should mirror the temperature inside the shop. Otherwise, you risk an unsightly visual clash. You can make the display stand out with the same colour temperature by choosing lights that are much brighter than the ones indoors. Similarly, choose a light with a high CRI rating to accurately display the details and colours of what’s in the window.

shop window display with LED track lighting spotlights

How To Get Display Cabinet Lighting Right 

Retail display lighting fixtures are crucial if you sell smaller items in your shop. Most commonly, display lights are used for showcasing jewellery and other expensive items locked inside a case. Since customers cannot take out and examine these products on their own, you’ll need to give them the clearest view possible from within the case.

Perhaps the most important element of display cabinet lighting is the CRI. This is especially true in jewellery sales where the colour of the gems and diamonds is a critical element for customers. Having a light with a high CRI will show the nature of the items clearly so customers know exactly what they’re walking out with.

Cool lighting is also generally preferred in display cases by providing brighter, crisper illumination, which is perfect for showcasing small, enclosed items. Cool, bright lights can also attract the eye of customers towards the display cabinets.

There are a variety of fixtures you can use in your display cabinets, including:

  • LED strip lights
  • Post lights
  • Puck lights
  • Recessed downlights

The best light for your cabinet will depend on the cabinet size, shape and available room within. Take these factors into account when selecting your display cabinet lighting.


Why is Task Lighting Important in a Retail Store?

Task lighting is one of the three main layers of light — the other two being ambient and accent lighting. With task lights, you can better see when performing certain activities. Task lighting is important both for customers and employees alike.

In retail spaces, task lighting can be crucial. Besides shopping, there are other activities occurring in the shop that need plenty of task light. For example, employees working the tills or the guest services counter need to be able to see what they are doing so they don’t make any mistakes.

Where customers are concerned, task lighting in areas such as the dressing room will help them decide to make a purchase. If customers can see how they look in certain apparel and like what they see, they are more likely to make a purchase. This form of lighting can also be used as a highlight for certain areas or products.


How Retail Lighting Can Enhance Your Brand

One of the best things about in-person shopping is that it gives customers a chance to get more familiar with your company. You want to make sure you are using this opportunity to make a memorable impression on them.

Your retail lighting can reflect the brand itself along with its personality. Choosing warm or cool lights according to your brand’s image can help a retail space stand out in your customers’ minds. For example, trendy and youthful boutique shops tend to aim for cooler, brighter light for a vibrant and energetic feel. Luxury brands often go for dimmer, warmer lighting to create a sense of sophistication and elegance.

Lighting can also be used to highlight brand logos and other signage. Illuminated signage, logo signs or other key elements of branding in the store can help your customers remember its name long after they leave. Beyond that, good lighting can enhance the presentation of the products themselves, which may leave a positive impression on the customer.

You can make your shop and brand stand out among the competitors with a well-designed lighting scheme. By creating a pleasant ambiance with unique lighting elements, including creative lighting displays, you will set yourself apart from the others with a distinct and memorable look and atmosphere.


Common Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Retail Lighting

Be sure that you are getting your retail lighting right by avoiding these common mistakes.


  • INSUFFICIENT LIGHTING. The quickest way to put a damper on your shop’s appearance is to have lighting that is not up to the task. Be sure that the shop and its various displays are bright enough that your customers can safely navigate the aisles and see the items on display.


  • INCONSISTENT LIGHTS. If your lights are not consistent throughout the shop, you may create visual discomfort for your customers. Those who are not comfortable in your shop are more likely to leave quickly without purchasing anything.


  • POOR CRI. Having lights with a poor colour rendering index may fail at showcasing the products on display with the proper lighting. Not only may this make the products less appealing, but guests may return the items once they leave the shop and realise they do not look the way they thought they did.


  • NEGLECTING BRAND IDENTITY. By not having lights that reflect the personality of the brand, you risk forming inconsistencies in your customers’ minds about your store. Light should reflect the personality of the brand by using warm or cool lights depending on what you want to communicate.


  • NOT USING LED LIGHTS. Neglecting to use LED bulbs can pose an issue in your shop. Traditional halogen bulbs, for example, emit a lot of heat. Not only can this make the shop more unpleasant to browse, but it also runs the risk of damaging products.


Furthermore, LED bulbs allow for a choice between many brightnesses and colour temperatures that traditional bulbs do not. They afford plenty of customisation options that you can use both for merchandising and communicating brand identity.

LED lights are also more energy efficient. They use 80 percent less energy than their traditional counterparts. This means you will spend less overall on your shop’s energy bills than you would if you were using traditional bulbs.



Shop Lighting Ideas 


  1. LSP228 16 Watt Slim Style LED Track Light

LSP228 16 watt round LED ceiling track lights

With the LSP228 16 Watt Slim Style LED Track Light, you can draw attention to wall and window displays with ease. The product consists of a track that the light head rests on that can be adjusted to your liking. It outputs a generous 1280 lumens of LED light in your choice of either warm or cool and shines at a 20-degree beam angle to provide focused illumination. The fixture is crafted out of durable aluminium with black or white colour finishes to suit your taste.


  1. LSP196 24 Watt Black and Gold LED Track Light

LSP196 24 watt black and gold contemporary track lighting

Show off your best displays with the LSP196 24 Watt Black and Gold LED Track Light. This track light generates 1900 lumens of warm or cool light depending on your preferences. The light shines at a 20-degree beam angle through a honeycomb filter in order to reduce any unsightly glare. It is built to last out of top quality aluminium that is available in a sleek black with gold trim. Overall, the light measures 218 millimeters by 102 millimeters by 194 millimeters in size.


  1. LSP176 30 Watt LED Track Light Fitting

LSP176 30 watt LED track light fittings LED shop lights

Create captivating displays using the LSP176 30 Watt LED Track Light Fitting. This fixture features a subtle cylindrical shape in neutral finish options such as black, white or silver. This combination ensures that the light does not distract away from what is being displayed. The fixture outputs 2400 lumens of light shining at a 23-degree beam angle to provide focused illumination. It is fashioned out of premium aluminium and measures 235 millimeters by 125 millimeters by 245 millimeters in size.


  1. LSD013 1 Watt Round Black Upright LED Cabinet Display Light

LSD013-BK 1 watt black cabinet LED display light fitting

Ensure the smaller items in your display cases are easily visible with the LSD013 1 Watt Round Black Upright LED Cabinet Display Light. This display light provides overhead lighting to ensure that each product below it is well lit. It generates 70 lumens of 6000k cool white light that shines at a 30-degree beam angle, offering focused lighting. The light post measures a total height of 230 millimeters, while the light head itself measures only 28 millimeters by 30 millimeters. It is constructed out of hard-wearing aluminium.


  1. LDC367 3 Watt Black Triple Recessed Cabinet Display Spotlights

LDC367 3 watt black recessed LED cabinet display spotlights

Show off the products in any cabinet display when you use the LDC367 3 Watt Black Triple Recessed Cabinet Display Spotlights. This spotlight fixture recesses into the cabinet and generates 210 lumens of 6000k cool white light. The light shines at a 30-degree angle to give targeted illumination. You can turn and tilt the light heads to shine the illumination exactly where you want it. The entire fixture is crafted out of durable aluminium and finished in a neutral black hue.


  1. LDC962 24 Watt Twin Modular LED Downlight Fitting

LDC962 24 watt twin modular LED downlight fittings

Create beautiful ambient lighting with the LDC962 24 Watt Twin Modular LED Downlight Fitting. This fitting generates 900 lumens of light, making it ultra bright. You can choose between 3000k warm white light or 6000k cool white light, depending on the desired mood in the store. It is built to last from top quality aluminium given a white finish on the outer rim with a black internal area. It measures a total size of 270 millimeters by 153 millimeters by 82 millimeters.


  1. LDC322 36 Watt Triple Modular LED Downlight Fitting

LDC322 36 watt modular recessed LED spot downlight

The LDC322 36 Watt Triple Modular LED Downlight Fitting is a stylish and simple way to bring more illumination to your shop. This fixture features three light heads that can be pulled out from the main body in order to create directional lighting. The 2700 lumens of light shine at a 38-degree beam angle to offer ample coverage. Choose from either 3000k warm white light or 6000k cool white light depending on your preferences. Overall, the fixture measures 460 millimeters by 153 millimeters by 148 millimeters in size.

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