LED Lighting Applications: Retail

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LED Lighting Applications: Retail

In this week’s LED Lighting Application, we discuss the importance of quality lighting in retail spaces and how LED lights offer a simple, efficient and quality solution. Retail shopping is a delicate experience that requires every detail to be perfect for the customer to make a purchase. A fitting environment, quality service,  and enticing product selection all play a role in the decisions a customer will make. Quality lighting is an important factor that can make products pop and create the right environment for customers to make a purchase.

The main goal of lighting in a retail location is to attract and guide customers through the store while creating a fitting environment for what they are shopping for. Quality lighting such as LED in a retail store can increase sales while reducing lighting cost up to 70%. For example, a sporting goods store saw sales increase by 10% immediately after improving the store’s lighting quality by upgrading to LED downlighting. 

Guided Lighting

Environment plays a significant role in a customer’s decision-making process. Lighting is an excellent way to control the appearance of your location and create the proper environment for your customers. Color temperature is a measure used to describe how “warm” or “cool” the light being emitted from a source appears. The spectrum ranges from 1,000K (Amber) up to 10,000K (Blueish-White) but most applications range between 2,000K to 6,500K. Check out the diagram below to get a better idea of what different color temperatures look like and their applications!

Color Temperature Diagram

Color temperature can transform the appearance of your store. For example, lower color temperatures can create a more comfortable and welcoming environment for your customers while a high color temperature can create a clean, sanitary feel perfect for technology stores (think Apple).

Spotlighting is a key tool for retail facilities as well. It enables retail locations to emphasis certain products or sections in the store. When used properly, it can guide customers through the store and help them to navigate to different sections.

The Sale

You’re in a grocery store looking for fresh apples. You walk up to the display and spot your favorite variety then begin picking them up to see if they are fresh and worth purchasing. What characteristics help you assess whether the apples are fresh or not? More than likely, the decision you make will be based on the appearance of the apples. Improper lighting can make produce appear bland and unappetizing while quality lighting makes the colors pop and the produce shine! Next time you are in a grocery store, notice the effect the lighting has on the produce as it can make a huge difference! 

Color Rendering Index or CRI measures the ability of a light source to accurately reveal the colors of objects in comparison to natural light. CRI is measured on a 0-100 scale, the higher the CRI, the better the light source will render color. Therefore, an ideal light source will have a high CRI preferably above 80. If your retail location has a low CRI, products will look drab and unappealing to customers while a high CRI will make the colors pop and better represent the true colors of the product. Integra LED utilizes several high CRI options to ensure our customers receive the best lighting for their retail location!

An additional retail situation that requires quality lighting is fitting rooms. Generally, customers make their final decisions in them while trying on different clothing items. Poor quality lighting can misrepresent the true colors of the clothes and make the clothing less attractive to the customer. Furthermore, if the area is poorly lit, the customer will have a tough time assessing if they like what they have tried on.

First Steps

Now that we covered different lighting variables that affect consumers’ decisions, let’s cover some ways you can start using lighting to improve your sales and customer experience.

Check Your Color Temperature and CRI

First, check the color temperature of your lighting. This can commonly be found on the box or the bulb itself like the example to the right. Make sure it aligns with the environment you are trying to create for your customers. For example, an antique store would be the best fit with a lower color temperature like 3000K to create a warm and welcoming environment.

Secondly, check the CRI of your lighting. A high CRI is not always necessary but in most retail situations it is highly recommended. Although CRI may not be listed on bulbs, it can commonly be found in the box similar to the example on the right.

Checking and assessing these measures is a great first step to adjusting the lighting in your facility to increase sales and improve the appearance of your products.

Assess Dark Areas

Walk your store and check for dark areas or sections that could stand out more by having spotlighting on them. We have seen countless retail locations that have areas or sections that lack proper lighting and deter customers. Many times areas are being lit but the light source is too dim or is the incorrect color temperature for the space making the area look dark. For example, a clothing store fitted with fluorescent tubes has several dark areas due to the tubes quickly degrading and become dim. Once you have identified these areas, we would recommend contacting your local lighting company to design and install a lighting system that works for your retail location. 

Foot-Candles are a measure of illumination that is commonly used to set lighting standards for different spaces. For example, a manufacturing space will have a different Foot-Candle standard than a retail space. Based on our experiences, we recommend a retail space averaging above 50 Foot-Candles.


At first, lighting may seem like a small factor in one’s decision-making process but when we realize how much we rely on appearance when selecting products, that quickly changes. Therefore, it is imperative for retail locations to have quality lighting that properly represents products while guiding the customer through the retail space.

LED lights are 10x-20x more efficient than outdated light sources and offer the quality lighting needed in retail locations. Interested in learning how LED lighting can help your space save on energy while improving its appearance? Fill out the short form below!

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