How lighting solutions shape the buyer’s emotional experience in grocery supermarket


Today, retail is going through one of the most interesting stages in its entire history. The challenges posed by the rapid development of information technologies, the demand for omni-channels, increased and new forms of competition have led to a deep rethinking of retail. The store for which it was enough to put the product on the shelf and call the buyer is already a thing of the past. Consumption trends dictate new rules, and the only way to survive is to offer the buyer a new adventure, a new emotional experience.

Emotions are an area that goes far beyond the digital world. The mechanisms and principles by which human emotions work formed and subtly tuned over many thousands of years. The process of evolution of the human brain and the rate of change in the world around us today can be compared with the movement of a turtle at the speed of light. Our brain has been developing for 84 thousand generations, and the digital era captured humanity 2 generations ago. From the point of view of the emotional component, buying food in the supermarket by a modern person is almost no different from finding roots, collecting fruits and seeds by our primitive ancestors. We try to find familiar brands (edible roots and fruits known to us) in an extraordinary variety of colors and shapes on the shelves of our prairies and savannas (supermarkets). However, how do you become the best lawn for digging up roots and the best garden for picking fruit?! The answer is simple – you need to be the safest, most comfortable and interesting lawn. You need to turn the gathering into an exciting adventure.


First, you need to visually secure the retail space, separate it from the street and other premises. The most correct way is to create maximum contrast between the outside world and the supermarket entrance group. The necessary contrast is achieved by doubling or tripling the illumination of the entrance group in relation to the surrounding environment. This contrast solves two very important tasks: it attracts the attention of transit traffic and “turns on” the buyer, that is, it helps them to leave unwanted thoughts and experiences outside the trading floor. From the point of view of retail technology, this solves the problems of increasing the number of purchases or the number of receipts. Further, all technologies for building and maintaining an emotional adventure are aimed at increasing the amount of the receipt.

When inviting a customer to travel around the sales floor, you should create the right emotional background. It is known that the desired emotional background is nothing more than a set of certain hormones, primarily dopamine, produced in the human body under the influence of internal and external factors. Among external factors, visual images and smells play a key role. To effectively achieve the necessary mood of visitors, products with a pleasant aroma and attractive appearance are placed at the entrance to the sales hall: vegetables, fruits, fresh pastries and fresh flowers. By correctly selecting the light scene using specialized light sources, it is possible to achieve the effect of synesthesia. Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which irritation in one sensory or cognitive system leads to an automatic, involuntary response in another sensory system. Today, specialized light sources are able to visually emphasize the freshness of fruits and vegetables, convey the golden crust of freshly baked bread so much that a person will feel the taste of fruit or the crunch of bread crust in their teeth. The buyer will receive tactile sensations, which in turn will lead to the production of another strong hormone (neurotransmitter) – oxytocin, which is responsible for the formation of loyalty (also called the love hormone). Thus, even at the entrance to the store, the retailer has a chance to get a loyal customer.

So, from the very beginning of the trip to the store, the buyer leaves all the experiences and gets the necessary emotional background to visit all departments and areas of the sales hall. According to data from retail chains that started using similar schemes of arrangement and accent lighting, groups of products with specialized lighting showed an increase in sales by 8-12 percent. At the same time, on average, sales in other departments and zones increased by 5-7 percent. Continuing to plan the buyer’s journey through the sales hall, it is worth dividing all areas of the store into zones of conditionally planned (list) purchases and conditionally spontaneous (emotional).

For zones and departments of planned or list products, the task is to somewhat speed up the movement of the buyer and activate metabolic processes, while creating the most convenient and comfortable conditions. Proper light becomes a strong ally here, because an increase in light temperature and light level leads to the activation of metabolic processes and, as a result, to acceleration of movement and increase in the number of decisions made. This may lead to an increase in the number of units of items from the lists, but it is unlikely to lead to a significant increase in the number of items. Planned products, especially the grocery group, usually have glossy packaging, the selection of light fittings (lamps) imposes its own limitations: it is necessary to provide a soft, evenly flooding light that eliminates a large amount of glare from light sources on the package.

Zones and departments where products with a high emotional component in the purchase motive are presented require special attention, because this is where the maximum potential lies in increasing the average receipt and increasing marginality. Light plays a special role in creating a buying mood. Using a well-thought-out light scene with the use of specialized light sources for individual product groups will provide an opportunity not only to show the product from the best side, but also to create the appropriate mood for its purchase. The lighting scheme for these groups should be based on creating maximum contrast between the aisle in which the person is located and the goods on the shelves. The difference between the light levels should be 3-5 times. Special attention should be paid to the correct selection of color temperature. It is advisable to use different color temperatures for different product groups. For cheeses, bread and alcohol, especially wine and cognac groups, light sources should not exceed 3,000 degrees Kelvin (K). For fish on ice-at least 4,000 K. Meat and sausage products require light sources with rich red shades of the spectrum. These can be either specialized “meat” light sources, or warm ones 2 500 – 3 000 K.


The buyer should associate mineral waters and dairy products with cleanliness and coolness. The light source for highlighting these product groups must correspond to this association – it is 4,000 degrees Kelvin. It is very important to take into account the light purity, which is achieved by a high, 90 percent or higher, color rendering index. At a lower value of this index, the water will appear cloudy, and other products will appear as if they were already in use.

Areas of promotional and checkout placement of goods require a special lighting approach that ensures maximum attention to the product. Level of illumination in these areas should be the highest of all areas of the trading floor, with the highest contrast. Promotion zones serve as visual magnets. Placing sales promotion zones and zones with promotional items inside the sales floor, with proper illumination, can form the necessary direction of movement of customers on the sales floor. For example, it is very important to ensure that the main marginal groups of products are located on the right hand side of the main flow of customers. You can also maximize the frequency of passing near the racks required by the retailer.

In recent years, with the advent of smartphones, checkout area racks, which for decades have generated up to 30 percent of revenue on any trading floor, have begun to lose ground, losing competition for the attention of the buyer waiting in line at the checkout to the digital world. One of the arguments in favor of buyer’s attention to the racks will be an intensely illuminated attractive product range.

On a modern trading floor, there are several zones where, in addition to customer experience, you should also take into account the staff of the trading floor. They include the checkout area and work surfaces where goods are cut. Illumination of these areas should guarantee safe use of working tools and mechanisms, long-term concentration. This can only be achieved by providing uniform soft illumination without glare and shadows with minimal ripple indicators of the luminous flux to prevent errors by cashiers and safe use of cutting tools, especially rotating tools and equipment.

Using a set of these rules, modern retailers will be able to build an exciting, emotional and pleasant journey through the trading floor for the buyer, and, of course, the profitability of their activity.

The profitability of activities depends not only on the formation of a stable revenue part, but also on the correct management of costs at all stages of the life cycle of a retail outlet, starting from its design and ending with operation. Modern lighting control technologies open up almost limitless possibilities for managing the cost of electrical lighting supply.

AAll the variety of modern lighting for retail using various technologies can be seen, touched, felt and compared in our showroom in Kyiv, open to all retailers who are interested in new business development opportunities.

In the photo: Showroom in the office of the Nova Light Engineering Company