How to create an inspiring atmosphere in a store with the help of light


The purpose of a store’s existence is to sell, so everything in it must sell. Nothing drives sales so much as inspiration. The inspiration and the ease inherent in this feeling among customers is the key to good sales and the fact that the buyer will want to return to the store again and again.

Many of us consider the ability to evoke inspiration to be something mysterious, unpredictable, magical. Magic in business can be achieved by knowing how the human brain functions, what can cause the right emotions, relax, and how to avoid the unpleasant feeling of parting with money. There is no doubt that the most important factor affecting sales is the product that is sold in the store, and everything related to it. The atmosphere created in the store can either show the strong properties of the product and hide the weak ones, creating harmony, or vice versa.

The key factor in the atmosphere is light. It is in light that we distinguish colors, it emphasizes lines and factors, creates a visual perception of heat or coolness, fills the room with volume or hides it. Light is the factor that will help create “inspiration”. Without light, it is simply impossible to create inspiration in the store. Remember what colors we can perceive in the deep twilight and what feelings can be caused by dark gray silhouettes, slightly noticeable in the darkness of night alleys?

How exactly does light affect the purchase process? The answer to this question lies in the mechanism of our brain. Many of us believe that man is an intelligent being and his/her actions are dictated by rational motives. But is it true? In the matter of purchases in the absolute majority of cases – no! Often, purchases are dictated by necessity, but the decision about what exactly to buy is not a rational choice of a person.

Almost all purchases are made according to the same scenario: initially, the oldest part of the brain (limbic) creates an emotional outburst and transmits it to other parts for “ratio” and “emotio” fight. Then our rational part can either veto this emotional outburst, or find a rational explanation for why this purchase is vital. In any case, the primary impulse belongs to our emotional part. Without it, we would buy only the most necessary things, spending thousands of hours analyzing the smallest details of quality and finding the lowest price offer, and then repair old things, because they can still perform their functional tasks for a long time.

Light stimulates or blocks the production of certain hormones. A large amount of the blue spectrum in light blocks the production of one of the key hormones for trade – melatonin. Light, or rather the spectra that are present in the glow of lamps, create the necessary background for the production of the necessary hormones. The human eye perceives everything through two types of receptors – cones and rods. Rods are responsible for the perception of black and white tones, and cones come in three types according to the colors they distinguish: red, green, and blue. And all we see is a combination of signals sent by these receptors. Cones of different colors are connected to different parts of our brain. So, blue and green cones are associated with the frontal part, which is responsible for rational thinking, willpower – in general, they are associated with the “enemies” of trade. Red cones are directly connected to the areas of the brain that are responsible for emotions, and it is not uncommon for red to be considered stimulating. Based on this, it should be remembered that it is the wide presence of the red spectrum that contributes to the creation of primary emotional impulses.

Form a primary emotional impulse

For the buyer, the store doesn’t begin inside. The store for the buyer begins either in the gallery of the shopping center, or on the street, when the buyer passes by the window. At this stage, the store’s task is to evoke the first inspiring emotions. To do this, you need to follow a few simple rules: the store should contrast vividly with the surrounding environment, the image of the store should be clearly read on the facade, and the store’s goods should be embedded in the image. This image must be very emotionally filled. It is important to remember that the response to images taken by peripheral vision is much faster, but less intense, than the one taken by frontal vision, so the spot of the store should be extremely contrasting, and the red color should be present in the spectrum as much as possible.

Compliance with this rule will attract attention, form a primary emotional impulse, promote the release of the hormone melatonin and, as a result, ensure the body’s ability to produce the important hormone dopamine, which is responsible for anticipating pleasure.

Turn on

When the attention of the visitor passing through a not very bright gallery of the shopping center is focused on the store, and he goes to the entrance, it is necessary to “turn on” the buyer. How do I do this? A person needs to be immersed in a completely different world. Lighting in the entrance group of the store should be as bright as possible and at the same time extremely soft, in this case, the body’s metabolism will accelerate in a matter of fractions of a second. The brain will actively produce dopamine, and the person will start looking for something that might interest them. In the entrance group, it is very important to place emotionally rich objects, images, and products of deep saturated colors. With the right light scene and the use of color sources with a high color rendering index of more than 90%, it is necessary to create a sense of touch, when the buyer will seem to touch objects and feel warm and light.

When you feel a light and warm touch, the human body will produce a small amount of the hormone oxytocin, which contributes to the formation of loyalty and attachment. The buyer will already be emotionally attuned to the purchase even before entering the sales hall. As a result, we will get an interested buyer who is in the state of light hovering, actively looking for their own pleasure. We will get an inspired buyer.

Attract attention

One of the tasks of lighting is to draw attention to some elements of the trading floor that can arouse great interest. Such elements should be brightly and contrastingly illuminated in relation to the average background of the trading floor. As a result, the buyer will be ready to go deep into the trading floor for shopping.

Highlight the idea

Of course, in the sales hall it is necessary to support the mood of the buyer, because he/she has not gained a foothold on a conscious level yet, and only a few seconds have passed since the store attracted the attention of the buyer and he went inside.

In the sales hall itself, light is an element that can connect all the design elements, emphasize the interior idea and bring it into harmony with marketing positioning. For lighting a trading floor, there is no universal solution that would be suitable for everyone. However, there is a set of universal rules for maintaining inspiration and interest in the sales hall. For premium brands, the contrast between the lighting on the product and in the aisle where the buyer is located should be higher. At any point on the trading floor, elements that affect both frontal and peripheral vision should be combined, that is, there should always be elements that stimulate emotions and interest in a person’s field of vision. These elements should be highlighted more intensely. The colors of these elements should be as saturated as possible and preferably contrasting. Thus, the buyer will have a desire to approach more and more new points in the store, and they will stay in the store for more time, get more initial emotional incentives to buy.

The light should be in harmony with both the interior of the store and the marketing positioning of products in it. For example, a contrasting scheme with subdued light and dark areas in a high-tech interior or a tree illuminated with cold light will cause the buyer a sense of inner dissonance, and you can forget about inspiration. 

Emphasize the advantages and smooth out the disadvantages.

Fitting room is an important step in the process of making a purchase decision. It is desirable that in the fitting room the buyer is happy with their own image in the reflection. Lighting in the fitting room should emphasize the charms of the buyer and smooth out all the shortcomings of the figure, complexion and skin. This can only be achieved by placing lighting devices frontally in front of the buyer, as in dressing rooms. So the light will fall evenly over the entire height of the figure, shadows will not be created and irregularities will not be emphasized, the face will look smooth. In the fitting room, the softness of light is especially important. It must be warm and contain a large amount of red spectrum. It is important to remember that light reflected from the walls, curtains or doors of the fitting room will affect the complexion of the buyer. This should be taken into account when choosing the color scheme of the interior of the fitting room.

Do not forget about the color rendering index of light sources. Inspiration will rarely visit customers if when planning lighting in the store, the ripple indicator of the luminous flux, which is inherent in all artificial light sources, but differs tenfold for different types, is forgotten. Imagine that when a customer enters the fitting room, they see a gray-blue-green zombie monster. What will happen to their buying mood? Namely, these colors are inherent in light sources with a low color rendering index.

Let them fantasize

If the fitting rooms are located in separate rooms outside the sales hall, then it is necessary to provide the buyer with the opportunity to fantasize. Such an environment is most easily achieved by significantly reducing the illumination, and placing light sources along the edges of such a room, leaving the center as darkened as possible.


The visitor completes their inspired journey in the store near the checkout. The checkout is the place where the buyer gets the final experience of their stay. Few people attach importance to this, but the checkout largely forms the overall impression, while it is the only place in the store where not only the buyer is the main figure. There are several key landmarks for checkout areas. The cashier works in this area, and to minimize errors, the light in this area should be as uniform as possible, without glare and bright spots, in order to avoid fatigue and irritation of the ocular nerve. On the other hand, it has long been a well-known fact that when parting with money, a person activates the same areas of the brain as when feeling physical pain, so lighting at the checkout should calm and reduce activity. It is best if the lighting in the checkout area is evenly soft and somewhat less intense than in the main part of the sales hall.

Then customers will not feel so much discomfort from paying for purchases and the overall impression of the store will be more loyal, and cashiers, in turn, will make fewer mistakes.

The inspiring atmosphere in the store is not magic, it is the result of a thoughtful approach to interior solutions and close cooperation between all participants in the store opening process with a focus on the final result: the store’s ability to inspire visitors to make purchases.