Many things can contribute to a business’s sales success, such as marketing, reputation, and online presence. However, for businesses that rely heavily on walk-in customers, lighting can also bear a surprising amount of weight.

The Importance of Lighting in Visual Merchandising - merchandise, lighting, LED, incandescent, halogen, fluorescent

Sometimes, it’s not so much the lighting customers notice, but how products look when it’s present or absent. If you’re not yet convinced that how you utilize lighting in your business matters, read on to learn its importance in visual merchandising overall.

What Is Visual Merchandising?

Visual merchandising is a standard retail industry practice that lighting solution specialists like LF Illumination understand better than most. It incorporates lighting, décor, and unique color combinations in bricks and mortar establishments to engage, motivate, and attract customers to make purchases.

Lighting within the realm of visual merchandising plays a key role in allowing businesses to add dimension, set the mood for an entire store or window display, and highlight individual products or displays. While a select product might be one of many in a store, the use of lighting can ensure it’s one of the first things you notice when you walk in the shop entrance.

Creating a Mood

Light intensity and coloring can set your mood without you even realizing it. For example, warm yellow lights can make homes appear cozy and warm, while stark white lighting can make a space appear cold, sterile, and clean.

You might even notice how flickering lights in horror movies offer the illusion of impending doom, and colored lights may add feelings of excitement. When you choose the most appropriate lighting for your select product, you may be able to impact how customers feel about it.

Highlighting Your Merchandise

It’s not always possible to highlight every product in your store to make it appealing to customers. If supermarkets tried to do that, their lightbulb and electricity bills would be astronomical.

However, many retailers choose lighting as a strategic element to shine the spotlight on new or innovative products. The lighting is set up in such a way as to highlight shapes and angles while drawing attention to size, color, and style simultaneously.

Lighting partnered with superior positioning in your store can also mean your customers are more likely to engage with the new products than if they were simply lit up on their own.

Making Products More Desirable and Attractive

Your advertising and marketing options can be limited in a bricks and mortar business. On the internet, you’re able to write articles and descriptions about a product’s benefits while even creating video content to make the hard sell.

Selling products in person can be much more challenging. While sales workers are more than capable of describing the inner workings of a product, they can’t always be there to assist all customers with all product purchases.

Sometimes, you have to help the product sell itself, which is why lighting is such a standout option. Prospective purchasers simply walking past a storefront may be lured inside by the beautifully lit display. They can then learn more about the product from its labeling to make an informed decision.

Making Your Store More Aesthetically Pleasing

Even though lighting can make some products stand out more than others, it can also impact the aesthetics of your store overall. Ambient lighting gives life and color to a space, which may otherwise not be achievable by sticking with a standard one or two-light overhead setup.

However, the type of lightbulbs you use may also make a difference. You may find that many businesses use a combination of some of the following:


Halogen bulbs produce a soft glow in all directions. They use far less energy than incandescent light bulbs but do tend to cost more than standard bulbs while also having a shorter lifespan.


Achieve warm, pleasant lighting with incandescent bulbs. They are inexpensive to buy and can light up most small retail spaces quite nicely. However, they are not energy-efficient, nor do they last as long as some other bulbs.


Fluorescent lighting is one of the most popular options in large retail stores. The bulbs last a long time and are energy efficient. However, there is only one set brightness level, and they can produce quite a harsh light.


LED bulbs are high-performing bulbs that work well in most temperatures and conditions. They can last several years and produce different light colors in various directions. While they do cost more than most other bulb types, their lifespan evens out their cost. LED bulbs are now recommended by many lighting professionals.

What Lighting Do You Need to Consider?

Even if you’re starting to realize the importance of lighting in your overall visual merchandising plan, you may not know what to do next. It’s worth breaking down your lighting needs into four distinct categories: accent, area, display shelving, and ambient.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is a lighting type that promotes a ‘less is more’ approach. You might showcase high-end luxury items in your store with such lighting or draw attention to new or sale items to help them stand out. Accent lighting is about drawing special attention to a particular product or display rather than lighting up your entire store.

Area Lighting

If your store is large enough for some areas to stand out more than others, correct the problem with area lighting. For example, the far corner of your store may not receive as much main lighting as the rest of your shop, but the products within this space are equally deserving of your customers’ attention.

Correct the imbalance by investing in area lighting to ensure no particular part of your business is any less or more desirable than others.

Display Shelving

Liquor, jewelry, and even small knick-knacks can struggle to stand out in a store packed floor to ceiling with goods. If you know some items need to be highlighted due to their value and desirability, consider display shelving lighting. You can purchase display stands with lighting already installed or add custom lighting to suit your unique store setup.


General lighting is a requirement in any small or large store, which is where ambient lighting comes in. Make sure you have one prominent light that features in the heart or center of your business. It can act as a type of compass for overwhelmed shoppers while also providing a base volume of lighting for you to pair with any of these lighting options above.

It can be difficult to believe that lighting can play such a vital part in your customers’ shopping behaviors. However, it just might. If you haven’t put much thought into any area of visual merchandising, now might be the right time to consider where you can make some improvements.