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    Emotion is triggered by lighting

    How light can trigger the emotions that attract shoppers and increase sales

    Fashion is about self-expression. It’s about your identity: who you are, and how you want to portray yourself to the world. Clothes may be functional at their core, but the fashion buying decision is firmly emotional.


    While out shopping in your town center or at your local mall, how do you judge whether a store is right for you? As you step through the door, you know instantly if you are going to continue browsing, or instead turn around and walk straight out. It’s not something you think about. It’s something you just do.


    The ambiance and the visual impact of a store has a profound effect on how we perceive it—plus the brand it represents. This effect can be strong, transforming the store into a destination, or a place to meet friends. Or it can be more subliminal, making you choose to enter the store—or not—based on your first impression.

    So the challenge for retailers is not only to tap into this emotion, but also to use it to attract, engage, and convert their shoppers.

    Triggering memories, triggering emotion

    Our brains process our surroundings in different ways. Sight, sound, touch, and taste head straight to the thalamus—but with smells, it’s different. Instead, they bypass the thalamus and travel to the olfactory bulb, which is directly connected to the part of our brain that stores memories. This explains why, when you inhale the scent of freshly cut grass, you’re instantly hit with a memory of playing soccer as a child.


    Just as scent triggers a reaction in your brain, so do music and lighting. We’ve all experienced the intense rush at a concert—loud guitars, booming basslines, and vibrant, dynamic lighting mix together to create a wholly immersive experience. Fashion retailers use similar methods to trigger emotional responses in their shoppers.

    Your brand identity

    Although we are in the midst of a digital takeover, physical stores remain a powerful way to communicate your brand.


    In order to do this, your brand identity needs to feature heavily throughout your store. From the arrangement of your displays, to the products you sell, to the music and lighting you use—it all counts. And it’s relevant to your shoppers: one survey showed that 64% of people build relationships with brands because of shared values. Customers want to feel like they are entering your world, but they also want to feel like they belong.

    Contrast is key


    By increasing contrast in your store lighting, you create more interest that will attract shoppers and trigger emotion. This is because brightness draws the eye. The darker areas make the brighter areas stand out more, and therefore grab more of your shopper’s attention.


    There’s a reason that spotlights are one of the dominant light sources in fashion retail: they’re perfect for creating contrast.

    Bring your store to life


    Now that you know a little about the theory, here are some of the things we have that can help you put the theory into practice.


    Philips Fashion Proof Optics uses a lens instead of a reflector to control the light beam. It provides excellent glare control, and as it does not create any spill light or halo, the contrast is increased by a factor of two. This ensures your products stand out and match your brand identity.

    Even the most striking clothes can look washed-out under the wrong lighting. Philips LED flavors help bring out the best in your products. If the colors of your collection are enhanced, your whole store comes to life. Plus, an attractive, playful scene triggers more of an emotional reaction in your shoppers.


    Standard aspects of light quality, such as correlated color temperature (CCT) and color rendering index (CRI), only tell part of the story when it comes to how colors appear. Our Philips LED flavors are optimized to enhance the appeal of colors in fashion retail: whites become brighter, blacks crisper, color more vibrant and denim more distinctive. With LED flavors, you can create an immersive retail experience that customers won’t want to leave.


    Finally, don’t underestimate the power of small surprises. Dynamic lighting can be an elegant, non-intrusive way to achieve this. Create a form of motion in your shop window to draw people’s eyes away from their phone. Create more impactful product displays. Or even use it to communicate in soft and gentle ways, using our Luminous Textile Panels.

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