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  • Cicero Construction

Let there be light: How to use lighting to draw customers into your store and increase sales

PLAINFIELD, IL, OCTOBER 25, 2021 -- When renovating a retail space every small detail can have an effect on your sales. Paint, flooring, shelving, and signage all need to be thoughtfully planned. One detail that often gets overlooked, however, is lighting.

"Lighting will determine the ambiance a store elicits, which plays a major role in crafting the overall customer experience," said Sam Cicero, President of Cicero Construction Group, a Chicago-area general contractor specializing in commercial property renovations. "If a lighting scheme promotes exploration of the store it will keep customers engaged, boosting sales and building a positive brand image."

With lighting, mistakes rarely go unnoticed. And even the less-noticed ones can have a trickle-down effect on sales. According to Cicero, here's six ways to use light to your advantage when highlighting certain products and creating visual appeal.

First off, in order to form a cohesive strategy you will need to know the four lighting types: accent, task, ambient, and decorative lighting. Accent lighting highlights specific products or areas, indicating their importance and drawing the eye. Task lighting provides illumination for a specific task or purpose, such as lighting up the register or in fitting rooms. Ambient lighting is the main lighting source for a store. It is the backdrop that other types of lighting will be layered upon to encourage customers to explore your space. Last, there is decorative lighting that serves an aesthetic rather than a necessary purpose.

Second, there is the tone or "color temperature" of lighting. The Kelvin scale, created by William Thomson in 1848, goes from 1,000 Kelvin to 10,000 Kelvin and is a way to help designate the light appearance given by a bulb or fixture. As the number of Kelvin increases, the cooler the tone of the light, and as Kelvin decreases, the warmer the tone of light will be. For a typical retail store, stay in a neutral white range of 3500K to 4100K. If you want a crisp, clean look -- for example in a jewelry store -- install bulbs in the cool white range of 5000k to 6000k.

Third, not to be confused with color temperature, is CRI or the "color rendering index." Choosing lighting with the right CRI for a store will assure colors of products are not distorted, which is especially important with food or clothing where the wrong color can cost you sales. The CRI scale runs from 0 to 100, measuring how accurately a bulb can produce light that matches a naturally referenced light source, such as the sun. The closer the CRI is to 100, the better the color rendition of whatever is under that light.

Fourth, be careful how lighting is aimed from the ceiling. Merely pointing spotlights down can make a space feel dark, while lighting walls will give a sense of spaciousness and brightness. When putting products on shelves, be mindful that overhang from other shelves can cause shadows or limit ceiling light to the shelf. LED strip lights are one solution for this. Most have adhesive backings for simplified mounting, and can be cut to fit an area.

Fifth, brick-and-mortar outlets have traditionally relied on florescent lights, but recently many retailers have switched to LED technology as a cost-effective, energy efficient option. If you already have fixtures installed, you may just need to update the bulbs to LEDs and begin saving.

Finally, don't forget about lighting your dressing rooms, said Cicero: "This is where your customers will make the final decision to buy. Highlight the person, not the room, by installing natural or warm white light around the mirror that they'll be facing. Also, provide a dimmer switch or remote with smart lighting so that customers can change the lighting to their own taste to see how an outfit would look in different settings."

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Cicero Construction Group, formerly Cicero's Development Corporation, is an established General Contractor specializing in commercial renovation founded in 1970. Headquartered in Plainfield, Ill., Cicero Construction Group offers design-build services, construction management, experienced project superintendents and foremen, and highly skilled craftsmen. Superior workmanship, attention to detail, and project management has fueled the company's complete on-time and on budget project track record. Visit


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