Let there be light!

12. May 2020, MAXFIVE

While people have seemingly limitless energy reserves in summer, the winter blues start to kick in as the sun goes into hiding. Our moods change. It seems light has a much bigger influence on us than we might think.


buying habits
jump in sales
lighting in sales spaces
Selling Point

Seeing the light

As the days get shorter and the power of the sun starts to wane, the majority of Europeans put their clocks back one hour and switch over to daylight saving time. Anyone who has trouble getting out of bed will be delighted with a longer night and that extra hour. But there is one question that just won’t go away: do we really need this time shift, and what does it do anyway? Originally this adjustment was made to save energy and make the most of the available daylight. While there is a strong case suggesting that there is no real net gain, one unquestionable advantage is that there is more daylight during the hours when most people are out and about. Workers have an extra hour after leaving the office to enjoy the sunshine than they would otherwise.

Rise and shine

“Please don’t take my sunshine away!” We can all get on board with this line from the Johnny Cash hit “You Are My Sunshine”. Light not only has an effect on our psyche, but also goes a long way towards regulating our biorhythms. But it doesn’t stop there – it also helps us to navigate, makes the roads safer and provides a key element in architecture and advertising.

Light has the capacity to create inviting spaces that can shape our emotional wellbeing. It can be used to set a stage and draw attention to certain things, like store windows. Alternatively, it can be changed to create a sense of calm and relaxation in spaces like hotel rooms and break rooms. The right lighting can also help to set the stage in an office, enhance employee wellbeing and promote identification – and satisfaction – with employers.

A 2002 study proved that daylight played a major role in our natural circadian rhythms that keep our body clocks ticking over nicely. As darkness falls, melatonin production starts to spike, flooding our body with the hormone in readiness for sleep. Put simply, darkness accelerates melatonin production while daylight helps us get out of bed in the morning and stay awake throughout the day. And that is precisely why there is nothing better than heading outside and recharging your batteries in natural daylight. Even a grey overcast day is much better for us than staying indoors surrounded by artificial light sources.

Given this finding, it is no surprise that companies are taking a closer look at the effect that light has on us, and turning it to their advantage. In our consumer society, lighting is no longer a means to an end, but a strategic tool for showcasing products and creating an atmosphere that spurs people into making that all-important purchase.

Everything in the right light

This turn of phrase and others like it show our positive underlying associations with light. And this is a major selling point for retailers. Light has a big impact on our buying habits, which we barely notice as consumers since it often flies under the radar. “Good lighting in sales spaces encourages consumers to spend more time in a space and pick up products, it creates a sense of relaxation and provides orientation, highlights individual departments and products, boosts sales and enhances customer loyalty,” explains Klaus Fürst, light planner and CEO of Firstlight GmbH.

There is a general rule of thumb when it comes to lighting: the more exclusive the store and its products, the greater the focus has to be on lighting. However, there are two points that we need to keep in mind: firstly, products have to be made visible and consumers’ attention drawn towards particular products. And then different moods and atmospheres can be created to refocus consumers’ emotions, impulses and buying behaviour. If the lighting is low, it lends the sales spaces a certain exclusivity that engenders a pleasant ambience for customers.  Bright lighting creates a discount shopping atmosphere that encourages customers to make quick and impulsive purchasing decisions. Wrigley uses illuminated units next to the checkouts to draw attention to impulse buys such as chewing gum. The wine and spirit giant Pernod Ricard wants to entice impulse buyers through the use of blue light that creates a certain kind of party feel.

In principle, a good light source stands out for the way it reproduces colours as naturally as possible. Good colour rendering is particularly important in areas such as fashion, sport and the automotive industry as it enhances the authenticity of brands and products.

Talking of fashion…

The kind of light that shows up every last flaw? Yes, we’re talking about changing rooms. A hot topic like lighting is of critical importance for the textiles industry – get it wrong and sales will plummet. It’s only natural that people want to try on clothing in an inviting atmosphere with pleasant lighting that also makes them look good. And it’s not just consumers who are better off in this instance – retailers report that it can generate a 15% jump in sales.

Light is a major component of our lives – whether it’s the sales spaces we spend time in, or one of the main things to determine our daily rhythm and our moods. And particularly now, with Christmas just around the corner, light will play a major role in creating the right mood with twinkling fairy lights and flickering candles. So: lights on!

Similar Articles

MAX Innovations brings the future to the POS

Shopping experiences for all FIVE senses



Can you speak the language of digitalisation?

We are surrounded by digital products and services 24 hours a day. So now it’s time, once and for all, to explain what they can do. And where they come from.


Norbert Gavran

digital communication at the POS

MAXFIVE CEO Norbert Gavran about digital storytelling.



Touchscreen tables

Because everyone can simply put up posters and employ sales staff.