The Impact of Lighting Design on Consumer Preferences and Store Image

Presented by: Dr. Nam-Kyu Park

In the field of retail marketing, it is proved that the atmospherics of the shopping environment have a strong influence on consumers’ buying behaviors (Turley & Milliman, 2000). Atmospherics include ambient cues such as color, lighting, music, smell, temperature, and textures, as well as architectural and artifactual elements in a retail setting (Donovan et. al., 1994). Lighting as a key interior design element can create a unique atmosphere conducive to a positive consumer experience (Tantantewin & Inkarojrit, 2016) and convey a brand image to a target market (Schielke & Leudesdorff, 2015). Despite the effects of lighting design have been investigated in retail environmental studies, the knowledge of the impacts of lighting uniformity on consumer responses and brand perceptions is scarce. Applying the environmental preference theory developed by Kaplan and Kaplan (1989), this study examined the effects of lighting uniformity on consumers’ perceptions and preferences, behavioral intentions, and perceived store image within retail environments. An experiment was conducted in a three-dimensional simulated store in which two different lighting conditions (non-uniform light or uniform light), corresponding to the settings of two different retail clothing stores (formal wear or casual wear), were implemented. The sample consisted of a total of 192 participants (male = 44, female = 148), ranging from ages 18-35 years. All participants reported zero vision deficiencies and had no prior knowledge of lighting and design. Participants were asked to view one of the four randomly assigned store scenes and complete a self-administered questionnaire. A between subjects analysis of variance (ANONA) was conducted to examine dependent variables including the perceptions of coherence, legibility, complexity, and mystery, lighting preferences, shopping behaviors, and store image. The results revealed that lighting uniformity in both clothing stores (formal wear and casual wear) had significant effects on Kaplan and Kaplan’s four perceptual dimensions (coherence, legibility, complexity, and mystery) as predictors of store lighting preferences. In both stores, the uniform lighting was perceived as more coherent and legible while the non-uniform lighting was perceived as more complex and mysterious. Overall, the uniform lighting condition was more preferred, and therefore was more favorable for shopping, spending money, and staying in both stores. In addition, the study confirmed that associations exist between lighting uniformity and perceived store image. These findings provide further insight on the effects of lighting design, particularly lighting uniformity, in a retail environment. It can enhance a retailer’s branding to set the store apart from its competitors in a positive way.


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