How Colours and Light influence the purchasing process

How Colours and Light influence the purchasing process

In 1973 the marketing guru, Philip Kotler stated that noise, shapes, smells and colours helped to draw attention, transmit messages and create feelings that increased the likelihood of purchase. Since then, marketing has moved on in all senses and the reproduction of colour has become a key differentiating factor in the retail sector. In sensorial marketing, light is one of the most important factors in the purchase experience.

28th January, 2014

In order to successfully conclude a purchase process, you need to appeal to the purchaser's emotions, rather than his reason. The emotional link is much stronger and much more stable over a period of time and it is responsible for the customer's loyalty. According to the Colour Marketing group 85% of purchasers believe that colour is one of the main factors leading to product purchase.

It has also been shown that the setting has a great influence on impulse buying and that light is the element that can modify this perception of the space by using colour temperature, brightness and intensity in order to influence consumers, either consciously or unconsciously.

Colour in itself is not a physical property of objects, but rather a human perception thanks to light. Therefore, amongst professional interior decorators and commercial space designers the colour rendering index or CRI is much more relevant than any other criteria, including efficiency.

Each colour causes a different emotion. Therefore, in western culture red means energy, whilst blue is the colour of trust and safety and black is associated to luxury goods. The importance of each colour is visualised with its maximum splendour depending on the CRI that measures how true the colour of the object is to the original colour when seen under sunlight.

In what ways does light influence a consumer's behaviour through colour?

  • An excellent reproduction of the colours, particularly some of them, generates a positive feeling in the purchaser who stays in the shop longer and therefore increases the likelihood of purchase.
  • When choosing a product the light affects it, improving the perception of freshness, attractiveness, appetite and even the perception of the price. That is to say, the purchaser is ready to pay more for a product with a better appearance.
  • Consumers are not aware of the differences in the lighting, but they are aware of the differences in the perception, regardless of whether it is positive or negative.
  • Lighting does not only affect the products; it also affects the perception of the space, creating more comfortable atmospheres that are brighter and with a better image.
  • The CRI prevents consumers from subsequent disappointment when they leave the shopping area, as it allows the products to be evaluated with greater accuracy.
GE Lighting has spent many years researching how to improve lighting conditions and for this reason it has become committed to creating lamps for each application that emphasize each product's best characteristics. Therefore, there are specific products for improving the visual conditions of food products, as well as fashion items or jewellery. The common element that distinguishes the quality of the lamps is the high colour rendering index, which for most of its products aimed at the retail industry is above 80 and in many cases, this figure reaches 90.

A combination of efficiency and quality is one of the characteristics of the lamps from the new GE Lighting generation. An example of GE's commitment to the sector is the recently launched CMH Precise™, with a CRI of 90 and an LPW of 107.

GE is aware that lighting designers and retailers need to create dramatic, almost theatrical, effects in order to grab the attention of potential customers. CMH Precise™ lamps have been designed with this in mind - enhancing colours and allowing designers to offer more vibrant spaces while at the same time reducing energy consumption and maintenance cycles.


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Francesco De Vivo

Francesco De Vivo, Retail and Hospitality Manager - Europe, GE Lighting

Francesco De Vivo is Application Manager Retail and Hospitality Lighting at GE, responsible for the development of retail and hospitality lighting applications across Europe. He ensures that customer needs are properly translated to technical solutions, so our teams can offer the most suitable, tailor-made solutions.

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