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Shining a Light on Display Illumination

Innovative Shoe Display at Retail

We’ve all seen them at some point during trips to the grocery store: LED strips affixed to the underside of candy & gum shelves at the checkout lanes. The presence of lighting not only makes the product pop, it’s also a bellwether of the increasing prevalence of lighting at retail.


In our electronically saturated age, it seems like we have a natural affinity for lighting and screens. This preference extends to the merchandising world as well. Recent advances in LED technology have made it possible to place lighting in previously impractical locations on a display, and more efficient circuitry has greatly reduced power consumption. But before trying to work electronic illumination into every display proposal where budget allows, here are some thoughts to consider:


  • Take the store environment into account. How bright is the ambient lighting? For instance, will it be competing with your display’s header illumination to the point where it washes out from a distance? Will the lit element be blocked by wall or another fixture? Careful consideration of the display’s context can help avoid wasted resources.

  • Lighting can provide much of the draw of an LCD screen. On the positive side, it’s worth remembering that LED lighting, especially when programmed to sequentially illuminate, can offer consumers 90% of the initial draw of a full-color LCD screen at a fraction of the cost. Inasmuch as a casual shopper’s attention is captured by motion, simple well-placed LEDs can effectively fight and win the battle for a customer’s gaze with far less of a financial and content-generation commitment than a screen.

  • Where power is not available, there are non-lit alternatives. Anyone who’s ever wanted to incorporate lighting on a floor display knows the struggle: Getting power to a unit out in the middle of the sales floor can be a real challenge. In cases where a corded display won’t work, and batteries don’t have the power or longevity needed, consider a lo-fi option like acrylic with fluorescent edges. This material is formulated to collect ambient lighting and redirect it out through the graphic element’s edges, producing a mild illuminated effect without the supporting hardware demanded by actual powered lighting.


Ready for lighting at retail? If those considerations have whetted your appetite, partner with a supplier like Spectas, whose extensive experience with all of the above technology can take your merchandising game to the next level. From basic can lights to programmed LEDs and everything in between, we have the experience and acumen to help your retail presence step into the light.

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