Window displays use the windows on a retailer’s storefront to strengthen their brand’s image while promoting products. Retailers often use window displays as an initial touchpoint for shoppers, while enjoying differentiation from nearby competitors.
Ideally, a window display should disrupt a customer’s path, and encourage them to focus on the display for just a moment. Studies have shown that shoppers feel inclined to enter stores that have visual merchandising displays – and once a shopper has entered your store, they have a better chance of purchasing.
It can be intimidating to stare at a blank, undecorated space that can have so much impact on your business. But don’t worry! You don’t need to be a designer to create a great window display – just leverage a few key marketing tips:
Start With a Theme in Mind
Storytelling is currently one of the biggest trends in marketing, and window displays are certainly not exempt. When brainstorming, think of ideas that tell a story at a glance. This will help you find the direction of your display. For example, imagine you’re tasked with a display for the month of February. A good visual merchandiser would immediately hone in on a Valentine’s Day themed display. However, a great visual merchandiser takes this a step further – instead, they’ll center a display around candy hearts or love letters.
When creating this story, keep your target audience in mind. Which kinds of shoppers would you like to attract, and what do they like best? For example, think of a display for the start of summer. For an adult demographic, they may be more receptive to a scene based around “a day at the beach.” But, children, teenagers, and college-aged adults may respond better to a scene that declares, “It’s summer break!”
Depending on exactly what merchandise your brand offers, and your brand’s target market, the theme of a window display should be determined ahead of time. This will make it easier to design the rest of your display.
Find A Window Display’s Focal Point
The focal point of a window display is where a consumer’s gaze naturally falls. To find where this is, take a look at your storefront from the outside. Determine where the center of the window is, and then determine where eye level is. This is usually where the focal point of a display is, although some retailers choose to place the focal point slightly off-center for additional visual interest.
Once the focal point has been found, then place the main component of your display in this space. This is where your store should place an eye-catching display that conveys the previously determined themed. While some designers may choose to place a product in the window’s focal point, this isn’t recommended unless the product is particularly striking and integrated into a visually interesting display. Otherwise, the display, as well as the perception of the product, will be underwhelming at best. Instead, align products around the focal point in a complementary way – try using shelving, or acrylic blocks to stack products.
Use Eye-Catching Displays and Messaging
To help shoppers notice your display, try to design your display using bright, vibrant colors. However, be sure that these colors align with your brand as well as the display’s overarching theme. For example, if your window display is based on “a day at the beach,” then try to use colors like blue, white, sea green, and yellow.
Try leveraging lighting to further accentuate these displays. A popular way to do this is by placing lights in front of, and then on either side of the display or product – this will give it a bright, spotlighted appearance without any harsh shadows. For more advanced spotlighting, place an acrylic mirror underneath a product on a pedestal, and place a light directly above the product. The acrylic mirror will reflect the light, creating a visually striking spotlight effect.
Finally, don’t forget to use messaging that’s positioned at eye level. A window display’s messaging should be succinct and directly related to the theme, or what products are on offer. However, the ideal amount of messaging varies depending on where the store is located. For example, a store on a busy city street should only use a few words, since people are unlikely to stop and look at it. However, a store in a mall can use signage more liberally, as people typically meander through shopping malls.
Balance Unique Design with Simplicity
Above all else, strive to be creative and unique with your retail displays – and don’t be afraid to be somewhat avant-garde. People are busy and often have a mission on their mind – it’s unlikely you’ll find someone that dedicates time to admiring window displays. These displays must strive to disrupt the average person’s day-to-day life with a burst of creativity.
However, don’t forget to keep it simple. A cluttered display can be overwhelming, and a passerby will be unwilling to take time from their busy day to determine what is being promoted. The ultimate goal of a window display is to create interest and positive feelings towards a product, but a cluttered display will cause stress. To cut down on clutter, consider using clear or black acrylic risers while making sure every piece of your display has an easily justified purpose – otherwise, it will suffer from excessive visual noise.
Once your window display has been set up, be sure to engage in some basic quality control measures. Step outside and look at the display from all angles, and multiple different distances. Ensure that all of your window display’s signage and displays are visible and that the display looks aesthetically pleasing from many different vantage points. If you’d like to take your display a step further, then implement basic measures to track sales and foot traffic within your store. This way, your organization can measure if the retail display had a positive impact on the store.
Finally, don’t forget to change your displays often. If your store doesn’t have very much budget, then seasonal displays are fine – but many retailers try to change their window displays on a holiday or monthly basis.
Window displays should ultimately strive to create a positive emotional experience for people passing by your store. By communicating your brand’s image while promoting key products, window displays can impress and intrigue customers. With a customer’s attention being such a precious resource, window displays can significantly benefit a brand’s bottom line.