A shop window’s function is to create interest. This is where stores have the chance to use shop window display to highlight their personality and individuality and call attention to them. It’s been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and in retail, the store’s eyes are its windows. Good window displays have a focus; they’re designed to set your store apart from the competition, to pull customers into the store, and to leave a lasting impression. As in interior displays, your windows should reinforce your store’s image. The same visual merchandising techniques you use to create inviting and dramatic in-store displays apply here too. Consider the following:
1. You need a Window Planning Calendar. Grab a blank calendar and fill it with your display ideas. Try and plan at least a quarter in advance. Your ideas can still change, but when you have a written plan you are more likely to actually follow it.
By the way, a good place to start your planning is at the trade shows and markets you attend. As you place orders think about how and where that product will be displayed in your store. Does it warrant a window display? If it does, add it to your planning calendar.
2. First impressions count. Customers make value judgments about your store within the first 10 seconds of contact; in that 10 seconds they are unconsciously determining whether to stay and shop. Your window displays play a big part in this determination so make sure they are always up to the challenge.
3. Change your window displays every other week. Yes, every two weeks. Do it less often and regular shoppers get bored and stop noticing your windows. You change your store’s speed bump display – the small table or fixture located front and center on your sales floor once a week, whether it needs it or not, because changing that single fixture re-energizes your sales floor. Windows need the same kind of attention. One more thing: Change your windows on the same day every other week and you will soon train customers to watch for your new displays!
4. Choose a theme. Some windows are easy to plan because we all know what happens during certain times of the year. Christmas, for example, would be done in red and white so it screams Christmas.
In-between holidays try something different! There are plenty of national holidays to choose from as well, like International Womens Day, Fly a Kite Day, and National Chocolate Chip Day, etc get creative.
5. Keep it simple. Shoppers passing by need to be able to understand your message within eight seconds or less. It’s easy to go overboard, thinking “I can add this and this and this!” Add too much and all you are doing is making your life harder. Sometimes the simplest displays make the greatest impact. This cluster of mannequins wearing plain white t-shirts labels “sale” is a perfect example.
6. Use a variety of heights. Displays that are only one level can be pretty boring, so mix it up. If your store is free-standing, or part of an outdoor shopping center, you will want to check how your windows look from the road. Jump in your car and drive past your store to make sure your window displays are easy to see and comprehend.
7. Set the stage with props. But don’t spend a lot of money! Use found art – the things you have stashed in your stock room, your basement or garage.
8. Chose a backdrop that helps highlight the product. Backdrops help capture attention and focus the eye on the product display. Try a fabric backdrop, large photo banner, or props. This vertical banner draws the eye up and down as well as forward. You can’t miss the merchandise.
9. Don’t forget the “Silent Salespeople”. Signs should be eye-catching and large enough to read as potential customers drive by. Choose a simple font that’s large enough to be easily read.
10. Signing should fit the display. Retail is in the details! A high-end retailer that prides itself on high quality product must follow through with quality signing, so choose a theme that compliments the display. And unless handwritten signing is part of your branding (think Starbucks ) it has no place in your store or in your window displays.
Bottom line? Have fun with your window displays and your customers will, too!