For brick-and-mortar retailers, many things have changed over the last few years, but constructing window displays is still a powerful way to drive impulse sales and lure prospective customers into stores. When your goal is to stop pedestrians in their tracks, throwing a little merchandise in a window isn’t enough. You need the right skills and knowledge to create effective sensory bait.If you’re struggling with visual merchandising concepts and theme ideas for your display windows, the following tips can help.
Aim for Six Themes a Year
Some retailers only construct window displays to represent the four seasons, but viewers quickly become bored with winter snow and summer pool floats. Take advantage of opportunities to relate your merchandise to holidays like Father’s Day and Teacher’s Day instead of just Christmas and Easter. You can even base themes on technological advances and current news events. Try to feature at least six different themes per year in large windows.
Same Merchandise, Different Display
Even if your featured merchandise rarely changes, don’t make the mistake of recreating the same display every year. Most customers don’t have short-term memory loss. Create a new look for an old standby. New colors, props and signage can transform last year’s elegant formal dinner setting into a trendy New York nightclub scene. When choosing construction materials for displays, look for items you could potentially use in several different ways.
People love the unique and unexpected. Why would anyone drop everything to look at a Christmas tree with presents under it? If your displays are becoming too much like the ones in stores around you, search the Internet for fresh ideas. Don’t create exact replicas of what you find; make ideas your own by incorporating your merchandise and your own brand’s values.
Think Big and Bold
If you want to sell lots of tiny things, you must draw attention to them with something big that no one can miss. Consider using oversize cardboard props, large decorated signs and lots of bright, bold colors in the display’s background.
Beyond Retail Curriculum: Study Design Principles
Brushing up on the principles of interior design can help you craft more effective and artful windows. Contrast, proportion, rhythm and pattern all work together to catch the eye and dazzle the senses. Learn to create a focal point and balance color with space and shape. Many free design resources are available online.
Focus on Sensory Input
Dynamic elements like interactive and multi-media display components appeal to today’s technologically savvy shoppers. Boring presentations of even simple products just don’t suffice in the current retail environment. Keep up with your customers’ connected lifestyles to gain their interest.
Keep Up Your Store’s Exterior
From the street, the external appearance of your store is the first thing people notice. If it’s a messy, neglected eyesore, even your best window won’t stand a chance. Be sure that your exterior paint, awnings, signage, banners, marquees, landscapes and entranceways look their best at all times.
Don’t Skimp on Signage
Although some window displays speak for themselves, shoppers love clear and distinctive signage. If you’re offering a special discount, a new brand or a unique product, make sure people who pass by your window know about it. You can also use signs to incorporate a little humor into your display. Laughing can put anyone in a better mood, and happy customers are more likely to be curious about what you have to offer.
Merchandise in Action
Use window displays to show shoppers how your merchandise will look and function in their homes. Place books or magazines on a coffee table. Set dining tables with elegant silverware. Wrap fuzzy throws around a mannequin’s shoulders and place her by a faux fireplace. Pair pots and pans with cookbooks or displays of gourmet oils or spices.
It’s All Relative
Incorporate merchandise from several categories that share a related theme. This method can drive impulse sales by reminding customers what else they need. For example, a set of dishes can be accompanied by drinking glasses, tablecloths, kitchen towels or potholders
Put It in the Spotlight
Moths aren’t the only creatures drawn to dramatic lighting. Well-placed spotlights make it impossible to pass by your window display without looking. You can also incorporate LED lighting or electric candles.
Keep It Moving
Merchandise that moves demands attention and catches almost everyone’s eye. Obvious choices include moving toys, music boxes and clocks. When you’re featuring merchandise that doesn’t move on its own, consider adding elements that produce motion around them such as oscillating fans or rotating display tables.
The Rule of Three
There’s something about the number three that people just love. Whenever you can, merchandise with this number in mind. If you are setting a candle display, offer a tall, a taller and a tallest candle. Place red, blue and yellow swimsuits in a lineup. When practical, price items in sets of threes and provide a visual example.
No Results? Change Things Up!
Visual merchandising is an art form, and many variables play into its success. If your new window display isn’t generating the excitement you hoped for, try something else. Take note of which types of displays seem to work best for your store. Try to keep an open mind, and actively change and adapt to your customers’ needs. If you pay attention, you’ll soon discover what types of visual and sensory stimulation best influence your target demographic. Keep trying until you get it right; your perfect profit-boosting window display is always just around the corner.