The retail window display is a subtle but extremely powerful art. That look through the glass can allow customers to glimpse into the store’s soul and connect with the brand. If we think about the cost of retail space for a fashion store, we can immediately see how the opportunity to display merchandise effectively is an exceptional privilege that requires a little extra effort to get exactly right. If we do figure out a window display that works great with our audience, then we’re looking at higher volumes of sales and a higher perceived brand value.
What can you do to improve on the effectiveness of your store window display that gets people in the door? What can you do to really engage passers-by and get them in the shop? What techniques can be employed to maximise the perceived value of your merchandise?
We’re going to address all this and more in this post. It’s not simple to figure out what kind of best practices can be employed to get your store windows just right, but we’ve done some extensive research to list what are 9 essential tips to get you on the right track. Here’s a quick summary of our blog post topics to help you get around the content fast.
- The right window display is the one that fits your customer
- Be Different
- Sell the dream, not the product
- Your focal point is your customer passing by
- You can’t manage what you can’t measure
- Tech is your friend
- Be emotional
1. The right window display is the one that fits your customer
Let’s start with realising that there is no perfect window display, there’s only the right display for the right customer. What this means, is that it’s only by realising who our store “is talking to” that we can find the right visual language.
Like many other strategic decisions in business, window display needs to be also based on customer data, and a clear understanding of the profile of your target customer. Sometimes identifying the needs and wants of your customer audience is not simple, but as a retailer you have an unparalleled access to your clients, as you are able to observe them shopping every day.
If you want to build better window display, a good place to start is plotting out your customer’s needs and wants, and how the window display can project the ideal shopping experience. Talk to your customers, look at sales reports and try to find a data backing to your decisions, as ‘gut feelings’ can only take you so far.
2. Be different
Window displays should be like a shopping experience, meaningful and memorable. A window display is a statement of authenticity and as such you should not be afraid to be daring.
Let’s remember that our customers are strolling down the street, minding their own business, and only if we are able to strike their imagination we can get them to stop and look closer. Window displays are an opportunity to be creative and engage our customers by creating associations and connections which go beyond expectations. Link your products to their use, to contemporary imagination, to aspirational values, and you’ll see that the display will not only showcase your products will sell them for you too.
Again, like for the rest of our advice, we want to emphasize that conducting research is always a great way to identify your points of difference and figure out what kind of positioning statements can be a good fit for your organisation.
3. Sell the dream, not the product
In the context of fashion, we should often remind ourselves that the job of a fashion retailer is not simply selling a product, we’re actually selling a dream, a social aspiration, an emotional reward.
Our window display should be able to echo this intangible dimension of fashion and provide an instant sense of excitement. This can be done in a variety of ways. Sales and promotional offers can be an easy way to ignite a desire to buy, but those brands who are able to harness the same response without cutting down prices are much better able to deliver value upfront and get customers in the door.
Your window display should, in fact, be able to be a gateway to your brand narrative, to its identity and to its stylistic dimension, the more the window display will be able to capture potential customer’s imagination, the more you will be able to build brand value. Many more people are going to see the store window, and just a few are going to enter. That’s ok, we’re still building associations and building awareness in our customers mind, even if they are not going to buy from us, at least not today.
Grabbing attention is the name of the game, and in the next point, we’re going to look into this further.
4. Your focal point is your customer, passing by
It’s a matter of perspective. You may stand and stare in front of your window and be really happy with it, but in reality, how much of it is in your customer’s line of sight? In this sense, it’s necessary to think about how much of our visual displays actually gets through to your passing audience. You want to make sure that any person who happens to be in front of your shop, can feel like the window display was designed just for him. Putting your customer at the centre of attention is one of the most relevant success factors in retail and its important that the element of customer-centricity is established right from the beginning, even if the client has not even entered the store just yet.
5. You can’t manage what you can’t measure
So how do you know if you’re doing it right? Well, a foundational principle is business is the famous expression: “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”. It’s important to establish clear goals as you set out to build a strong window attractiveness. Make your move, create the perfect window display, and then pay attention to the results. It’s through trial and error that we can see how effective our intervention is and how it can impact our business performance.
This is what we call data-driven decision making and is what allows us to test, try and get better. If you have a plan on how to test the effectiveness of your store’s display then you are going to be able to see how through hard work and a good dose of trial and error you can succeed in making a window display that sells.
6. Tech is your friend
Window displays are not only about geometry and products, they can be about technology too. Window displays are becoming more and more hi-tech in order to provide more information, to more people, faster. This is why, technology can be an asset to your store display especially if you are looking to target a younger audience, and you want to get them engaged with your brand even before they stepped into the shop.
7. Be Emotional
All in all, remember that you want to deliver an emotional impact on your customers, and create that mood that allures them into a shopping spree. Remember that some of your customers will be making a planned purchase and are going to enter your store with a clear idea of what it is that they are going to purchase, many other, however, will be entering your shop on the basis of an impulse. Make sure you are able to harness that emotion and send them your way with an impulse to buy.
The challenge we address is a complex one, it delves into visual communication, architecture, brand identity and the development of a strong emotional imprint. We like to think that the best way of thinking about visual communication, is treating your viewer as if it was already experiencing the store and they simply can’t resist going in. A store experience should be entertaining, educational, aesthetic or even escapist, and the store display should set the tone for that experience.
There you have it! These are our 9 tips to help you design window displays that convert! As you’ve seen, there are many different details that need to be managed, but the reward for your hard work is going to be a revenue increase and a stronger brand.
Remember that as for many decisions in business, it’s necessary to make sure that we’re collecting data to make informed decisions and informed choices, as our gut instincts will only take us so far.
Retail is the last mile for any fashion company, but it’s the first touchpoint for your customers. This is why it’s so important to make it work right.
Here on 440 Industries, we have a lot of free resources that address the challenges of retail marketing and retail management, take a look below and see if there’s anything else we can help with!