This is a guest post written by Ali Newton, Marketing Manager at The Display Centre, retail window display experts.
Window displays are one of the most powerful marketing tools available to retailers. While print advertising can be time-consuming and expensive, a window display is a low-cost display tool that almost every retailer has easy access to. All you need is a little imagination and regular display changes.
That said, it is also imperative that you continue to ensure your products aren’t being lost among the props and design of your displays. Your window display needs to tell passers-by key information about your shop and your products within the space of a few seconds.
With that in mind, here are five important window display tips from the shop fittings and display experts at The Display Centre.
1. Seasons change — and so should your window displays
Your window display should be changed every two weeks to prevent passers-by becoming too used to the display and desensitised to it. Many retailers even change their displays on a weekly basis to keep shoppers interested. Changing window displays can also make your shoppers perceive your range of stock as wider, even if your product range is unchanged.
To help retailers keep up with the need to constantly change displays, it is a good idea to embrace the seasons. You can also make use of a technique known as sensory priming.
Sensory priming has a resulting attention bias which can be useful to retailers. A really good example of this attention bias is when someone is looking at cars and they find a model they like. They often then begin to feel as though they’re then seeing that model everywhere they go. This is because at a basic level, their attention focus has been primed to notice those models more.
For this reason, topical displays are a great way to get noticed. So for example, on a summery day, a bright and summery display plays on a shopper’s attention bias. In addition, your products will benefit from a perceived relevance to summer.
One market that many retailers fail to target is out-of-hours browsers. Many shops could benefit from night-time displays, making use of LED light pockets or lightboxes to show off specific products or promotions to potential customers, who may return when the store is open.
2. How the three-layer rule can help you
The three-layer rule is a simple way to create window displays that draw customer in. Rather than relying on a single layer of depth, it creates a display with at least three depth layers, making your window display far more interesting. In addition, it is a good idea to make use of different heights within a window, creating more captivating displays. Different heights lead a shopper’s eye around a display and encourage them to look at it for longer.
To use the three-layer rule, think about your foreground, the main event and the background. The foreground can be made by using a vinyl on your window. The best way to do this is often to use the vinyl as a frame, making your first depth layer.
The second layer should be your main event. For a fashion retailer, this will be mannequins and clothing, whereas for a garden retailer it might be lawnmowers parked on artificial grass. The final depth layer is the background. For some, this is an open view through to your shop, while for others this may be a background board or paper. If it is a view through to your shop, it is particularly important that the front of your store is kept tidy at all times.
In addition to these layers, it can be a good idea to include some calls to action or promotional text somewhere in your display. Many of the larger retailers do this using vinyls in the foreground layer. There are other ways to incorporate this idea without having to print bespoke window stickers. A well-placed light box or letter board can be a smart and professional way to display your messages — and with a one-time cost, instead of constant reprints.
3. Think about where your customers are looking
The eye line is the buy line! However, many forget that this applies to your window displays just as much as it does to in-store merchandising.
Eye level is where most shopper attention is focused, so your star products should be in this area. But retailers that sell children’s toys should also bear in mind that it is important to capture the children’s attention too. In these cases, it is a good idea to place items at the eye level of the children, as well as the parents. Items like display plinths can be perfect for doing this.
Sometimes, the mismatch comes when shops make their display on a raised platform. This is because the eye line of the retailer is higher than that of shoppers on the high street. To prevent this issue, many retailers put strips of electrical tape onto their window at their shoppers’ eye line as a reminder while they build their display.
4. Give the right impression
Giving the right impression is more than just keeping your window display tidy. Your display needs to reflect the type of products your customers can expect to see inside. In many ways, your window display is your store’s dating profile. It needs to look appealing, but specifically target the right types of customer. Otherwise, there will be plenty of ‘dates’ (shoppers browsing) but no successful ‘matches’ (purchases).
Part of getting this right is ensuring that, while being creative and grabbing attention, your displays are still highlighting your products and not the props around them. In addition, your staff should be aware that they are visible in the area around the front of the shop. If someone looks bored, or is texting by the entrance, it can dissuade customers from entering. Try to ensure that your staff appear approachable, active and motivated.
5: Keep it simple for maximum impact
On average, retailers have 2.5 seconds to capture the attention of passers-by. This is a short time-frame to attract customers to your window and show them what your shop sells. For this reason, your message must be attractive, eye-catching and incredibly clear.
Window dressing props are a fantastic way to attract attention, but the balance must be right. There is little point in filling the window with props if the products no longer stand out. Therefore, retailers must take care to strike a balance between an interesting and attractive theme, with a clear brand message.
Creating an interesting window display doesn’t have to be too laborious. One tool that can make planning your displays easier is a simple calendar. By looking at upcoming events — Easter, Christmas, school breaks, etc. — you can get a better idea of themes that you can run.
It can also be helpful to have a stock of re-usable props. A wicker basket can hold Easter eggs in an Easter display, a picnic in a summer display and support a fairy-tale theme later in the year. To make sure it doesn’t distract from products, props should always be in a passive position. It could be hung onto the arm of a mannequin or neatly positioned alongside a seated mannequin on the floor. These props and themes make it easy for retailers to add interest, while still keeping their products in the forefront of the window.
About Ali Newton
Ali Newton is the Strategy and Marketing Manager for The Display Centre, where a team of shop fittings experts help retailers sell more with great shop displays. Ali combines her fine art and fashion qualifications with her market research experience and psychology degree to help retailers drive their sales.