A well merchandised display window is a store’s most valuable real estate, especially if the window fronts an area with pedestrian traffic or is on a busy thoroughfare. Consider that it takes only two seconds (yes, two) to capture interest. Because of this, what you say in your windows should be carefully considered.
I’ve seen high end stores tape handwritten signs to their windows declaring ‘sale,’ and windows where mannequins stand guard on either side of the window as if they are not speaking with each other, and I’ve seen windows where the dust looks like it has gathered for years. These windows were forgotten or ignored for some reason or another and instead of inviting potential customers in, were suggesting that the store, and following naturally, the store’s merchandise, had seen better days.
Retail visual merchandising might be a bit intimidating to some, but if you are a retailer, you cannot afford to ignore it. Retailers have been known to say, “I can’t afford to invest in visual merchandising,” and my response is always, “you can’t afford not to invest in your merchandising.”
If you don’t have an employee with strong visual merchandising skills, invest in a strong retail visual merchandising consultant to get you up and running. A good visual merchandising consultant should not enslave you, but should do his or her best to provide you with the skills you need to put your best window forward.
Once you gain the skills you need to feel comfortable with the visual merchandising of your store window, there are a few things you can do to regularly change your window without starting from scratch. Changing just a few items can freshen up your display and generate new interest, especially for those customers that walk by your store on a regular basis.
Five quick retail display tips:
- Keep your mannequins in place, and just change portions of their outfits. Consider leaving on the bottoms and swap out tops, and add one or two colorful new accessories, like a different pocketbook or piece of luggage or a scarf.
- Re-orient your body forms and keep them dressed in the same outfits. For example if they are seated, stand them up or cluster them in different groups.
- Change color theme by swapping a backdrop or graphic. Some stores even paint the backdrop to their store windows on a regular basis to reflect the change in season.
- Add different elements. If you primarily sell hard goods or home goods, take away one category and add another. For example, if you have a table setting, just swap out the dishes, or linens.
- Hard goods stores can create a ‘sculpture’ of sorts with their product, and then using the same product, create a new sculpture. I saw a clever store window that utilized piles of candy bars organized by color. The impact of multiple bars piled on top of each was delightful! This store could retain the exact same elements in their new window design, and make it look fresh by just varying the sculpture.
I recommend stores with heavy pedestrian traffic change their windows every two weeks if at all possible, and that they spend a few minutes dusting and cleaning on a daily basis.
There are resources available to help you with your retail visual merchandising; from hiring a consultant to identifying a merchandising maniac already on board who could benefit from some additional training. Invest in your windows, invite in your customers, and convert that investment into sales!
Merchandising Matters publishes a regular newsletter with retail merchandising display tips. Contact [email protected] if you would like to be added to the mailing list.