Bright, bold, fun, colourful, loud, oversized and traffic-stopping! Storefront windows are your hardest working employees, so give them the tools to do the job right. Clothes on mannequins, shoes on pedestals or perfectly lined up jam jars aren’t head turners. Your window is like a movie preview—it must tell enough of a great story that viewers are drawn in and intrigued.
3 Tips For Storefront Window Displays That Attract Shoppers
Tip #1 – Don’t wing it.
Start with paper and pen and sketch it out. This keeps you focused and ensures you incorporate the must-have elements mentioned below. You may hand the task of window dressing to another staff so this ensures your ideas are understood.
Start with a theme, aka your ‘window story’: holiday/commercial (Christmas, Halloween, Mothers Day, Back to School), seasonal (fall, spring), creative/ industry-specific (Renos Gone Wrong, Designer Days, 100 Years of Shoes, humour/memes, movie rip-offs, live actors, a peek in the kitchen, etc).
Be creative: a Christmas tree knocked over with a dog chewing an ornament will get more reaction than a pretty tree and wrapped gifts. Imagine the fun of a ‘door crasher’ themed window.
Know your goal: (eg. Sell raincoats. Sell giftware. Share that you have delivery).
Tip #2 – Know your window space.
Head outside: know the eye level centre point for walkers, and build out from your centre point. Think ‘oversized’ so drivers and those across the street can see (items are smaller in the distance). How far down can you hang things? Shelves, items leaning, flooring—what can be easily seen and what will need elevation or emphasis? Sparse is better than jammed, and high priced items need breathing room so don’t lose them in clutter. You want a focal point like the red umbrella in the sketch above.
Don’t let shadows or window lettering cover your display. Below shows white products behind white text—bland and easy to walk or drive by. One check mark is that you can see inside—avoid blocking the ‘peek in’ if possible.
Take pictures and keep a ‘windows’ album for reference. You will see where a punch of colour works best, how big signs need to be, elevations that work, props that can be re-purposed, effective lighting, and you can repeat elements (but not entire windows).
Tip #3 – Create and plan for humans.
Walkers who are deep in thought, talking with a friend or on their phones need to be distracted by lights, movement, bold design, crazy props, bright colours and large items. Make use of fans blowing colourful paper, flashing/scrolling letters or TV monitors in your window displays. If you can have speakers outside, play music, recordings or voice gift suggestions.
Humans find balance pleasing and chaos anxiety-creating. Darker at bottom and
light/colourful on top works well, mimicking the earth up to sky. Vary the heights, widths, shapes and textures but follow your plan: product, prop sizes and quantities need to be balanced with the full space used.
Five bright circles up high (an Olympic theme but fun hula hoop/playtime). Drivers see full-sized people (back lit for drama). Prop risers elevate the display (centre point) and create balance (two risers built out from middle riser, dark colours on bottom up to light). You can peek inside: “It’s fun in here!” (hands up/jumping).
Bright and exciting, just like a day at the beach! Over-sized photos up in the centre. Product is mixed with cool props: life savers provide different sizes, colours, patterns, with the base serving as the ocean and the ‘sun spot’ lit up on a yellow prop.
Every business must solve a problem—this swim suit store is a ‘life saver’ when looking for beachwear, and they sell everything you need. The full space is used but stays in the ‘lots-to-see-here’ territory because it’s balanced.
BIG Scrabble letters draw us in; mannequins of students walking by (wearing product) are inside the window—clever! Props of fall leaves, books and you can peek into the store. Red shoes also give hit of colour. I wonder if anyone takes a selfie with their mannequin friends?
Toys and shoes are small products, so over-sized words and pictures are used (actual product at human eye level / centre point). Bright colours (L) and stark contrast (R). Take photos of your small products and create over-sized posters to hang.
Great start on left, but a big sun or blue skies would have added to this beach scene. The right needs work: sign over the product with no theme, just hung up backpacks. Big pencil props and a chalkboard with ‘50% off’ handwritten would start to set the ‘school’ theme.
Windows are incredible contributors to your integrated marketing plan goals. They can engage, sell, create curiosity, educate, dazzle, impress, evoke emotions, build relationships, entertain, and make first impressions—invest in this ‘motion picture’.
Tag us online in pictures of your best window displays so we can share!
Next in the 3-Part Customer Appeal Series:
Check out part one on Curb Appeal and keep your eyes peeled for part three ‘Interior Traffic and Design Plans to Increase Sales.’