If you have storefront windows that are visible to pedestrian or auto traffic, you need to use this real estate to make a good first impression, promote your brand and sell your products! Do not take this space for granted. Here are seven ways to get your windows talking and selling:
Come up with a theme, it could be all about cats, or turtles, or canaries. Or maybe it’s everything colored green. Perhaps it’s an upcoming event or holiday. Whatever you decide, make it a big deal and repeat it in more than one window to really get the point across.
LESS IS MORE
The human brain does not want to process a lot of information if it doesn’t have to. It’s basically lazy. Generally, the more complicated the display, the less someone will engage with it. So, keep it simple. This concept also helps keep labor and cost in check.
All successful displays have good composition meaning they utilize the elements and principles of design in a thoughtful way. The most effective principles of design are: contrast, repetition and movement. Any time something contrasts from its surroundings, it stands out and attracts attention – it becomes a focal point. Any time you repeat an object/shape, it leaves an impression on the viewer’s mind and any time you have movement in window, it will always attract the eye.
A common and effective practice is to group items in odd numbers, i.e.: three, five or seven. The visual rhythm of odd numbered objects is more visually pleasing.
Keep props simple and/or supportive. They can either be the star of the show, or supportive of the products you are featuring. Either way, make sure they are effectively used. It’s helpful to have a stock of basics in storage you can easily pull from and retrofit as needed, i.e.: wooden crates, painted wood risers, buckets, umbrellas, backdrops.
Sometimes a display needs a sign to help sell the idea, product or event. The sign could sit on an easel in the window or be applied to the glass with vinyl decals. Keep in mind who will be reading the sign. For example, if it’s people in automobiles driving 30 mph or faster, then your signage needs to be big and bold and higher on/in the window. For pedestrian traffic, keep the signage at eye level or below. If your windows are tinted, be sure to put the vinyl on the outside of the glass and always use white, cream or bright colored vinyl as dark colors will not be noticeable. Since interior lighting is not always visible from the street, a neon open sign may be necessary to let people know you are open.
Other signs to think about are words that describe your products and services. I have found that many retailers offer a lot of services that customers don’t know about. Placing simple words along the bottom of the window will advertise these services, i.e.: custom food blends, special orders, doghouse installations. Keep signs to seven words or less if possible.
Finally, always make sure your store’s name is at eye level on the front door, along with your store hours, website address and social media icons.
Displays should be illuminated 3x brighter than their surrounding ambient light to attract attention and provide visual pop. The eye is always attracted to the brightest spot. This is especially important if the windows are tinted. It’s also fun to incorporate decorative floor lamps, or string Edison bulbs (think patio lights) across the window or attach twinkling lights around the perimeter. If your store is on a street that has nightlife after you close, be sure to keep your lights on a timer so they can stay on until street life quiets down. Be sure to quickly change a burnt light bulb as one out can really make a difference in the brightness of your display. If you don’t have ceiling lights, then bring in a few spotlights that can be placed on the floor and aimed upward. If you don’t illuminate your displays well, you’re losing out on the effectiveness of your display. Lighting makes a difference!
If you have a lot of repeat customers or are located on a busy street or in a busy mall, change your window displays often to keep passersby interested and intrigued. Get them in the mode of wondering what you will do next. Once you get people hooked on your window displays, the displays will start selling themselves and social media will surely be your friend! Remember, displays that are well designed and evoke a positive emotion are often followed by a purchase. So, get your windows barking and selling!
Lyn Falk is a consumer behavior specialist, customer experience curator, award-winning (registered) commercial interior designer, author, international speaker and president of Retailworks, Inc., a national design, branding and display company headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She and her team create “wow” experiences that inform, engage, surprise and delight customers.