Designing Your Window Display – 20 Ways to Stand Out from Your Competition

shutterstock_193990394If you own a retail store, there’s no better way to catch people’s attention and drive foot traffic to your store than by designing a unique and memorable window display. This will also help you stand out from your competition and increase your sales.

Here are 20 tips on creating an eye-catching window display that will have people coming back to your store:

1. Understand your target audience

If your target audience is teenagers but you also sell items for adults, make sure your window display is targeted enough to attract the right people (i.e. teenagers), but not so specific that you end up alienating potential customers (i.e. adults). For example, rather than simply having child-centric imagery in your display, have some adult-centric imagery as well but without offensive or adult-only themes. This should help lure both teens and adults into your store.

2. Take a look at your environment

Your store may be in a shopping centre where people walk around, or it may be outside where people drive in their cars as they pass by your store. Consider the time it’ll take for people to walk or drive by your store and view your window display. Walkers may have up to a minute, but drivers will only have a few seconds to view it. If your potential customers are drivers, make sure that you don’t use a lot of text, ensure your message gets across within three seconds, make it a large display, and use more colour to catch their attention.

3. Highlight products with appropriate lighting

Lighting can not only make your window display bright and easy to see, it can also draw people’s eyes to a product you have on display or to a certain part of the window. If your window display has your brand, balance the lighting throughout so that your products can also get the attention they deserve. Also have lights shining to the sides and front of your display to make the items appear more 3Dimensional.

4. Have a theme

Your window display can stand out more and attract more people to your store if you have a theme. If it’s Halloween or Christmas, or summer or winter, you may want to decorate your window according to that particular occasion or season. This way even if someone doesn’t necessarily want the products on display, your theme can give them a reason to come into your store to see what else you might have inside. But make sure the theme you choose and how you portray that theme fits your brand or image.

5. Tell a story

You can also tell a story through your window display. Stories are better at grabbing and keeping people’s attention, and encouraging them to come inside and buy your products. Start by creating a story based on the theme you chose. For example, you can do a ‘Nutcracker’ story for Christmas, a ‘Sleepy Hollow’ story for Halloween, or a story about ‘Cupid’s Mischievousness’ for Valentine’s Day. If you own a jewellery store, you can do an engagement story. The point is to be unique by showcasing your products in a way that also tells a tale.

6. Create a layered design

You can stack your products on top of each other or use a pyramid. Consider placing items at different heights and depths to catch people’s attention, and to make your window display more interesting and inviting. You can also create three layers, with the first layer having vinyls or decals on the glass to communicate your text and frame the scene, the second layer would contain your products or the props for the scene, and the third layer would be a backdrop (more on this below).

7. Use a backdrop

A backdrop helps to put the scene displayed into context so it makes sense, or to create a dramatic window display that appeals to the senses and emotions. Backdrops can also separate the window from the store.

8. Incorporate mannequins into the design

Mannequins can also catch people’s eyes, so include them in your window display. You can try giving them different interesting poses that will make people turn to look at the window and be keen to know more about your store or even buy your products. Don’t forget to shine light on each one so they’re clearly visible from the outside.

9. Add flags or balloons

You can hang a string of bright and colourful pennant flags or balloons at the top of the display or use them to frame your window. They’ll make your window display lively, eye-catching, and fun. Just remember to replace the flags when their colour starts to fade (if your store is outside), and the balloons when they start to shrink.

10. Be bold

Be bold with everything in your window display – including the colours, shapes and props – to make them eye-catching even from a distance. This means choosing colours not like plain red but more like fuchsia, which is a vivid purplish red colour and is currently considered trendy. But only choose colours that are consistent with your brand and products. As for props, they can help add context and position your products at eye level. You can cut up foam boards, create papier-mâché, or anything else that’s appropriate for your store.

11. Be creative

A creative window display is one that is innovative, attractive, and compelling. It can make people feel excited about or be amazed by your store and your products, which could in turn make them spread the word around and get even more people to come into your store.

12. Create a focal point

When creating a focal point with your window display, make sure to direct people’s eyes towards your products so that they remember it – ensure that it’s at eye level. Also have a look at your window from the outside and determine how big your focal point should be so people can still see it from the other side of the street or mall. You can arrange your products according to your focal point in straight or curved lines, or in the shape of a pyramid or circle.

13. Keep it simple

Simplicity is the key to creating an effective window display. With a simple display, not only will you be able to draw people’s attention towards your featured products, but you’ll also enable them to understand why the products are arranged the way they are and why some are grouped together. You should be able to justify why you included the things you did in your display.

14. Avoid clutter

Keeping your window display clutter-free is also essential. You should have a clean design, with only a few items featured in your display. After all, you should be giving people just a sneak peek of the products you have on offer, not everything. Like simplicity, it’ll also make it easier for people to process. Moreover, space means luxury, whereas a cluttered display will look cheap.

15. Balance it out

If you’re going to have big and small objects, dark and light colours, or lights and shadows, it’s important that you balance these different elements to make your window display aesthetically pleasing to the eye. For example, consider putting large, dark items at the bottom and light, colourful items at the top so your display doesn’t appear top-heavy.

16. Think of your window display as a billboard

Put a big bold message on your window that can catch the eye of your potential customers, whether they’re pedestrians or drivers. It could have a particular theme, an offer, or a call to action. Your window display should also highlight the image of your store, e.g. trendy, fun, upscale or sophisticated.

Remember, you have full control over your window display, so do something cool with it that’ll make you stand out from the crowd.

17. Create a memorable sign

A memorable sign can have any of the following features: buy one item and get another one free, a short list of benefits, a snappy comment, draws attention to a rare item, and high-quality colour graphics.

18. Use banners

You can also hang banners across the window with eye-catching colours, like fluorescent pink. Put the words ‘We’ve got’ at the top and then add images of the best products you have on offer. The point isn’t to scream price but to showcase wants.

19. Take one final look

Once everything’s organised, go outside and look at your window display from different angles. Also walk up to it from different directions while re-checking your focal point, whether your signs or call to actions are clear and visible, and if everything looks balanced. Your window display should grab your attention and have a clear theme. If everything’s perfect and how you want it to be, that’s great! And if not, change it until it is.

20. Change it frequently

To maintain interest in your window display, you should keep it looking new and fresh by changing it on a regular basis, such as once a month or even once a week during busy times like the holidays. Keeping it in line with your current promotions, a specific occasion or season will also make for an effective window display.

Your store’s window display is the first thing people see, so it’s important that you make a good first (and subsequent) impression. Creating the best window display you can is sure to catch people’s attention and not only increase your store traffic, but your sales as well in no time.