Window display is retailer’s most controllable element in relation to image of the store and that the merchandise displayed must match the target consumers. Windows may communicate style, content, and price point. They can be seductive, exciting or based on emotional stimulus through stimulation, or evocation of all five senses. The best store windows can generate great excitement and are a talking point. They contribute to the shopping experience by entertaining pedestrians, while simultaneously communicating the products and services on offer.
For a retailer willing to exploit the full potential that a window gives, the image-building process can be exciting and have enormous potential. A fashion retailer, for instance, will often change a window weekly to show the latest items on offer. A glance into a shop’s window by a passerby establishes the time of the year and, very likely, a timely contemporary event. It might combine seasonal and festive points of the year such as Spring, Summer, New Year approaching, Diwali, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day etc. At other times the propping may be based on color schemes, materials or cultural themes.
Themes: Popular Trends-
A winning window display should have a theme. The theme should be the flavour of the season. Window display, covertly displays the image of the store i.e., whether a store provides cutting edge technology, or does it give great discount offer etc. Choosing the right theme for the window is often the most challenging part of the whole display design experience. Selecting a single theme for all the store windows and some interior display spaces can create a cohesive and inviting appearance. A few popular ideas for display merchandising are:
Seasonal themes – Appropriately timed spring gardening displays, summer beach displays, or winter holiday displays are all going to appeal to people strolling by the store window, since they are currently thinking about these things.
Colour themes – A variety of items in all shapes and sizes can create a wonderful display when they are all shades of the same color. This gives the business a chance to showcase many different products at the same time.
Odd holiday themes – Have fun with strange holidays, from celebrations of the pets to a day set aside for the sale shopping. With the hundreds of holidays that fill each year, there is sure to be at least one that is a perfect fit for the business.
What’s new – Show people the latest and greatest items the store is carrying right in the window. The display has to be done in a manner that generates a sense of interest in the people along with informing them about the store merchandise. A well thought-out display requires huge amount of pre- planning. One should take time to plan a display. One should consider what one wants to accomplish, chalk out a budget and determine a central theme. One can develop a display as a shadow box with all visual display tools, the merchandise and props placed in miniature inside it or one can sketch out the display on paper. The display should correctly place all materials and location of tables, windows, racks, mannequins considering their dimension to the window display. The lighting and the angle of the display should well thought off.
Elements of Effective Display-
An effective display should be a harmonious blend of following elements. The window display should be able to communicate the message in most subtle yet creative and effective manner.
1. Balance: the props inside the window display should be placed in asymmetrical balance rather than symmetrical balance as both sides of the display having similar weight tends to make the display look bulky and cluttered.
2. Size of Objects: when the props are placed inside the display then the placement of large and bulky items should be done first. Since placement of such items affects the balance of the display, any change or shifting of such items can lead to unbalanced display. Placing objects in different heights creates visual interest and keeps a person’s eyes moving around the display.
3. Colour: they help in setting mood and add feelings to the display. The first attraction is often created by the colour. Right selection of colour according to the theme can make the display look appropriate and trendy. Often the philosophy of the store is also reflected by the colour of the display. A retail store selling goods based on a philosophy of being inspired by the nature then the colour palette of the window display carry colours of the nature.
4. Focal Point: in order to look as complete whole the display should have a focal point. A point of main emphasis to which all other props leads to. For this to happen, the product and props/signage and background should come together.
5. Lighting: lighting plays an important role in creating an ambience with in the display. In creating theme often the background is muted by spread lights and the specific product that is the focal point are accentuated with focus lights. In lighting there different lights that are used for day time and night time. The angle of lighting, the softness of brightness of the lights, luminosity of the display should be taken care of. The lights should be placed in such a manner that they don’t create shadows, until such an effect is required.
6. Simplicity: in want to display more, people often make blunders with their display. The display should also act an instrument of interest and surprise. The products showcased in the display should hold the interest of the consumers’ to an extent that out of curiosity they are forced to enter the store and check out what else is there in the store. It is important to understand that less is more and one should know when to stop adding any more items.
Window Display Types –
According to the size of the shop, the location and the desire of the retailer the display windows can be of following types-
1. Flat windows: storefront glazing is projected as far forward as possible and built in a straight line, with an entrance door aligned or set back from this line. Such window types are most commonly found.
2. Arcade window: they extend from a store’s entrance set back between two windows, which allow a store with less front space to increase its windows space in which to show merchandise.
3. Angled windows: they look similar to flat display windows but are angled out. This is often done to remove monotony of flat windows and the add interest to shop by giving three way look of merchandise.
4. Corner windows: corner windows are specifically designed for those shops located on corner properties. They have two sides of window to display their merchandise.
According to Kemal Yildirima 2007, consumers seem to have a more positive perception of flat windows than arcade windows with respect to promotion, merchandise and fashion. Compared to females, males evaluated the store window more positively.
According to the service that a window requires they can be divided into-
1. Closed Windows: they are most often used in department stores. They resemble a room, which have three solid walls and an entry door. They are the ones which require a lot of planning in order to transform them into “showstoppers”. They often require lots of merchandise and props to fill them up. As these windows can only be seen from the front a lot of detailing is done beforehand.
2. Open Back Windows: These windows have no back wall, but may have side walls. Some retailers prefer them because they let in lots of natural light and they make the interior of the store visible from the outside. One has pay to attention from to all angles when dressing this type of window as they can be seen from all sides, both inside and outside the store. Customers also have access to this type of window (meaning they can walk up and touch the display), since it is not enclosed in a room.
Major Points for Retailers-
Form the moment the concept of store is conceived, the understanding for creating an effective window display should be acquired. Starting from the type of window display, the materials used in construction and the glass used should be assessed and placed for easy and secured display. Besides constructional part, creative aspect should be planned meticulously in advance to create a dazzling effect. However, there are also practical concerns to address. Before one begins, there are certain practical points that retailers should be keep in mind.
1. Grab their attention. First and foremost, a retail window display must be eye catching. It takes only a few seconds to walk past a store window. If the display doesn’t grab their attention, the sale is lost. The priority should be to divert the focus of the shopper to one’s store. The store windows should be such that it differentiates one’s window with that of competition next door and also across the street. The onlooker even if not interested to buy the product at that moment should carry the display in their minds. Such technique adds a recall factor to the store and often leads to purchases in future.
2. Work with your vendors. Many retailers neglect to contact their vendors for help on retail window displays. This should be avoided. In order to create a more honest and updated window display it is essential that the vendors are contacted and recent posters, banners and retail POP displays should be acquired and placed in store windows. The vendors too would be delighted to have a retail outlet which likes to display their recent products. This form of alliance not only keeps both sides happy but also decreases budget of the display.
3. Work with artists. Hiring an expert can be costly, especially when one is starting a showroom. In such a scenario one can hire a new talent which can provide local, cheaper and newer concepts of window display. For example, a new retail outlet selling traditional handicrafts, might hire a local artist to create large paintings of old-fashioned textile designs. Alternatively, art galleries can be approached to hire interesting pieces that can express the theme and one can build a compelling retail window display around it.
4. Social cause. A good deed deserves another, if one allows a part of the windows for use to local non-profit organizations that are promoting a good cause; often such a display attracts more attention as people desires to know about the cause that is being promoted. Such window displays used for community projects creates good will for the retailer.
5. Show your holiday spirit. There is no other attraction then to see a coming holiday season display. People often love to see new products that will be launched for the coming season. If the retailer uses such holidays, even obscure holidays, then they can cleverly promote one’s store with marketing messaging that tie with the holiday.
6. Think outside the window box. When consumer enters the store after seeing a good display, the store should too carry the same vibrancy. Cleverly placed displays, posters etc. often help consumers to reach the product they want inside the store. Different and innovative ways should be used in order to use the outside of the building in addition to or in conjunction with the window displays.
7. Use of lighting. Retail window displays should be well-lit day and night. Even after the store is closed, lighting up of one’s window displays strategically, can create marketing even while one is not in the store. Good daytime lighting is also important as it helps to avoid shadows that can limit the effectiveness of one’s window display. Different lighting techniques can be used where, specific products can be placed under spotlight and if the window design simply features one’s brand/image, rather than specific products, then balanced lighting can be used throughout.
8. Be a quick change artist. Stale window displays are quickly be tuned out by passers by. It’s a good idea to change your windows at least every month. Smart retailers put in place a window display plan for the year and then execute the plan. In that way, one knows when there will be a changing of windows, and one can prepare accordingly.
9. Keep windows clean. Nothing ruins a retail window display faster than a filthy window. The windows should be cleaned to maximize the effectiveness of one’s window displays.
Like any other aspect of retailing, creating an attractive display takes a little skill and lots of trial and error. One should keep working at designing eye-catching and innovative ways to make retail store profitable through visual merchandising. Once the window display is installed, one shouldn’t forget to keep rotating merchandise with fresh merchandise and replacing any items that have become soiled.