TIPS FOR CREATING STUNNING STORE WINDOW DISPLAYS
I have helped out numerous retail chains, as well as, mom and pop boutiques with custom requested designs for their storefront windows over the years. Today, I am sharing some of these window displays and 7 tips for creating your own boutique window display. Some of these designs were many years ago and while I can’t take credit for the actual set up and arrangement of the window displays- I did create the 3-D cardstock designs for them. Of course, not the Anthropologie window display- I don’t make balloon shapes! But I could not resist showing that fun and creative display for the clothing retail chain. How can you not laugh at a mannequin with no arms walking around 20 mini balloon poodles! You know this would catch your eye and make you smile if you walked by it . . . which is exactly the point.
While most of the window displays I designed for were displays for spring and summer with pinwheels–
Over the years, I have also helped create winter displays with custom hanging fans, giant snowflakes, oversized flowers, large origami birds, and lots of other designs-
If you need help with a retail window display, whatever your business may be, I am happy to help create custom designs for your overall storefront window. You can commission a custom order from either of my Etsy shops by clicking here-
THE PARTY FETTI SHOP
And now for seven tips for creating stunning window displays. I am sharing some of what I learned in college about marketing and retail window displays and my experience as a previous interior designer. Your window displays are like billboards for your store. They can be the make-or-break factor in whether a customer enters your shop or walks on by. Yet too often, small retailers create windows that are boring, cluttered or poorly lit. Use some of these tips to create window displays that will make customers want to come into your store.
7 TIPS FOR STUNNING VISUAL MERCHANDISING & WINDOW DISPLAYS:
1. Tell a story. When Christmas season rolls around, you might be tempted to grab every green and red item off your shelves and cram them in your display- or every high dollar gift item. That’s too simplistic and shoppers know when you are trying to push that one item you don’t want in your inventory after the holidays or any season. Start with a theme first and then plug in the pieces.
2. Think in visual planes. Before arranging a display, run a line of blue tape across the window to mark eye level from the street. That isn’t something you can simply estimate from inside a window because the floor often isn’t at street level. Concentrate the key pieces where the tape is and at the same time, don’t arrange everything at eye level. As an interior designer, I learned to use the entire space by suspending items from the ceiling or lowering them close to the floor, while maintaining a focal point at eye level.
3. Surprise customers. If you want to get noticed, avoid the predictable. Incorporate unexpected, whimsical objects in your windows. Use large papier-mâché or 3-D cardstock creations that are handmade by you or designed by a professional. Take small everyday objects and blow them up to giant scale- items like flowers in the spring, pinwheels and ladybugs in the summer, acorns and leaves in the Fall, Snowflakes and icicles in the winter- for just a few examples. The idea is to take the normal and make it whimsical or out of context. This will catch customers’ attention. Think about what would make people walking by take a second look and actually stop a second to actually admire your creative window display. If it is really stunning- people may take pictures with their phone cameras and put them on social media. Free advertising! Make sure your shop name is somewhere on the window front so you can get the free marketing for your actual business name. Simple, readable, small, white vinyl lettering across the front at eye level, but off to the side, is recommended.
4. Use bold shapes and colors. You don’t have to be crafty or a fine artist to be good at window design. Nor do you don’t have to break the bank, but if you just don’t have time to make something creative or spend a great deal of money on an interior designer or a professional visual display merchandiser- try purchasing items from a local party retail store or visiting an online Etsy shop for some help. I never intended to create designs for windows, since the bulk of my business is as a vendor for wedding and event planners for wedding designs and children’s parties- but somewhere along the way, my designs caught the eye of a boutique owner or a big P.R. firm and I have designed many custom items for the purpose of visual merchandising. If you are doing it yourself, think in bold colors and shapes. Hang giant tissue paper pom poms or colorful fans, or even battery lighted paper globes or lanterns in the background and be sure to carry this same theme into the inside of the shop- hang a few of these same elements a bit lower, just over table displays or in the corners of the shop – something that customers can see from a distance and will draw them inside your shop. You can also save many of these designs and recreate new displays in the coming years by pulling from this collection of display items- just create a new story or incorporate new designs alongside the items you are using again for a new display.
5. Keep it clean. You don’t want to clutter your windows with an assortment of products. A simple rule is that less product fits with a better quality product, rather than a discount window where you might see a lot of merchandise. This reads as a whole bunch of stuff crammed in a small space. Yet, there is a trick to creating repetition that is visually pleasing. A single or a double of any product is not going to get a passerby’s attention. However, if you put a dozen of something out, in a creative and unusual set up, it will get people to look and look again. A Christmas tree made of rolled up and stacked colorful sweaters, for example, is bound to draw more attention than a single sweater on a mannequin. Use your products in unusual ways to create something new visually but don’t go too far off kilter that you can no longer make out what the actual product is or its intended purpose.
6. Update your displays. You want to change your windows as often as possible, but it doesn’t have to be a costly or a time-consuming effort. At the very least, update your displays every change of season, but this is a bit lax. No one wants to see that same dress all summer as they walk by your shop- stay within trends and switch out new inventory on your mannequins or whatever your focal product may be for the storefront window- every one to two months is what is recommended. The more often you change your windows, the more people will look at your store. If the display is exactly the same week after week, regular and repeat shoppers will tune it out and walk on by to the next store.
7. Use lighting to stand out. Window lighting shouldn’t be an afterthought. Lighting is crucial in every setting, space, and windows are no exception. You can really draw a customer in if you have the correct angle of light on your product. Don’t simply hang lights directly above a product- this will create unflattering shadows. Instead, use spotlighting to highlight focal points. And spend the extra money on the electric bill to keep your lights on after you close and after dark. If your store is the only place with the lights on, it will be the only store people see and your shop will be like a lighthouse, creating a beacon of visual stimulation, drawing people to look in the direction of your window.
I hope these 7 tips for creating eye catching window displays have been helpful! Thanks for stopping by The Party Fetti Blog!