A Guide to Shop Window Advertising

Excellent customer service and high-quality products will keep people interested and ensure they return to your store time and time again – but the challenge is attracting passers-by into your shop in the first place.

The key elements to winning new customers are your visuals and branding, in the shape of your store’s window display. Standing out from your high street competition is crucial, so you will need to make sure your shopfront is as attention grabbing and fresh as possible.

Shop window

© Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock.com


How effective are window displays?

By virtue of their location on the high street, window displays, like other promotions, can directly attract people into the store with a view to making a purchase.

A survey by Statista revealed 79% of women and 70% of men in the UK said they would be prompted to go into a store spontaneously if a good window display caught their eye. The factor most likely to draw people in was a sale, as 84% of respondents said this would be the incentive that would get them into a shop.

An attractive shop window display rates more highly than billboards, mobile promotions and recommendations in terms of attracting people inside, according to interviews conducted with 2,000 UK shoppers.

If you’re thinking of revamping your shopfront, consider several important factors and learn how to advertise to get the best results.


What do you want to advertise?

You might think this is obvious but think about what angle you’re going to take. An obvious strategy is to advertise a sale, considering the number of people who say this is the top reason they will enter a shop as they pass by.

In general terms, telling a story with an advert is the most effective way of grabbing and keeping customers’ attention. A good window display must go beyond showing your wares. You need to find a theme and create a narrative.

Change your window display according to events, the season, a new range, or a sale/promotion – think of an interesting theme. There is no set format. It’s entirely down to your imagination.

A simple theme to promote a new summer collection in a clothes retail store would be to have mannequins posing with a cycle, sitting in a chair on the beach, or looking like they’re interacting and having fun. It doesn’t need to be complex, with a deep meaning. It should be something that people can relate to.


Who is your target audience?

Also take into account your target audience and create a window display that will appeal to them. What type of person will benefit most from your products or services? While the window display should be subtly targeted to attract the relevant shoppers, don’t make it so specific that it alienates other potential customers.

If your displays appear too exclusive to one particular group, shoppers walking past might actually be deterred from coming in. In addition, don’t alienate any particular age groups.

One study revealed how a mainly youthful window display team had designed a series of shop window displays for a music store. However, after a number of customers asked whether there was anything for adults, the management realised it was wrongly targeted towards a younger clientele because 75% of the staff were of that age.


How much space do you have?

Avoid clutter at all costs. Even if you have a lot of products you want to advertise, putting them all in the window will have a detrimental effect. People don’t like a jumble of items, so keep your design clean.

A cluttered window display devalues your merchandise and brand. In the retail sector, space equals luxury, so when you cram a lot of items together in a window, however good they are, they can look cheap.


What’s trending?

While your window display must be unique, even the best window dresser needs to draw inspiration from somewhere. It’s a good idea to keep on top of the latest trends and give them your own twist, so your displays don’t start looking dated.

Check online for sites that assist visual merchandisers and retailers by publishing news about the latest design trends and photographs of interesting designs and projects.

Look at articles and photographs about layouts, designs and displays from other successful retail stores and other businesses. Use them to spur you on and then make it work for your business by gearing it up to showcase your own products.

There has been a trend in recent years for more interactive displays. Research shows using interactive window displays “directly and positively influences” customer interest. They are perceived by consumers as being “innovative and exciting”.


All sectors

These guidelines apply to all sectors, including everything from the food industry to the automotive sector. When it comes to attracting customers, follow the guidelines, but gear them up to your particular business.

The importance of your shopfront cannot be over emphasised – it is one of the best ways to advertise your services and products!

Ideally, the central point of your display needs to be large enough to catch people’s attention, even from the other side of the street. You should then work out the best arrangement of products to be based around your focal point.

If in doubt, explore different configurations to see what works best. Pop outside and look at your window display from various angles to make sure it fits the bill.

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