Put on a Christmas face

In Features On

Creating a shop window display that will attract customers to your store is a skill that every retailer should master. Lynne Swatton, sales manager at Linsar, advises on how to lure customers in…

The focal point of a shop, no matter how large or small, is its window. This is the face that the shop portrays to the outside world. This is where you reveal your identity – the very essence that makes your shop unique.

It is the first thing that shoppers notice and just like a book cover, your shop will be judged upon it. So getting it right is key.

Employing a professional window dresser would be ideal but they do come at a price so many independents may prefer to go it alone.  But don’t worry if you can’t afford a professional window dresser. It is possible to create a dynamic and exciting window display by yourself as long as you remember to follow a few key pointers.


First – you need a theme. And this theme should start in the window and run through the store. Obviously the current theme is Christmas. But during the year it can be any number of major sporting events and with the Olympics and the biggest Digital Switchover coming in 2012 you are spoilt for choice.

Less is more

There is nothing worse than seeing a cluttered window display. If you have too much going on at once then nothing stands out. There is nothing to catch the shopper’s eye. Keep it simple. It’s far better to have just one large, bright object than lots of small ones fighting for space.

Bright lights

Good window lighting should focus on the objects being displayed rather than pointing outwards towards the shopper. A single spotlight can be effective in displaying just one object whereas accentuated lighting can help with a theme, such as reds for brazen and bold statements and soft lighting for a more muted tone.

Stack it up

Use boxes and steps to create stacks or pyramids (see picture above) so that your display isn’t one dimensional but at different eye levels so that the shopper’s interest is held for longer and the overall display is more attractive and interesting.

Background or not?

Stores in large shopping centres tend to have open-back windows that allow the customer to see right into the store. It is essential to keep these window displays simple and follow the theme you have through the rest of the shop. High street shops are more likely to have closed windows – these can be very effective as you can really make the most of your display and have themed background displays for special times such as Christmas, Easter and Halloween. If you don’t have a closed window you can add a large curtain in a neutral colour that will look striking to the casual passer-by. You could also paint a board as the backdrop and hang little coloured lights down it. In the pictures on the left we have used black thin card to create a backdrop and suspended two sets of electric lights from a pole across the top.

Be creative

Let your imagination run wild. Some of the most successful window displays have been surreal pieces of artwork that have drawn the customer in and provided a topic for discussion. There is nothing worse that all your hard work going generally unnoticed by the shopper, so make sure that it provides a talking point, even if that talking point is a little controversial. Remember, it’s better to be talked about than not at all.


Use your best products and make sure you show them off to their full advantage.  In the case of TVs you could borrow a small armchair from a local furniture store and position to one side of the window, with the TVs at the other. And remember that some consumers will be viewing your window at night. So make sure it is lit up and if you leave the TVs on, even better. Put your merchandise in a situation where people can imagine the products being used.

Still need help?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if your creative skills leave a lot to be desired. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a professional window dresser, just approach your local college or university and ask if any of their designers would do it for you. They come at half the price and are more than happy to notch up some experience for their portfolio.

Creating a shop window display to attract customers

Your windows are your first impression for your customers. They are the image you portray, a summary of the products you sell and a fantastic tool to entice new customers, from your selected demographic, into your shop and away from your competitors.

All good shop displays should be based around a theme. Whether this is a specific day, such as Christmas Day, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day or a certain period of time such as Back to School, New Autumn Collection or New Year Sales.

The window display will attract attention from your target market. While the phrase ‘Never judge a book by its cover’ is true, it most certainly isn’t for retail outlets. The window should give a sneak peak of what is in store for the customer and leave your target customer wanting to come inside and see more of the same. The window display, while showcasing your products, will also give the customer information without them knowing, such as what kind of products are available, what scope of range, style and also an indication of price. While it may not necessarily be a great idea to display the prices of all your products in the shop window the display itself will indicate the price. Minimalist displays showcasing only a few high-quality products will give a subconscious message that a more exclusive range with a higher price-point is being sold.

Top tips for creating a great window display

1.       Clean the window and display area. Cleaning the glass both inside and out, removing any marks or sticky patches from previous displays, then dust and vacuum will give you a great blank canvas with which to start your shop advertisement.

2.       When deciding on props for your display, pick two colours from the range you are currently promoting and base your display on them. Any more and it could look messy or less focused.

3.       Focus attention on the products you wish to sell. While you are using your shop window to attract attention, you want the attention to be focused on the products, not overshadowed by your display props.

4.       Backing papers, fabrics and banners can look fantastic and are also great at helping to fill a window. And one large coloured sheet/board at the back will provide a good background upon which to display your goods.

5.       Be creative with your displays. This can mean using out of the ordinary d
isplay props or materials, which are available locally, or composing it from free or recyclable products. One of the most popular and effective is using logs and leaves for autumn/winter based scenes.

6.       Recover old display materials. A fresh look on old props can be cheap and effective way of changing a display to compliment current fashion and trends.  For example you could buy some funky wallpaper to cover a wall or backdrop screen.

7.       Light your shop window. Accentuating products with good lighting during the day and also at night will spotlight your display and also attract attention even when you are closed.

8.       Advertise what you are trying to sell. The shop should promote from outside what you are actually selling inside and the theme should be continuous. It is no good promoting high class, exclusive products if once the customer comes inside they can only buy low cost, inexpensive items.

9.       Use your shop front in conjunction with your internal shop fittings. If your shop is visible through the window the gondolas, tables etc should be at a low level and build up towards the rear of the store so the customer can see right through the shop and new products as the display goes further away.

10.     Grab attention. A tried and tested way of grabbing attention is using shop window stickers on the front, especially during a sale but also to promote new ranges and new products.

11.     Last but not least – have a good stock of the products you are promoting – hopefully your new display will entice lots of new customers wanting to buy your products. Don’t let all that effort go to waste. 

You may also read!

Haier Smart Home awarded Sustainable Markets Initiative 2023 Terra Carta Seal

The Sustainable Markets Initiative today announced that Haier Smart Home, the number one company globally in major home appliances,


Major conference on electrical safety tackles full lifecycle of products

The clear focus of the 2023 Electrical Product Safety Conference was the importance of the whole product lifecycle –


Electrical Safety First featured in major royal book on shaping the UK’s future leadership

Electrical Safety First said it is delighted to be part of a select group of businesses and charities featured


Mobile Sliding Menu

©2021 Innovative Electrical Retailing. Datateam Business Media Limited. All rights reserved.
Registered in England No: 1771113. VAT No: 834 8567 90.
Registered Office: 15a London Road, Maidstone, Kent ME16 8LY