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Dos and Don’ts to Create Stunning Window Displays

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression and the same can be said about the way you present your brand to customers whether in a shopping centre or street-level store environment.

Visual merchandising in window displays is a crucial yet often overlooked aspect of marketing strategy. The design and construction of your store windows sets the stage for initial impressions of your brand and establishes a strong foundation for emotional connections with your products and hero showcases.

We’ve collated our do’s and don’ts for window displays to ensure that your next installation not only attracts shoppers in a cluttered retail environment but also draws them into the store and ultimately guides them though the path to purchase.

Do: Plan your campaign brief

As with any project, having a clear and concise plan in mind is the key to success. Start by setting specific goals for your campaign display – do you want to promote seasonal products or showcase a new product line? Additionally, consider your target audience and the message you want to convey to them. Are you aiming to attract a specific demographic, evoke certain emotions or communicate key brand values? Understanding your audience’s preferences and interests will enable you to tailor your campaign display to resonate with them effectively. From choosing the best colours, themes or products to showcase, keeping a customer-centric focus to your window display at all times will ensure success is the end result.

A well-defined purpose will also guide your design choices and keep you on track throughout the custom design and manufacturing process. We’ve got the perfect foundation for you to start crafting your brief in this Guide.

Do: Plan your space

Consider viewing from an external perspective to ensure you have optimal positioning – after all this is how your audience will see it. Are you familiar with size and dimensions you can work within, as well as how to access the window? Are there any sizing restrictions within the window that you must adhere to? Make sure you know where the power plugs are located and exactly how much power is available. It’s essential to have a comprehensive understanding of the practical limitations and resources available within your space to inform your display design and construction decisions.

At DisplayWise, we’re here to help and can conduct a thorough site assessment with you prior to going into the design stage in order to determine what’s possible within your space. We will identify and discuss any existing fixtures that need to be considered and liaise with the shopping centre or site managers to ensure compliance. This proven approach will make sure your window display not only captures attention but also functions seamlessly within its environment, maximising its impact and effectiveness.

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Don't: Overcomplicate

Scott Freeman, our Account Director, suggests a simple approach;

“While you may be tempted to include numerous products or complimentary messaging within your window display, it’s important to remember that simplicity is often the best approach. Focus on a central theme or key message that’s not only visually captivating but also effectively communicates and avoids overwhelming your audience.  A cluttered display could confuse potential customers and dilute your key messaging, which is the opposite of what you want to achieve.”

At DisplayWise, our powerhouse team of Industrial Designers take the time to understand not only your brand and brief but your customers too. We develop and refine ideas in collaboration with you, ensuring that your window display reflects the essence of your brand and achieves your marketing objectives.

Do: Tell a story

Storytelling allows you to connect with your audience on an emotional level, eliciting feelings of curiosity, excitement or nostalgia. Whether it’s through visual elements, signage or interactive components storytelling adds depth and meaning to your display, making it more memorable and therefore more impactful. Use your window display to share the story behind your products, showcase your commitment to sustainability or celebrate your brand’s heritage and craftsmanship – because what better way is there to tell your story than to show it? Check out our blog article for more tips on the power of storytelling.

Don't: Neglect Signage

Clear, concise signage helps guide shopper attention and directs them to specific areas or products within your display. Without proper signage, potential customers may feel confused or unsure where to focus their attention, leading to a disorganised and ineffective display. Consistent branding across signage elements helps strengthen brand recognition ensuring your message is loud, clear and compelling.

Well-designed signage also contributes to the visual balance of your display, helping to create a harmonious and aesthetically pleasing showcase. Opt for signage that features consistent branding elements such as colours, fonts and logos that will help tie your display elements together. Whether it’s a banner, decal or hanging signage, you want to create a visual harmony rather than disrupt the flow with poor signage design.  

Don’t be afraid of negative space either! Incorporating this approach to design thinking in your signage helps prevent overcrowding and allows each element to breathe, contributing to a clean and uncluttered look. Whether it’s leaving margins around text or spacing out individual signage elements, negative space will enhance readability and visual balance.

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Do: Prioritise Lighting

Strategically positioned lighting can have an incredible effect when it comes to capturing people’s interest. By thoughtfully illuminating specific areas or products, you can effectively create focal points and enhance the overall ambiance of your space. Lighting sets the mood and atmosphere of your display, influencing how customers perceive your brand and products. Experiment with different lighting techniques, such as warm or cool tones and don’t be afraid to try some colour, if that suits your campaign. Play with light and shadow to add depth and dimension to your products and create a visual hierarchy that attracts attention before shoppers arrive to your store-front.

It’s also important to consider energy efficiency! Opt for LED lighting solutions, which not only consume less energy but also offer versatility and longevity in your display, particularly if you have street-level access, allowing you to create a stunning showcase while minimising environmental impact.

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Don't: Ignore the seasons

Seasonal displays resonate with customers by tapping into their current interests, needs and aspirations. Ignoring seasonal themes can result in window displays that feel out of touch or irrelevant to your audience, failing to capture their attention or spark interest. Consider leveraging these seasonal periods for exclusive promotions, special offers or themed events that drive foot traffic and boost sales. Seasonal changes also provide an opportunity to inject variety and freshness into your displays, keeping them dynamic and engaging for repeat visitors. Take the opportunity to try new colours, graphics or themed decorations that reflect your brand and capture the essence of the season throughout these periods too.

Don't: Neglect maintenance

Your window display should always look fresh and inviting – free from fingerprints, dust or other debris. Regularly clean your windows, inside and out, and be sure to check all your display elements are in good condition. Remember, an unkempt display can send the wrong message to potential customers.

Ultimately, crafting a stunning window display is not just about aesthetics—it’s about creating an immersive brand experience that captivates and engages your audience from the moment they set eyes on your storefront. At DisplayWise, we understand the importance of visual merchandising in window displays and our experienced team is here to guide your vision from concept to execution. So, whether you’re looking to refresh your current display or embark on a new installation, contact the DisplayWise team today to discover how we can transform your storefront into a sensational showcase.

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