Advice for Retailers

Retail Window Displays

Retail window displays can draw customers into your store and create a strong brand. We offer advice on how to make the most of your store window displays.

A neat, eye-catching window display is an effective way to stop pedestrian traffic and entice people to enter your store.

To be sure, retail window displays have become more prominent and more sophisticated.

When was the last time you walked past a store window that didn't have some sort of graphic display?

Whether you operate a one-of-a-kind boutique or a chain store with hundreds of locations nationwide, you've got to master the art of retail window displays.

You've come to the right place, mind you. If you are wondering how to grab the attention of a busy person and lure them into your store to make a purchase, we've got some great tips for you.

  • 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 you don't grab their attention, you've lost the sale. Priority one is to divert the focus of the shopper to your store. At a minimum, your store windows need to be more edgy and engaging than the competition next door to you and across the street.
  • Work with your vendors. Many retailers neglect to contact their vendors for help on retail window displays. That's a mistake. Vendors will be happy to provide you with posters, banners and retail POP displays that you can put in your store windows. If you are on a tight budget, this can be a way to get a decent retail window display with minimal cost and minimal effort. It also directly promotes something that you sell. The downside is that you have little creative control over these materials.
  • Work with artists. Sure you could hire a Madison Avenue advertising agency to design your retail window displays, but you may find better cheaper talent simply by engaging the local art community. For example, an office supply store might contract a local artist to create large paintings of old-fashioned quill pens to promote a sale on pens. Alternatively, art galleries often will lend interesting pieces to you around which you can build a compelling retail window display.
  • It's not just about you. Consider making your windows available to local nonprofit organizations that are promoting a good cause. Window displays used for community projects often create good will for the retailer.
  • Show your holiday spirit. If Valentines Day is coming up, tie your window display into the holiday in some way. For every holiday, even obscure holidays, there is probably a clever way to promote your store with marketing messaging that ties into the holiday.
  • Think outside the window box. Instead of just putting up a Christmas display in your store window, why not wrap your entire store in holiday lights? Don't constrain yourself just to your windows like your competitors do. Think about ways to use the outside of the building in addition to or in conjunction with the window displays.
  • Be a quick change artist. Stale window displays will quickly be tuned out by passersby. 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, you know when you will be changing out your windows and can prepare accordingly.
  • Don't forget lighting.Retail window displays should be well-lit day and night. Even after the store is closed, it's a good idea to light up your window displays so that your marketing continues even while you and your workers are not at the store. Good daytime lighting is also important as it helps to avoid shadows that can limit the effectiveness of your window display.
  • Keep those windows clean. Nothing ruins a retail window display faster than a filthy window. Keep your windows clean to maximize the effectiveness of your window dispays.
  • Buy a digital camera. Remember that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. As you walk around the world, you'll no doubt see other retailer's window displays. Use these ideas to fuel your own creativity. By buying a digital camera and keeping it with you at all times, you can take pictures of window displays you like and then review them later. Without a camera, there's a good chance you'll forget what you saw.

As a retailer, there are so many things you can spend your time on. Don't forget to allocate time to your retail window displays because they can truly be a huge contributor to growing revenues and an expanding customer base.

Don't let that "window" of opportunity pass you by.

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Conversation Board

We greatly appreciate any advice you can provide on this topic. Please contribute your insights on this topic so others can benefit.

  • Mildred Keel-Williams posted on 4/6/2009
    Mildred Keel-Williams
    This is great and very user friendly. I will share your site with the business group that I recently organized!
  • joan posted on 8/16/2009
    Well written article! A good tip you offered is to buy a digital camera and photograph other retailer's windows, or just photograph whatever sparks your imagination. It's amazing what VMs create. Some create a story or they enlarge certain objects. They always manage to surprise me and make me walk into the store. Not all of them do, but there're some amazing artists out there. A good addition to your article is the storewindows page on squidoo. It visually very inspiring. The work created by visual merchandisers is like candy for the eye.
  • Shelly Timmons posted on 12/4/2009
    Shelly Timmons
    I have a question for anyone that can help I have been doing my own windows for many years recently a friend of mine opened a shop in the Kahler Grand Hotel in Rochester Minn. called Silver Spirit i have done her windows and mercandised for her I just finished her Christmas windows and if I get and call for more of this kind of work I don't have a clue what to charge for this?can you help?
  • Lori Ann Gum posted on 1/31/2010
    Lori Ann Gum
    When pricing out for windows you always want to make sure you know your approach first, the time it will take to make that happen and use an hourly charge. Then tack on 15% on top of this. Because it ALWAYS takes longer than you think. Problems arrise. Murphy's Law you know.
  • triogirl posted on 2/14/2010
    I'm looking for some websites that have pictures of window displays. Any ideas?
  • Ken Gaebler posted on 2/15/2010
    Ken Gaebler

    We are planning on adding window display photos on this site. If window display owners want to contribute images of retail displays, please contact us. Thanks.
  • James posted on 12/30/2010
    I have recently opened a retail shop and the window display seems to be a real problem for us. Does anyone have any contacts i could use to promote special offers etc by using advertising boards, photos and so on. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • BeQuiins posted on 3/29/2011
    I own a boutique almost 2 years and after experiencing tried and tested display,i found that visual display really play major role in helping to increase sales. Must never give up if first you don't success to grab customer attention but you must try and make yourself as if you are "customer" whether you will wear that piece display and how you'll entice of that piece. We should stand outside of the shop and act as if we are the "customer"...from there you will know what i mean.

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