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Winning Customers with Window Displays

For a retail small business, creating an effective window display is like making a great first impression — it should engage, entice and excite your audience. Your window display is often your first point of contact with potential customers, and winning them while they’re outside will increase your chance of winning them once they’re inside, too.

Windows not only pull customers in, but they also complete the sale, says Jacqueline Kanawatij, owner of clothing boutique J. Ensemble in Seal Beach, CA. "Eighty percent of our walk-in sales are from our windows — people buy what they see on display," she says. "Because our windows are so important, we change them twice a week."

Whether you’re relying on storytelling window art or a full-blown set complete with props and backdrops, your window display should paint the picture for your business and brand. When executed well, your window display will stop people in their tracks, grab their attention and compel them to walk through the door.

These tips will help you make the most of your window display.

Tell a clear and consistent story: Your window is your business’s face to the world. What do you want it to say? Think through what you want to convey, determine a central theme and build from there. Make sure products and props complement and are consistent with your theme.

Organize items for eye-grabbing appeal: Design a window display that showcases your products in a way that immediately draws attention and piques curiosity. According to Urban Development Services principal and merchandising expert Scott Day in his article "Shining a Light on Window Displays," a window display has an average of 2.5 seconds to catch a passerby’s eye. Start by organizing your display’s elements in visual planes that draw the eye to a focal point, and be sure that point is close to eye level. And remember: Less is more — don’t overdo it with too many items.

Keep products in stock: It’s critical that once you pull customers inside, your store delivers on your window display’s promise. Nothing frustrates customers more than seeing a product on display and then learning it’s not readily available. Before showcasing items, make sure you have plenty of inventory.

Keep your window fresh: Your window displays should be updated as often as twice a month, especially if your inventory changes frequently. This gives your business a sense of newness and your products a sense of timeliness. Plus, frequent and consistent updating helps you build a relationship with your audience — it sets a precedent that encourages customers to cross your threshold again and again.

Your storefront windows are a great opportunity to impress customers and entice them into your shop. Invest in creating the best possible window displays to generate excitement and curiosity about your store. After all, if you increase traffic, you’ll likely increase sales.

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