Create the most prominent retail marketing tool
8 tips for effective window display

Neuhaus Easter window decoration
Neuhaus Easter window decoration — Easter is the perfect time to celebrate the tender blossoming of the meadows, colourful flowers spreading, the awakening of nature ... The hunt for chocolate eggs is open, and not only for the youngest.

Places where people come to shop, to meet friends, to relax and to be entertained, are a rich tapestry of shops. Vibrant storefronts are their lifeblood. They compete for attention. To stand out in this exhilarating hubbub, each retail giant or chain store showcases its own unique personality through window dressing. The battle is on!

Conjuring wonder and differentiation, an enticing window display has the ability to provide visual entertainment, breathe new life into the shop, stop and engage passers-by, and draw them in for an unplanned or impulsive visit (and buy).

What is the recipe for an effective window display? For many years we have been entrusted with the design and realisation of the shop windows of retail brands Yves Rocher and Neuhaus. We are happy to share our experience on the most prominent retail marketing tool.

Before you move on

We specialise in the creation, design and manufacture of point-of-sale display materials, specific retail furniture and merchandising solutions, all 100% custom-made to the in-store projects of retail and brand. At Team Pilotes, we prioritise environmental sustainability by analysing the life cycle of each project to minimise its impacts 🌍🌿

1. Capitalise on an overall theme

Garden of Curiosities window animation for Yves Rocher
Garden of Curiosities window animation for Yves Rocher

Though surprise always attracts attention, to really anchor the shopping eyes, a clear, identifiable, and cohesive theme is the key to success. With a little reimagination, a dash of inspiration, and perspiration, to create emotional connections and draw in crowds, work alongside running marketing campaigns and product introductions, and ensure consistency across all communication channels.

The challenge is to adapt the predefined theme and graphic vibe as faithfully as possible to the operational context of the storefronts, using décor, shapes and materials within the allocated budget, and with modular configurations suitable for all the stores and storefronts in the network.

The theme could be anything from seasonal (Christmas, Valentine, spring, back to school, etc) or correspond to event-based priorities.

2. Tell your story

Once an overall theme has been chosen, a window display should be able to jazz up attention with what’s on sale; the specific product or line-up being presented, profile, attributes or promises. Storytelling is a convincing marketing method. It brings focus to your presentation.

Storytelling can win over the hearts and minds of your audience. And while it is one of the less obvious elements, storytelling can take on powerful dimensions when combined with the right display to convey values and promises to its target audience. Therefore, your story should be on brand, reflect values and personality, and reassert brand truths.

Yves Rocher Christmas window animation
Neuhaus Valentine's Day window display
Yves Rocher window animation

3. Focus on your target audience

The ultimate benefit of any display initiative is, of course, communication. Taking an audience-centred approach involves knowing your target audience. Adapt your window to their lifestyle, motivations, expectations, ... Genuine experiences improve the effectiveness of your display. Your audience is likely to invest more in your brand.

Yves Rocher Christmas window animation
Neuhaus window animation
Yves Rocher Christmas window animation

4. Products sell products (and they convey a message)

A shop window is a small theatre in which decor plays a central role. But the arrangements of space must be carefully orchestrated with warm zones for the products and cooler zones that contribute to the overall ambiance. Dressing should not dominate what is for sale. Merchandise should remain clearly visible in the centre of the display. The most important rule for any display initiative also applies to storefronts.

And because windows are an initial visual touch point, they can give passers-by a quick snapshot of what the store is about. Or they can set the tone for the shopping experience on offer. Of course, they should be inviting, but not everyone will decide to venture into a store immediately. Most of them are in a hurry – work and family, remember? What message do you want to convey? When you have mere seconds to capture their attention, what will you be quickly communicating?

5. Choose genuine material and color combinations

Wood, metal, plastic, fabrics, leather, glass, ... the material and colour combinations of window display influence passers-by in many ways. They deliver a desired visual experience or bring a touch of authenticity. They convey quality, value, emotions and meaning.

The Sweet Perfume of Chocolate by Neuhaus. Star chef Arabelle Meirlaen creates exquisite pralines inspired by perfume. Surprise your loved one with a limited edition Love Letter filled with exclusive pralines.

Some material represents wealth, extravagance, or power. Other stand for indulgence and desire, or purity and sustainability. A well-chosen material mix, accorded with the DNA of the retail brand, immerses passers-by in its universe. Whether the brand is medium, high-end or luxury, material options and colours make display effective. These details also create a cohesive image to the target audience.

6. Make it pop!

The best way to attract and convert passer-by is to wow them. The creation of a window display offers a unique chance to innovate with eye-rubbing visual experiences. Make it pop with materials, colours, shapes, textures, contrasts, graphic vibe, visuals, ... Bright lighting makes window display even more attractive. Use light anywhere you feel you could benefit from a little extra push.

7. Think modular design

All shops are different. Modular design is a go-to for merchandising professionals looking to make the most of the available spaces in all the shops of a network. From the very beginning of its design, it is wise to anticipate the modularity in height, width, and depth for your window concept.

8. The important last step: organise and implement!

To boost vitality (and sales) in retail, each projects strength lies in its ambition and the quality of its realisation. Be proactive – advocate and champion your ideas internally to get the funding to make them happen. Know where you are going and recruit the people you need to get there. Be collaborative – develop a project plan and use this to get partners involved, create excitement, and build alliances. Be organised and evaluate – collect data and measure impact, discuss what worked, consider how it could be improved, share ideas and plan for next time.

We hope the examples in this article inspired you to be ambitious and bold with your creative ideas. Here at Pilotes, we believe in the power of premium display. Our 25 years of experience allows you to enhance the appearance of your windows. Reach out today to set up a free consultation. We'll find the best solution for your brand.

Date: Dec. 2021 — bh