I took that photo a year ago, in downtown San Francisco. I don't even remember the name of the store (might have been Old Navy), but this was just too fun to pass up. I had to peek around the back of the banner, of course, to see what they were putting into the window, and found the silly scene that they had set up:

It looked like a bizarre nude mannequin cocktail party, everyone milling around!

I'm always preaching at people to change their main shop displays every two weeks. Yes, I actually SAY that in my seminars! And it is ALWAYS met with looks of utter shock, horror, and disbelief from 90% of the attendees, never fails. I know you are all busy, I know there is so much involved in running your own business..but really, displaying products is JUST as important as ordering them. While a bi-weekly re-set is best, a monthly change is absolutely necessary.Going longer than that is just retail suicide.You need to look fresh, new, vibrant, and appeal to the curiosity of your customers. They just don't respond to the 'same old, same old' approach, and if they don't see anything new, they'll pass you by to head for a shop that looks interesting.

There are many ways to make this easy on yourself - try a few of these tips:
1. To create intrigue, cover your windows with paper - white butcher paper, brown kraft paper, colored paper, even newspaper...coordinate it with your store image. Block the goings-on from view for the day or two it may take you to re-set the window. It will drive people crazy - they won't be able to wait to see what's new! Make a big sign that says something like "Coming Soon...NEW STUFF!".

2. Create a setting in your window - a front porch, a dining room, a backyard picnic scene.
Think about three ways you can change it to fit the current season - set up a picnic table, for example, in June, and keep 'tweaking' it to show off new incoming product each month. June is a garden theme, July is patriotic bbq, and August is a lovely Tuscan sunflower dinner party outdoors. This way, you are changing the products and a few of the props - but the basic fixtures (table, chairs, a picket fence, maybe a bbq and a fake tree) stay the same. That saves you time when you re-set it each month. Heading into fall now, I suggest you try a porch scene - use an old door, some shutters beside it, a rustic bench and chair, and even a picket fence beside it. In September, highlight your back-to-school stuff (backpacks, stationery, etc. ) in harvest baskets - make it feel a bit like a farmer's market. In October, it's a no-brainer - either go with Halloween goodies or the full harvest festival, with pumpkins, gourds, and whatever product fits.In November, break out the Thanksgiving theme and express the concepts of gratitude and bounty. Many people have great success adding a patriotic theme into this, believe it or not - Thanksgiving IS, after all, an American original holiday. For the Winter season, set up a dining room scene or living room mantel.

3. Ask your employees if they would like to take part in creating store displays.
You may be amazed to find that there is latent talent within your staff - an art student who works for you part-time, someone who is a hobbist photographer or dressmaker. Creativity is something we ALL have - give people an opportunity to show it off! Make sure they realize that you have final veto rights, however - talk with them about your current advertising and marketing to spur theme ideas, show them the product you want to highlight, and tell them when you want them to do it. Ask them to show you a sketch of what their idea is before they begin, so you can approve it. It respresents YOU and your business, remember. It needs to do so professionally!

Think of window displays as a chance for you to make a BIG statement about who you are, what you offer your customers, and how you can make their lives easier, more meaningful, more fun, and special. It's not a chore - it's an opportunity for creative selling!!!

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