Here at Tower Systems we are grateful to our thousands of local specialty retail business owners for their insights, advice and support. This community will our well of knowledge, they enable us to share this with others, like we do here in this place.
Today, let’s talk about the shop window. It’s a vital business asset as it works 24/7. It pitches your business to people often who have never shopped your shop.
Get it right, and your shop window can provide an excellent financial return for a modest investment.
The window of any retail business can tell how serious the business is about business. If it does not regularly (at least weekly) change, has old stock, is dusty or dirty, is covered in signs or presents mixed messages then the business most likely is not doing do hot.
Look at the most successful retail businesses, they have a window strategy. From national groups to independents, successful retailers understand the importance of the window in the overall marketing plan.
As prime retail real estate, the window is a place to be respected, obsessed about and wholeheartedly embraced. Consider these ideas for developing a window strategy:
See your window how others see it. Step outside your business and cross the mall or the street and look at the front of your shop. Spend a while doing this. Go back again if you are not sure what you see.
Look at other windows. If you have competitors nearby, check out their windows. If you have retail businesses you admire, look at their windows too.
Develop a window calendar. Decide on themes for window displays, set dates when new displays are to be installed. Engage all team members in deciding on the display calendar. Be sure to cover off the major seasons for the business. Be sure to balance window time to all product categories in the business. Be sure to build opportunities into the calendar for community engagement – the window is a terrific place for community groups to show off and bring their contacts to your business.
Be single minded. Each window display should have a single message. This ensures greater impact and provides a better opportunity for success.
Strip it back. Retail business windows often have unnecessary items which have been added over time. Strip as many of these back as possible. Leave the maximum space for your themed displays.
Learn how to create stunning displays. Consider sending employees to a visual merchandising course to learn how to create displays. Alternatively, bring in a visual merchandiser to create the displays for you.
Be prepared to do it over. If a window display does not present the business well or reflect your point of difference – from across the street or across the mall – do it over.
Remember what window displays are for. Then window display is for your customers and would-be customers, to get them to visit and buy from you. If a display does not do this then it has failed.
A good window display will drive traffic and sales. The impact will be felt almost immediately. Be brutal in your assessment of success. It is business after all. The business needs a return on investment from this most valuable retail real estate.
A great window display can reinvigorate a retail business and help everyone involved love the business a little bit more.