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Three Tools for Window Displays

As a customer our first encounter with a brick and mortar store is, probably nine times out of ten, the front windows of the place. The window displays are the way to welcome guests and potential customers inside, but also to give those passersby a glimpse of what could be waiting in there for them. They advertise, entice, and entertain. If your display isn't intriguing to some degree passersby won't stop to look and, even worse, they won't remember your store. Knowing all of those factors, is it any wonder that so much money is spent by retail stores on window designs every year? While I can't let you know exactly which display will work best for your store and the merchandise you're trying to sell, what I can do is tell you about some of the tools you can use to enhance your window display. These tools are reusable and can be applied to a wide variety of settings, making them a real investment (always important for smaller businesses as well as larger ones). When potential customers can easily and clearly grasp the message you're trying to relay via the window display, then you know they're doing their job.

One of the key tenets I found in my research about window displays is: "keep it neat and clean." You don't want your display cluttered up with all manner of unrelated products, making it so confusing that passersby can't tell what message you're trying to get across. That being said, you don't have to shy away from extra ornamentation totally. Incorporating hanging posters or printed graphics into a window display is a great way to provide a backdrop to a scene, block the view of the store beyond the window, and also provide a little more detail that a pure visual may not be able to get across. With the right style of hanging frame, you'll also be able to keep the floor clear for the merchandise aspect of the window display. Personally, I prefer the more delicate looking frames, the ones that don't really distract from the images on display, although there are other styles to be found out there on the internet too. They're usually made from clear acrylic and attached to the ceiling with rather delicate wires or chains. With a design like that, there's nothing that's going to get in the way of the poster.

An alternate option is a hanging light box frame. These designs are a bit bulkier, but they need to be in order to incorporate either the LEDs or fluorescent bulbs that light up the sign. Many window display websites out there focus on the importance of good lighting as a way to engage the attention of passersby, especially if the stores are open after sundown. A light box with a custom designed poster is hard to miss. The glowing frame can be used as a focal point for a window display, holding a promotional poster directly above a spotlight example of the product being talked about. Price points on light boxes vary widely, depending on whether you go for a deluxe or economy model, as well as what type of illumination you want. Luckily, there are plenty of places online that have products and comparable prices for you to research prior to purchase.

Now, let's talk mannequins. As I'm sure you've guessed, mannequins are one of the most popular tools around for a window display. Even stores that don't sell clothes have been known to use mannequins to add a human touch to the display. If you are a clothing store, then there's nothing better than a mock-up of the human form to give customers the best idea possible as to how the clothes could look on them. There are a variety of mannequin styles out there that will work with different window designs. Someone looking to create a more traditional setting could go for the classic, flesh toned mannequin with human-like features. However, if you're looking for a design that's a little more artistic and alien (or just clean and uncluttered) the white, featureless models that have also been spotted out there could be a good choice. Some of these designs are headless, so you'll have to be sure if that'll work for the display you're planning. Regardless of what type you choose one thing you should look for when considering mannequins is what the range of movement is. Being able to set up the mannequins in different, maybe slightly unusual positions is a great way to bring attention and add an additional highlight to non-clothes merchandise. As with any good window display, flexibility is vital.

Because really, it doesn't make sense for any store to always have the same window showcase on display. Merchandise changes, trends change, seasons change, and so on. Your customers won't always want to see the same display in a window; they want to see that you can update with the times. All of the tools mentioned above can be adapted and reused in many different settings and displays. With the mannequins, look for models that have removable parts. Removing limbs makes it as easy as possible to swap out the clothing, and also makes it easy to relocate the figure when needed. Those hanging frames that I like also let you slide posters in and out, so it'll only take a little bit of time to update whatever graphic you've got on display. The nature of the frames also allows you to add or take away panels to create varied looks. While a single poster panel will work for one window display, it may not be appropriate for next month's design where you want to give the impression of a wall of images. Light boxes are just as easy to update, although you do have to keep in mind that there's a good chance you'll have to have a custom graphic designed on a special light box ready panel.

First impressions are everything. A well thought out and arranged window display is intriguing and inviting, letting customers know at a quick glance just what wonders you've got within the store. These tools are just a few of the things you can use to bring those thoughts to life.

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