When it comes to window shopping, there’s no better time of year than the Christmas season. Families will go out of their way to look at the decorative displays of local shops and children will wonder at the various buzzing toys and the shining wrapping paper that just beckons onlookers to imagine what lies underneath. These dazzling displays aren’t only to be found in the huge front windows of the big-name department stores – nowadays every boutique shop, grocery store and cafe has an enticing display of Christmas spirit that’s meant to evoke festive feelings and a desire to buy holiday gifts.
According to Zady, a U.S. based clothing producer, the tradition of window shopping began in the late 1800s, during the Industrial Revolution as there were more consumer products available for sale – and for cheaper – than ever before. Department stores in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago would recreate scenes from popular novels as a way of leveraging the popularity of a piece of entertainment into an attraction that would draw customers. Very few marketing tactics of the 19th century work today, but this is one that still has some magic in it.
How to make a window display that dazzles
One common misconception about the Christmas window display is that it must be directly related to Christmas. If you want, you can certainly create a scene depicting one of your favorite Christmas stories, but you can also go beyond that. What emotions do you experience during the holiday season? What kinds of emotions do you want your shoppers to feel? Start with that emotion and then build out from there. Remember, the earliest Christmas window displays were depictions of storybooks like “The Wizard of Oz.” Perhaps you want to create a touching scene from one your favorite books or movies.
No matter what you want to do, you’ll need to start with the basics. Who are the major players in the scene you want to create? Without the element of character, your window display will be like a theater stage without any actors. For this still-life creation, you’ll need some human forms. Our selection of mannequins has everything you could need, whether that’s a child-sized mannequin, a plus-size model or a white gloss female. For a bolder effect, consider going with one of our C3 custom color mannequins. You can get them in festive colors or in your brand’s signature hue.
Once you’ve got the models, you’ll need some costumes. Of course the pieces you choose will depend greatly on the scene you’re designing and on the type of merchandise you want to promote. You could start with wigs, of which we have many styles for men and women. Then it’s time to choose their clothes. The first thing you should consider is your stock – which pieces of merchandise might fit well in your window display? Don’t just pick the first item that comes to mind. Take an inventory of your products and choose one that works well in the scene.
Christmas spirit in any size
Many of the most famous window displays are in New York City on 5th Avenue. The famous department stores there have huge windows in which to display their artistic creations. If your store or boutique doesn’t have a giant window, don’t fret, Christmas spirit comes in many sizes. If you don’t have a lot of real estate to make use of, focus on the details. The more detail you can pack into a small display, the bigger its impact will be. Elle Decor magazine reported that creative uses of products can really stop passersby in their tracks. Try to think of non-traditional ways that you can use your products. The magazine reported on one coffee merchant that used their shiny bags of coffee grounds to make a ballroom gown for a chic mannequin. Perhaps you could make a crown out of your gift cards or a miniature castle from an assortment of hair clips and brooches. Let your creativity run free.
Whatever you choose, remember to light it properly. Even the best displays can look a bit dismal if not lit correctly. Grab some of our display lighting for moody ambiance. Just keep in mind that details are key, so try to incorporate the lights into the look of your display. Anything that’s in the display – even if it’s only there for practical purposes – should look like it belongs.
Christmas window shopping is all about community. Friends and families will walk together looking at all of the wonderful Christmas displays. Promote that behavior by making people feel welcome. Consider having an employee stand outside to offer the season’s greetings and hand out coupons, candies or samples. This adds a personal touch that people will definitely remember, even if they don’t come inside just then. Whatever you can do to build up good faith between your store and shoppers, you should consider.
“Post pictures of your display online to entice people to stop by.”
When advertising your Christmas sales, take a few pictures of your window displays to put online. If it’s in your budget, consider hiring a professional photographer to do so, as they’ll be able to really capture the feeling. Place the photos up on your social media feeds and encourage your followers to stop by the store and check it out in person. Read our post on using social media for even more helpful tips and tricks.
When thinking about your Christmas display, the most important thing to consider is the emotion it will draw out of the onlookers. You want shoppers to feel pleasant and in a festive mood when they approach your store. But remember that Christmas is about more than shopping, it’s about sharing goodwill between friends, family and strangers alike. If you can nail that feeling, you’ll have a winning window display.