Retail Window Displays: A Comprehensive Guide

Designing retail window displays requires a mix of aesthetics, merchandising strategy & consumer psychology. Talk to TLC for world-class display solutions.

A compelling window display prompts a second look and a longer gaze from passersby and draws them into the store, enticing them to seek out the product on the shelves, increasing their dwell time in-store.

Window displays spark the interest of shoppers. And not necessarily only those who have a purchase interest—but also window shoppers—that breed of retail therapy enthusiasts who take window displays so seriously that they make a special trip to the mall or high street simply to look at the displays without spending a penny! Window shopping builds aspirations. It nurtures an urge to plan a budget and come back to buy that wonderful product displayed in that window! 

The retail window display is so central to visual merchandising that we're offering you a comprehensive guide to creating stunning store window displays! 
Here's what we'll cover in this guide:

  • Understanding Consumer Behavior

  • Design Principles and Best Practices for Retail Window Displays

  • Incorporating Seasonality and Trends into Retail Store Displays

The Look Company is a leader in visual engagement solutions that give merchandisers and designers the creative freedom to create stunning window or storefront designs.

Understanding Consumer Behavior

Window display design is about aesthetics as much as it is about merchandising strategy and consumer psychology.

Every visual merchandiser and retail brand manager must understand the nuances of consumer behavior and be able to work out a merchandising strategy based on shopping behavior. Once they can decode how a shopper's mind works, they're on their way to retail success!

Buying behavior is influenced by a multitude of factors. Here's a look at how you can apply consumer psychology to display design:

Visual cues: The first glance 

Our brain perceives visual cues in nanoseconds. So designers must use colors, shapes, lighting, and words to create an initial impression of the brand when the shopper first glances at the window display. Every element used in the design must be picked to play a specific role in creating a powerful first impression that nudges the shopper onward in the buying journey.

Triggering emotions: Build a lasting connection

As a retailer, you're selling more than mere products—you're selling an experience.

And to communicate that to your target audience, you'll need to appeal to their emotions and resonate with their thoughts and aspirations. Going beyond mere transactions, you'll need to build an emotional connection between your brand and your customers.

Crowning each consumer: The power of personalization

How do you make every one of millions of customers feel like the brand is catering individually to their preferences? Personalization at scale is the key to modern retail success.

Every shopper who looks at your window display must feel "this brand understands me—my needs, my preferences, and my style!" That's as awesome a shopping experience as you can get!

When designers and brand managers understand and can articulate what makes their target audience tick, they're empowered to design winning displays.

Using the principles of consumer psychology, you can elevate your window displays from mere showcases of products to immersive experiences that resonate with the desires and emotions of their audience. 

The Look Company helps retailers with end-to-end services for world-class window displays. From visualization planning and creative design to installation and overall project management, we ensure that your window display ideas tick off all the right boxes.

Design Principles and Best Practices

When a window display stops passersby in their tracks or turns a shopper's casual glance into an admiring long look, you can say the display was a success!

Just as brand managers must understand the principles of consumer psychology, designers must apply core design principles in designing storefront displays.

We'll take a quick dive into the basic design principles and visual merchandising best practices for executing striking window displays. But first, let's look at the different types of displays you can build using TLC's visual engagement solutions for retail.

A retail storefront window display provides visualizers and brand managers with a blank canvas. On it, they can choose to design a display that tells an enthralling tale that tugs at the heartstrings, reflects the retailer's brand values, or, quite simply, showcases products they believe will appeal to shoppers' tastes and preferences.

  • So, there are displays that stand tall with a quiet elegance—subdued yet striking. Some are bold and unmissable.

  • Then there are those that tell a saga—and with theatrical flair! They talk about a brand's values and reflect the aspirations of its audience. 

  • Still others are simply arrangements of highly sought-after products. Aesthetically arranged, these are products that shoppers want to see, touch and experience. And they're likely to step in, drawn by the promise of the product display.

Have you tried out how each type of display works for your target audience? If you haven't, there's no better time to start than now! Connect with TLC experts for a consultation today!

Applying core design principles to window displays 

Designers and visual merchandisers who can apply fundamental design principles to window displays can transform a static product display into an irresistible shopping experience.

Let's look at some design principles:

  • Harmony: Harmony is achieved by using similar or compatible elements to create a pleasing and coherent whole. 

  • Color: We associate colors with specific emotions or feelings. White makes us feel clean or calm. Red denotes excitement or urgency, and blue symbolizes sophistication or stability. 

  • Lighting: A thoughtful use of different types of lighting can help designers create an ambiance that is conducive to purchase decisions. 

  • Movement or dynamism: Static elements can be arranged in a manner that suggests movement or rhythm. It brings a positive sense of dynamism to the display and makes it come to life!   

  • Symmetry (or the lack of it): Symmetrical arrangements are balanced and create a sense of order and calm. Asymmetry can be leveraged to create an eclectic or quirky feel.  

  • Contrast: Contrast between various elements makes each element stand out from the others. Designers use it to guide the viewer's eye. 

  • Hierarchy & Composition: A hierarchical arrangement of elements leads the eye to a focal point (which is where you want shoppers to pay attention.) A well-composed overall presentation attracts and wows viewers.

  • Space: Finally, leaving some 'white space' creates an airy or uncluttered feel and enhances the impact of the core elements of the displays.

The art and science of visual merchandising lies in the intentional use of these design principles, and can transform a store window into a persuasive retail display

Connect with us to discuss your product display ideas and discover how our visual engagement solutions can bring your display ideas to life!

Incorporating Seasonality and Trends Into Retail Displays

"Change is the only Constant"

Never was this truer than in the case of retail displays.

The retail storefront window is like a blank canvas. Designers can use a variety of design elements and visual merchandising props to bring it to life. But they must erase the canvas soon after they paint it—and then start all over again!

Frequently changing window displays is one of the most important best practices for retailers. Retail windows must reflect every shift in seasons, changes in styles, dynamic consumer preferences, and emerging market trends. Occasions and festivals also provide the perfect opportunity to dress up windows in the flavor of the season.

But equally important is to stay abreast of the changing design trends in order to design standout displays and make a mark in the highly competitive retail industry.

The Look Company offers customizable framing systems and high-quality SEG fabric prints that are flexible and easy to change and update without any technicians. They give your designers and merchandisers the freedom to change displays frequently and respond to dynamic market trends and demand-supply situations.  

The Look Company: World-Class Retail Window Displays

When window displays are designed with the right visual cues, they not only draw in shoppers but also trigger an emotional response and persuade them to take a step forward in their buying journey.   

Seasonal displays spread joy and cheer, besides conveying a compelling brand message—as shoppers eagerly look forward to more stunning displays from your brand. 

Ultimately, window displays that reflect the preferences, emotions, or aspirations of your audience are the ones that will leave a lasting impression and enhance their shopping experience.  

Talk to TLC for impactful and persuasive retail window displays that can nudge shoppers toward a buying decision.