23. September 2022 | Shop Fitting, Store Design & Visual Merchandising, Shopping Today, Visuals

What is – and isn’t – important when it comes to store window displays

By Katja Laska (exclusively for EuroShop.mag)

First impressions count – nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to store window displays. Only those who catch the eye of the consumer earn their attention. We have compiled some dos and don’ts of how retailers can create window displays that turn heads and drive sales and mistakes they should avoid at all costs.

The strategy

Identify and know your target audience:

  • Who do you want to target?
  • What are products or services your target audience is interested in?
  • What “eye-catchers” might attract this group? More specifically: Is it high-quality goods? Low prices? A wide product assortment? Unusual display decorations?

Remember that your storefront and window displays provide the first impression to consumers of what your business is all about. Hence you must ask yourself:

  • What information do I want to communicate at this stage?
  • How do I want to showcase my products – with or without prices?
  • Which products do I want to highlight – ​​should I focus on seasonal items and trends or feature “perennial favorites”?
Schaufenster mit Schriftzug und Schaufensterpuppe; Copyright: wanaktek

© wanaktek

The eye-catcher

Carefully consider some important aspects before you design your display:

  • Where is your store located and how much time do people have as they pass by your store to look at the retail display?

Another critical point to remember is the direction from which most potential customers will pass by the window display. Carefully consider the display orientation and adapt your product placement to reflect the viewing direction of the store window layout. This is especially important if you are incorporating text or want to tell a story. The basic rule: the customer sight line typically runs from top left to bottom right and from the bottom up and down again – like a pyramid.

You should always place your focal products at eye level, as this is most visually engaging and makes it easier to notice them. This typically corresponds to a height of about 1.60 meters (five foot two). An eye-catching display also makes potential customers want to linger to get a closer look. Moving decorative components are a popular choice in this setting.

Prices and quick discovery

Don’t make your customers struggle to find information! If you incorporate prices in the decoration, they must be easily visible. The products you displayed in the store window should also be quick and easy to find once customers are inside the store.

Schaufensterpuppen mit einzelnen Glühbirnen als Beleuchtung; Copyright: wanaktek

© wanaktek


Literally highlight your products. Our tip: Create general, overall illumination with reflectors for ambient lighting. Use additional spotlights to feature individual products. Warmer lights evoke pleasant emotions and create an environment that’s comfortable and inviting – something that’s especially beneficial in the colder months of the year. In the winter season, string lights and luminous elements are ideal for store window displays.

Bonus tip: LED light bulbs use less energy than traditional bulbs.


Even if you really like a certain design, you must always strive to capture your customers’ attention by refreshing your window displays regularly. It signals your store’s attractiveness and relevance. Changing up the windows every four weeks will keep things fresh. You can also incorporate special occasions like seasons, holidays or the first day of school. But whether it’s Christmas, Easter, or the current season: customers should always be able to recognize the main product or service at first glance. Stroll the streets and city centers to be on the lookout for inspiration from your competitors.

Person gestaltet ein Schaufenster; Copyright: cavanimages

© cavanimages

Quality over quantity

The average human has an attention span of just eight seconds, which means you have little time to draw people’s attention and communicate what your store’s brand has to offer: Don’t clutter your store’s window display. More isn’t always better and might actually repel or repulse shoppers versus invite them to enter your store. It also does not allow customers to preview what they can expect inside the store.

Avoid clutter

Dust, cobwebs, fingerprints, and smudged glass – never underestimate the effects of a clean window. It allows customers to draw conclusions about your store. Clean and tidy up your store’s window displays regularly so you don’t miss out on this powerful element in your merchandising arsenal.

Pay attention and make improvements

Keep track of how the decoration affects your sales and the number of customers who enter your store as a result. Asking shoppers “What made you come inside the store?”, can provide additional insights and help design your next store window display in a more targeted fashion.

Whether you consider all or just some of these measures, their implementation will definitely pay off. Always remember: The display windows of your brick-and-mortar store reflect your brand and products and are the billboards for your business.

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