Decorating a store goes to the heart of what makes great retailing…
Various seasonal times and holidays can inspire retailers to create magic for their customers. And decorations go far beyond a demonstration of a new skillet or an invitation-only event.
It piques a shopper’s curiosity to discover what is new.
When you introduce new, yet familiar elements to the shopping experience, you change the energy of your entire store and also encourage impulse buying.
Christmas, in particular, offers the chance for your store to make a statement that wonder and magic lie behind your doors.
Dad could be a hero…
Mom could be a queen...
A brother who never got what he wanted for Christmas could buy his favorite gadget.
An aunt who lives thousands of miles away could purchase a token of her love instead of buying a gift card at the local Kwik-E Mart.
But if your store looks the same December 10 as it did September 10, that is less likely to happen.
One caveat before I continue, we aren’t talking big budget here.
While Saks and Tiffany’s can afford one-of-a-kind window displays and custom elements that customers can activate with their phones, decorating isn’t about technology...it is about creating a different shopping environment.
The more you can decorate, the more energy and excitement you bring to passersby.
Go big, go early, and go to town. This is what I always recommend.
Well-decorated windows truly enchant us to come in and experience the feeling of the season and not just be witness to them in passing.
What does it take to wow an iPhone obsessed, me-centric consumer these days?
Here are the four main elements of holiday retail store decoration:
1. Lights. When you add strings of lights, you add color, you add energy, you add magic. One of the first things I did when I took over a store was to ring the front windows with miniature white lights. It caught interest, it set us apart from stores on either side, and it brightened up the windows. The more lights throughout your shop, the better.
2. Colors of the season. Whether it is spring pastels or holiday reds and greens, seasonal colors are temporary.Yes, for a retailer, decorating does take a bit more work and planning ahead as you can't leave Autumn leaves through February, but it also aligns the shopping experience you offer with seasonal celebrations.
3. Props that are appropriate help tell a story. It is easy to think of decor for a national celebration - think a country's flag on Independence Days. While a large Christmas tree or fragile ornaments might be too much of an undertaking, your props can be as simple as putting Santa hats on your mannequins. At the start of baseball season, you could add gloves, bats, and balls to those same mannequins.
4. Signage that speaks to the season. So many merchants either avoid or forget well-conceived signs. But you need them, so during the holidays, over a mountain bike with helmet, GoPro and night gear, place a sign that says Dad, Be A Hero To Your Daughter. Around the wedding season, place a sign that says Forget The Tea Towels, Give ‘Em An Experience with a complete baking system and five at-home chef lessons, or around Mother’s Day, Make Up For That Broken Window When You Were 8 for any premium product. You get the idea.
Here are some great examples of two retailers who go all out for seasonal and holiday events.
Pufferbellies in Staunton, Virginia is one of my all-time favorite independent stores because they understand how to create wonder, magic and emotion in their holiday decorations - as evidenced in these three Christmastime windows. (photos courtesy of Robbie Lawson)
Read the story of how and why they created the magnificent window below here.
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