Engaging, experiential merchandise displays can help get people into your small business.
Perusing elaborate window displays is an integral part of the shopping experience. Take the flagship storefronts in New York and London, like Bergdorf Goodman or Harrods. The displays are as much of must-see as the merchandise beyond the doors.
Mesmerizing displays aren’t just for high-end brands, though.
“It’s becoming more important to ensure that not just store windows but also interior design and visual merchandising are [social media] post-worthy,” says Charmaine Wynter, owner of full-service interior design studio, Wynter Interiors, Southlake, Texas. “An interesting window display can become a conversation topic that spreads like wildlife, expanding beyond the immediate storefront traffic to organically increase your marketing dollars without additional expense.”
Here’s how your small business can create merchandising displays that customers want to share on social media:
“The key is to create a display that communicates an experience to which your target customer wishes to engage,” Wynter says. “If your display is engaging, customers will want to interact. If they interact, they will share it on social media.”
Engaging displays include ones that are well lit, have bright colors, and center on fun or topical themes. For example, after the “Red Wedding” episode of Game of Thrones aired, bookstore displays that placed Wedding Planning for Dummies next to Game of Thrones books were shared many times on social media.
Wynter also shared an example of a window display she created for a paper goods store. She placed a Christmas tree in one corner with an oversized gift certificate; used paper to create tufts of snow; and filled a sled with printer ink, labels, pens, and other items.
“Because it was the holiday season, it garnered lots of attention for a store where traffic typically slows after back-to-school,” she says. “Folks went in and purchased practical gifts and gift certificates because the display was engaging.”
Create an Experience
Weathered Coalition, a men’s domestic goods and apparel store in Austin, Texas, has earned a lot of success and social media buzz in large part because of the shop’s merchandising displays and the shopping experience created around them.
“We wanted to create an environment for more than just shopping to occur,” says Ben Woods, the storeowner. “We often bring in special events, like a local barber, tailor, or shoe-shiner, for the day. This brings extra value to the guest, but we’ve also found that it has stirred up a lot of social media buzz.”
Additionally, the store is tailor-made for Instagram. The architectural, design, and display spaces were created by local artisans, architects, and builders who used local materials whenever possible. Plus, there are numerous components—such as a coffee and whiskey bar or a grooming area with sink where shoppers can test out products—that shoppers have been inspired to share on social media.
“If you have a customer walk the floor once and then walk it again and see something they didn’t see the first time, you’ve accomplished your goal,” Woods says. “You always want customers discovering new things as they explore the store. Also, tell a story: When you pair great merchandise together and create complete looks, it helps to take the thinking out of it for the customer. The less they have to think, the more enjoyable the experience for them.”