The showcase is no longer just a primary element of the store, it is a public attraction and a means of communication. It is spectacle and, sometimes, art. The imagination, the irony, the seduction, the surprise must be present in the showcase. During the 20 seconds that a person looks at a shop window you have to capture their attention, transmit a message, an emotion and encourage them to buy.
Achieving these goals is no easy task. The process of creating a showcase is very complicated, many factors intervene and begins long before it is exposed to the public. There are some conditioning factors that decisively influence the shop window. They are four:
1. The brand
It is responsible for dictating the values and philosophy that determine the point of sale, including the showcase. The tendency to the durability of the brand, to the conservation of its values in the minds of consumers over the years must be combined with the showcase, temporary and ephemeral by nature. This is one of the reasons why the logo of the brand usually has a prominent place in the showcase of the store. Brands with more than one hundred years of history behind them, should reflect that tradition in their shop windows. A window dresser can innovate, but can not introduce any element that contradicts the values of the brand.
2. The store
The window is the window to the soul of a store: the harmony between the architecture, the interior design, the space of the store, and the place and city where it is located is fundamental in the current window dressing.
3. The client
The consumer is increasingly demanding and informed and claims a new and attractive shop windows. He wants to be seduced and the window is still the most determining physical medium between products and consumers, between the fantasy of the store and the reality of the street. The showcase has to challenge creativity because the street and people live with them.
4. The product
The window dresser has to know the product of each season, its qualities, characteristics, features, colors and textures and also the price. The object that is exposed in the shop window is the one that creates its own scenography. The showcase should have an easy reading and at the same time create a pleasant walk to reflection. The product does not even have to appear in the window.
After analyzing the product, the store, the client and the brand, the topic of the showcase, the plot, the story that is going to count is chosen. It is time to unleash creativity, without losing sight of the fact that there are window dressing techniques that determine the effectiveness of the shop window, such as the placement of the product in the optical center of attraction.
Sometimes the window dresser has total freedom and others the showcase argument must be a joint decision of several departments, designers, commercials, marketing, general management.
Once the idea has been chosen, the window dresser produces it. The showcase assembly begins, which is based on four pillars:
- Styling. It is about choosing the product or products featured in the showcase, combining them together and choosing the accessories.
- Scenography. The lighting, colors, textures and spaces suitable for each installation are chosen.
- Interior design. The supports, mannequins, decorative elements and furniture are chosen. You also have to decide how and where to dispose the product inside the storefront.
- Marketing. The purpose of the showcase is to sell. Under similar conditions of price, quality and performance, the only difference to choose a product or another is its presentation: the staging of the showcase and all the seduction caused by it.
The complex production process of a showcase that we have described is left in most of the stores in the hands of the manager or a dependent, for lack of means. For more modest businesses, the most advisable strategy is to adapt these trends to their own philosophy. However, for large companies it is different:
I do not understand that a company spends money advertising and considers a superfluous expense to invest in the shop window, which is seen by thousands of people 24 hours a day and has a direct impact on sales.
The window dressing must be executed by specialists, which does not imply that they have to be alien to the company. A team formed to measure for the point of sale can develop the showcase. Of course, the training process should fall on qualified professionals who know the peculiarities of a point of sale, techniques of commercial psychology, visual merchandising and technical window dressing.
If the store wants its showcase to be an effective communication and sales tool, it must assume some expenses:
- Inside the company. A basic course of window dressing ranges between 1,200 and 1,800 euros. The window dresser will be integrated into the sales team and can also take care of the visual merchandising inside the shop.
- Independent professional. Hiring a professional window dresser permanently means a minimum payment of 1,200 euros per month, although, of course, the fashion showcases can collect millions in figures.
- Punctual assemblies. If the store wants to contract the production of certain shop windows, you can turn to an independent window dresser. There is a wide variety of prices in the market, from 80 to 500 euros per assembly.
The showcase should awaken an immediate emotion in the ‘spectator’. The visual impact will depend to a large extent on the light, the colors and the textures used in the stained glass window, which awaken the sensations of the observer:
The lighting of a shop window is very complex. The type of product exposed, the staging and the size of the window condition both the amount of light, their quality, their ability to reproduce colors and color temperature, the apparent color of light.
● A cold light temperature is recommended for technological displays, medium for clothes and accessories and warm for food stores.
● It is important to consider the natural light that the storefront will receive and what changes have to be made when the amount of natural light decreases.
● There is a wide variety of lamps with control and light regulation systems, which allow to illuminate different showcase concepts. Some types are:
- Fluorescent Low consumption, low maintenance, cold light and minimal heat input.
- Halogens Warm light, pleasant feeling and great heat production.
- Halides. With an average color reproduction and medium heat input.
The colors produce an immediate stimulus, lasting and of great informative content for the person who looks at a shop window. It is a simple and economical way to transform a showcase, make it bigger or smaller, cool or warm, flashy or discreet.
●Each color causes different sensations. The white enlarges the spaces, the black eliminates perspectives and forces a very specific lighting, the red tends to leave the facade of the store and invade the street.
● It is essential to coordinate the colors of the showcase with the lighting
● There are no correct or incorrect color mixtures, the staging legitimizes the presence of any combination as long as it is coherent with the message.
In the shop windows, color is usually used in two ways:
- Games contrasts and harmony between the primary colors (red, yellow, blue), side, obtained from the combination of the primary and the complementary mixture of the two. Due to their strong impact, they should be used with caution.
- Variations in the same color tone, which allow to create a defined and clear environment different depths in the showcase from planes of different tonalities.
The surface quality of the components of a shop window and the exposed goods makes the exposed product even more desirable:
● Implicit in the majority of materials is an emotional charge of their own. The warmth of the wood, the softness of the silk … These sensations support the message of the showcase.
● It is not necessary to directly associate the characteristics of the product with that of the showcase materials. A sophisticated product can be exposed in a natural context or less worked and on the contrary. For example, a jewel can be exposed on a rock and in a showcase of food the steel or the glass can prevail. Seduction can be achieved both by harmony and by contrast.
● The sensation caused by materials and textures changes with the seasons and cultural contexts. Steel, metal and glass increase the feeling of cold in winter but are refreshing for summer.
Seductive shop windows
The current window dressing receives the influences of theater, opera, design and avant-garde art, without forgetting other humbler ones, such as fruit and vegetable markets. There is also the tendency to integrate the shop window in the store to allow the walker a global perception of the interior of the store from the street. The main strategies of the current window dressing are:
The showcase is conceived as a scenario with a main actor, the product, and a text, the values and philosophy that the brand wants to communicate. In the shop windows you
Attract a story to the viewer and work with the illusion and imagination. The lighting, the props and the presence of elements and symbolic materials are fundamental, but the main thing is the argument, the theme of the showcase. The examples of shop windows conceived as theatrical assemblies are very numerous in the textile sector, where the presence of mannequins helps to imagine a story. They are also very useful for certain dates, such as Valentine’s Day or Christmas.
2. Is this art?
Andy Warhol said that “all stores should be like museums and all museums should be like shops”. Said and done. The costumes of Armani and Pertegaz are displayed in the museums and the windows display works by contemporary artists. Warhol himself made some showcases for Tiffany’s jewelry. Unlike the museum showcase, here the work of art is the showcase itself, which is even presented signed by the author. Within this trend there are more affordable options, such as the placement of a work of art as a complement to the showcase, or a tribute to an artist.
3. Visit to the museum
Based on refinement and serenity, this type of shop windows copy the facilities of the museums. The product is conceived as a work of art worthy of being admired and as such it is placed and illuminated in the shop window. The quantity is in this example at odds with the quality. Sometimes a single product is the protagonist of the showcase, transmitting to the viewer the sensation of being contemplating a work of art, unique and expensive. This type of shop windows should be reserved for expensive products, which can convey to the client the feeling of exclusivity. The windows of prestigious jewelers use this type of shop windows, exposing their unique pieces on ebony supports. It is also frequent in luxury brands with tradition.
They are based on a certain type of design: pure lines, contrast of colors, like white and black, architectural forms without adornments. The protagonism is given to the product, which is integrated into a cold, clear and clean type of decoration, but the product is not conceived as a work of art. Minimalist shop windows are the most widespread, both among luxury brands and among single-brand stores.
5. Showcase store
The showcase is incorporated into the store or moves to the interior and the product that is traditionally displayed in the stained glass is placed in different places of the establishment. This assumes that the showcase as it is traditionally understood does not exist. The pedestrian sees the inside of the store through the glass, sometimes even in a blurry way.
6. Showcases in motion
Movement is one of the greatest sensory stimuli and therefore the presence of movement in the window guarantees the attraction of the public’s gaze. The movement can be created by air currents, rotors, elevators and through technological means of projection, such as television, computers or transparencies.
7. Corporate showcase
The single-brand stores resort to showcase as a strategy to support the corporate identity program of the brand. The corporate showcases are aimed at a broad sector of the market and want to be part of the consumer’s visual memory to build loyalty. That is why they exhibit visual elements and constant graphics in the shop window that makes them recognizable in any place and time.
8. Public markets
The showcase copies the spaces and the placement of the supports and products of the food markets. The objects are placed in large numbers forming piles or pyramids and are combined depending on the shapes and colors. It is a frequent showcase in the food stores.