Create a Connection with Retail Store Displays

Luring customers into your retail store requires that you create for them a memorable experience – one that will both capture their attention initially, and bring them back for repeat business in the future.

The window displays are likely your only chance at capturing the attention of a passing customer that was otherwise not planning on visiting your store. This may seem second nature at first – but it really works! Below is a real life example from this past weekend.

I was in the local mall, shopping for birthday presents for my son. Normally I avoide malls like the plague – however this time I was forced into one as I had a specific demand from my son to fulfill. He wanted the new Lego Star Wars II video game that just came out this week. I had no idea how immensely popular this game was. After trips to all of the local big box retailers – with no luck as they were all sold out and the next order was not due in until it was too late – I was faced with a dilemma. Either try to explain to a nine year old on his birthday that the stores were sold out of the one thing he wanted more than anything, but that he would get it soon … or go to the mall in a last ditch effort to find the treasure. Picturing the crestfallen look on my son's face as I tried to explain the absence of the desired gift, it was an easy choice. To the mall I went.

I was a man with a mission – get in, grab the goods, and get out as quickly as possible, with a minimum amount of time spending. After all, it was Saturday and there was college football to watch! I found the video game at a small specialty gaming store in the mall. They had a handful of them left. Jubilant, I left the store and began the racewalk to the mall entrance.

As I sped by a men's store, I noticed a very handsome, hip, and sleek brown suede leather jacket in the window. I kept walking, but found myself thinking about how cool that leather jacket looked. About twenty steps later I could not take it any more. I stopped dead in my tracks and began to argue with myself about whether or not I should go back. I couldn't stand it – just one more quick look – then on to football. I turned around and went back to the window where I saw the leather jacket. I admired how nice it looked on the mannequin, and at this point noticed not only the jacket but the sharp sweater underneath the jacket, and the polo underneath the sweater. I noticed how nicely the browns and yellows and reds in the store display went together – a perfect combination of fall colors to adorn the upwardly mobile and hip professional man.

At this point I actually became cognizant of what was happening – I realized the store display was working its psychological magic on me – yet nonetheless I fully appreciated the message this store display was sending to me, and the look that it was projecting. I wanted that look. I wanted to look like that. So I entered the store – which I never would have done otherwise (I was there for a children's video game, remember?) – just to try the jacket on.

Of course the jacket fit wonderfully and looked great in the mirror. Okay, Mr. Salesman, I'll take the jacket. A steal at $ 119.00.

Well, yes sir, in fact I just might be interested in that sweater. Go ahead and show it to me. Five minutes later I had added that to my purchase. $ 89.00. And while I'm here, may I please also look at that polo? Another five minutes, the polo was added to the ensemble, as was another $ 65.00.

At the cash register, I realized I needed one of those sticky-tape lint remover roller things. I don't know what they are called, lint rollers probably, but I did know I needed one as soon as I saw the display on the counter. Add another $ 6.99 to the sale.

That, folks, in case you were wondering, comes to $ 279.99. I made my purchase and left, eager to take my family out for a nice evening, in my new clothes.

The point of this story is this: a retail store display that connects with your customers, and creates an experience of which they want to be part, will increase your sales. I wanted to live the life that the mannequin in the window was portraying – hip, young, attractive. The leather jacket caught my eye, and I ended up purchasing the entire ensemble. Then, at the register, yet another store display sold me a product I would have never thought of buying on my own – the lint rollers, neatly lined up by the cash register, what's another few dollars?

As I got into my car, I reflected on the fact that I, a person trained in retail store displays, was so moved by an effective display. I have never thought of myself as a spontaneous buyer. But the mannequin and store display did their job.

And I will return.