Charlotte Amos - Retail in Detail

Charlotte is director of Retail and Shopper at leading independent full-service marketing agency Haygarth. Charlotte has over 10 years of experience working across pure retail clients as well as a core specialism in customer marketing for brands trying to achieve cut through, share of voice and sales in third party retail. She currently heads up accounts at Haygarth including Disney and Signet.

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What’s in your window? The art of festive window displays

Charlotte Amos, Director Retail and Shopper, Haygarth

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There is no bigger time of year for our high street retailers than the switching on of the Christmas lights which bring a sense of theatre and enjoyment to our December shopping. With the twinkling lights bejewelling our towns and cities from above, at street level we are dazzled by an array of wonderfully creative window displays there to entertain, titillate and amaze us in the run up to Christmas.

Christmas window displays which successfully combine a mixture of fashion, art, design and marketing can be a great crowd puller. They lure the festive shoppers; in the mood to spend, to come in-store to browse through the many gifts and products on display. But what is it that makes a great window display? Here are my top tips as well as some of my favourites from this year and years gone by.

Window displays needs to tell a story. One of my favourites from this year is the Carnaby Street Rolling Stones Christmas decorations and window displays, which tell the story of Carnaby Street’s heritage at the heart of London’s ‘rock and roll’ scene evoking memories of rockers from a bygone era. A past favourite which I just couldn’t resist including is the Peter Pan Christmas window display at Harrods. Each window depicted a different scene from the magical and loved book and was instantly recognisable to adults and children alike.

The best window displays are those which entertain and surprise passers-by and customers. They stop shoppers in their tracks and entice them in-store to further explore, whether to browse or buy. If you want to get noticed as a retailer, you need to avoid being predictable. Which is exactly what Ted Baker has done with their cheeky “Full Frosty” snowman in their flagship store windows entertaining passer-by; no cheesy fake snow covered trees for them.

Ultimately window displays are all about the lighting. If you look at any window display you will quickly notice just how important good lighting is. It is never an afterthought but rather a central part of the display. The perfect level and angle of lighting will accentuate all the products on display and draw customers in like a glowing visual beacon. Next time you glance in a store window, have a look at where the lighting falls which is designed to focus the shopper’s attention on a particular product or selection of products. Or in the case of Cartier, the entire Bond Street shop has been turned into a giant gift. If only it could fit under my tree!

But remember less is often more, especially on a bustling and crowded high street with a multitude of stores and windows each vying for the consumer’s attention and ultimately their money. Sometimes a single object or minimalist display can be more engaging then a sensory overload.

I don’t want to flog the saying and be cliché, but outside the box thinking really is all the rage when it comes to window displays. They are becoming increasingly creative as different elements of fashion and art and design are combined to bring us some inspirational as well as other downright wacky Christmas window displays. And it doesn’t get wackier than a dozen or so mini Australian Karl Lagerfeld puppets, which is definitely one of the strangest displays I’ve ever seen.

Most importantly remember to keep it fun and cheerful, it is the season of goodwill and joy after all.

Merry Christmas!

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