Deck the windows

There’s nothing quite as iconic and mesmerizing as storefront windows this time of year, which is why I selected the “glamour of windows” as this week’s trend.

It’s no secret exciting window displays are good for any business. Anything that catches the attention of a potential new customer or guest is a great thing, and in the case of window displays, it can be a terrific thing, as they can make the difference between someone walking into your lobby or someone walking right past it.

Over the past several years, I’ve noticed how retailers have brought back the traditional family shopping experience in bricks-and-mortar retail settings, creating some extremely magical and effective windows. Many hotels have the same window appeal — and opportunity — storefronts have.

Creative windows are an ideal way to set your hotel apart while acting as a billboard for your property. Creative displays will attract walk-ins or possibly boost F&B sales, and in the competitive industry of hospitality, capturing attention by using underutilized panes of glass are an excellent option to include in your holiday marketing plans for 2014. (They also impact your social media traffic!)

In retail, the window trend has shifted from “creative merchandising” to works of art as sophisticated as a Cirque du Soleil show. This year, themes ranging from a “floating city” to a “year of holidays” (not just the wintry ones) have elevated window merchandising to extremely technologically advanced productions. My favorite window unveiling was so dramatic it included the unexpected performance of acrobatic dancers descending an iconic building. Some window designers went all out, featuring rotating casts of performers and sleigh rides that actually took children on a virtual New York City!

But don’t allow big-city windows to frighten you, as simple lighting and propping can capture a tremendous amount of exposure for your property. You may want to consider hiring a professional freelance window designer, consult with a store design firm or seek some advice from the visual merchandising personnel at one of your local department stores. 

The following is a list of simple tips to file away until next year, as I can guarantee this glamour of window dressing trend is here to stay.

1. Work with your vendors. Pitch the opportunity of having a window dedicated to their product. The catch? Let them participate in creating the display!

2. Work with others from your community. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box! An interior designer could create the window display, and in exchange you would need to promote this “featured” window created by xyz! You can also work with charities to highlight their work, which is another way to gain great attention while also bringing light to a great cause. Local artists are also excellent contributors to window displays.

3. Use lighting as a focal feature. It’s amazing what creative lighting can do to stop passersby. Your goal should be to use lighting to optimize the visibility of your overall window.

4. Have a window contest. Open up the opportunity for young designers or merchandisers to display in your window. Get your local media involved and make a big to-do about it. Not only will this generate buzz for your business, you will gain a (hopefully fabulous) window display at minimal cost.

I have no doubt you’ll find the time and money you invested into having traffic-stopping windows next year are well worth your time and investment! 

Do you have any ideas from window displays you’ve seen this holiday season you would like to share? Happy holidays!