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Both Sides of the Story: Are Shop Window Displays as Effective as They Used To Be?

Bridal retailers share their opinions on the effectiveness of shop window displays

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For bridal retailers, window displays have always been an effective way to attract potential customers – even for those boutiques who don’t accept walk-ins. They are usually the first point of visual contact that a consumer has with a boutique and the starting point of the retail experience.

However, with the new Millennial bride and rise of social media, has the virtual shop window made the physical one less effective? We spoke with several bridal retailers from across the country to hear their opinions on the topic.

Read More: My Opinion: Treating Your Website as Well as Your Shop Window

With a background in online retail, Anna Wood from Anna Wood Bridal believes that window displays hold less value than they once did due to the reliance people now have on the internet.

“I think over the last 10 years retail has changed dramatically. There is definitely more of a focus now on online. Social media has very much become a go-to place for customers to conduct research and plan and, because of this, I think window displays are useful but they can’t be solely relied upon,” she says.

“Although it is nice to have, our shop window display isn’t our main way of attracting customers. We are very lucky that our main way of enticing brides is through word of mouth, and we are extremely grateful to our current and past brides who spread the word for us.”

When asked if her boutique ever relied on its shop window display to attract customers Anna responds, “Not at all! Due to the fact that we are located on the first floor, we have always needed to market ourselves in other ways to make sure that potential customers find us. Therefore, we have invested in marketing streams that are more focused and less hit and miss.”

“We concentrate our efforts on online marketing and social media. For us customer experience is key, and our brides are the most effective marketing tool we have. Because of this, we make sure that we focus a lot of attention on providing an amazing experience so that our brides want to recommend us,” she adds.

Anna finishes by saying, “Although we don’t largely depend on our window shop displays, I still think they are fantastic for creating an amazing wow factor on arrival for customers.”

Read More: Going Digital: Your Opinions

However, many other retailers still consider their shop windows to be an effective marketing tool for attracting customers. Lee Douglas from Bridal Lounge Accrington tells us that her boutique is famously known in the local area as ‘the big shop on the corner with the windows.’

“Our boutique is located on the corner of the street and has many large wide windows. Due to this, we have a lot of room to work with when it comes to our displays. I change my window display every week and take photos of it all lit up at night,” says Lee.

“Having an enticing window display is great for my business and it really helps me. I make the most of the space I have and once I have created something, I like to take photos and upload them to our social media pages. Although the boutique doesn’t take walk-ins, our window displays are still a great tool for us, marketing-wise. We always get enquires and brides booking appointments due to what they have seen in our shop window.”

Read More: Seven Ways to Drive More Footfall to Your Bridal Boutique

Jess from Wynter Isabelle is another retailer that considers her shop window displays to still be as effective as ever. As an experienced bridal stylist, buyer and creator, she has over 13 years’ experience in the industry and because of this, has seen many changes over the years.

“I think window displays still have a huge part in bringing custom into my boutique," she says.

"We get a lot of attention both physically and virtually from our window displays and due to this, we get many enquires that lead to appointments. You need to be able to catch people’s eye, not just passers-by of course, but also on social media. I think it’s imperative to ensure you put the utmost effort into your displays. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in a premise that didn’t have an exciting window display and I have sold so many dresses from mine alone.”

However, while Jess believes her shop window displays are still useful, she also accepts that social media is a great tool for additional support. Taking advantage of all platforms Jess adds, “When I create a window display, I take a photo and upload it on to social media.

“When I look at my most engaged posts on Instagram, they are always of the shop front, which I think proves that people enjoy seeing a window display that is constantly updated and relevant. I really think about each display, especially the big occasions and I try and make an impact. Our pride widow was very thought-provoking and this year our Christmas Gavin and Stacey theme was a great hit with everyone,” she says.

She continues by saying, “Brides want to know you are fashion-forward and are putting the effort into your business. My entire boutique, not just the windows are constantly updated and soon enough there will be something very showstopping going on our outside walls," says Jess.

Whether your window displays are your main way of attracting customers or your social media channels act as your virtual window, enticing potential customers with a highlight of your offering is still a successful marketing tactic.

Customers love to get a feel and insight into your business before they shop with you, and as long as brick and mortar businesses are around, shop window displays will always be an effective promotional tool for bridal retailers, however, this doesn’t mean to say that social media should be completely ignored.

Not only this, but window shop displays also offer you the opportunity to be creative, highlight your brand’s unique personality and stand out in a busy industry.

Do you agree? Tell us your thoughts on our Facebook page. If you enjoyed reading this, why not check out another opinion piece - Why You Must Make Time for Social Media.

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