For as long as I can remember, I’ve been photographing store windows and drawing on the creativity of the window dressers. The expression of creativeness that lies behind those large glass panes is a fine art of marketing that manages to draw me into the fantasy time and again.
Window dressing is a clever way of interacting with the consumer. It’s a way of telling a story and revealing something of what lies within the walls of the store behind it. It’s also an incredibly effective tool to portray the store image, the age group it’s appealing to as well as the seasonal merchandise.
Stores like Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Woolworths and Edgars know how to use every inch of retail exposure to their advantage, whereas other stores fail dismally in using this space effectively.
However, with the downturn in the economy, retailers have been forced to explore more ways of keeping the retail market alive and are realising the power of window dressing. More are learning that it’s a relatively inexpensive form of advertising compared to television or magazine ad space.
As “visual retail therapy” has grown in popularity, it has also become more competitive. Many store owners now realise that pretty window displays simply aren’t enough anymore, and things are becoming more cutthroat in order to sustain the attention of customers.
Clever tactics include movements in window displays, interactive shop fronts (where the window makes a sound or displays a film clip when you touch it) and the smell of fresh biscuits and bread piped onto the street to entice people to come into a bakery.
But just how far will the retail market go in order to survive? Have we become so
desperate to make a sale that we would try every subliminal trick in the book? And, if we have, is there any harm in doing this?
I would love to hear your feedback!