by | 25 Mar 2020 | visual merchandising | 0 comments


A shop window to sell must meet certain requirements:

  • Communicate a clear message;
  • Get noticed and do it in style;
  • Develop the right balance between the product on display and the scenic elements;
  • To be remembered;

The magic formula is so “simple” that it is often not used.

Create a clear message!!!

Okay, to create an effective showcase requires a master hand, we all agree, but with a bit of trick even the most stubborn shopkeeper could improve the yield of that small or large space that separates him from the final client: the showcase!

Yes, because if all the people walking out there are the world you’d like to see entering the shop, you should think about it in the same way when you think about the customer. You have to make sure that the passerby cannot resist the instinct to stop in front of your window, you have to offer him a valid motivation, you have to hit him, intrigue him, amuse him, inform him, shock him … in a few words you have to trigger an emotional reaction in him.

Whether it is a talking bear, a disruptive color, intoxicating music, a perfect display, an interactive screen or the promotion of the year, you have to make sure that you are noticed on the other side of the sidewalk.

You have to stand out and you have to do it in style.

The bear was a mere provocation, but if you sell toys why not, it might work with the little ones, but don’t let me find it in the Christmas windows of the Milanese fashion district, have mercy, please!!!

Even if we are not all Hermes, we can still make a pleasant and, consequently, effective shop window.

What do you have to think about before you even start moving a pin in the window? Here, served to you below, is the recipe for the perfect showcase:

1) Decide what you want to display. 

Trivial? No! I didn’t say empty the shop and display everything a bit, I said DECIDE what to display, because starting with an idea is fundamental.

How do you want to present yourself to your customers? What do you want to communicate?  What’s your assortment? Who are you addressing?

Have you ever asked yourself these questions? Well, get started.

Choose a few products representative of your product range and remember that the showcase must be changed often (at least every month), so you will have the opportunity to display everything in rotation, so calm and cold-blooded!

Prominently display a few products. In a few seconds who passes through the showcase must clearly understand what you sell, what products/services you offer. Then stop filling those square meters that separate you from the street with dozens of different products or, even worse, with unnecessary scenic elements.

Unless you are Macy’s from New York or Harrods from London, my advice is to keep your windows as simple as possible. Displaying a few products is always the best choice because it will help the customer to focus attention and understand what you offer.

Obviously, you will need to have some set up/scenographic elements in addition to the product itself, I’ll talk about it later, but don’t exaggerate.

2) Don’t use too many colors.

Generally the rule suggests using a maximum of three colors in exhibitions.

If they were complementary, their visual impact would be enhanced, if they had a more harmonious display in color gradation. You could also play light and dark, black and white, etc…etc. I do not dwell on the theory of color because I would need a whole book, but you can use my cue to read something about it, there are many books on the subject and certainly have a deeper knowledge of how colors affect the human psyche, it would help you in the preparations.

But how to choose them then? 

It will depend on the impact you want to have on the public, the season certainly affects, as well as the festivities, the type of product and the culture of the place.

No one forbids you to be disruptive, however, and to go against the current, everything always depends on what you want to communicate and how you want to be perceived by the potential customer, but especially by WHO you want to be!

If you want to be fashionable then at Christmas maybe you won’t opt for white, red and gold, but you’ll dare to, with a design with thin fluorescent colors, provided that this “look” is married with the “character” of the store, with the target audience and with the product sold. If you would like to be remembered as the most original store, you might opt for a monochrome shop window instead.

The options are limited to the creativity of each of us and … also to common sense.

3) Physical elements supporting the product – scenic elements

To avoid writing a papyrus on the subject, which would deserve a book of its own, I’ll tell you a secret…most shop windows, even the big brands, always use the same schematic, the same elements to support the product and the same “secrets of the trade”.

The elements that you can use more immediately are:


If you have a closed or semi-open window you will already know what I am talking about. Simply by changing the background and maybe repainting the walls of the window, you will be able to quickly renew its appeal. You can print images, drawings, phrases, patterns, etc, there is no limit to imagination.

And if you don’t have a background because your window is open? Create it! There are many quick and not too expensive solutions, which will allow you to partially isolate the interior of the store from the window.

I believe that open windows unless you have a crazy shop with interiors designed by the best architects and always impeccably set up, are a risk, so it’s better to opt for a window that focuses the eye of the passerby in a well-defined space.

Window film

A beautiful glass window, with a striking color, a provocative writing or an original design, would often be enough to be noticed.

The only limitation is that it is not very manageable. A simple window decals or a pre-spaced (written or drawn on pre-cut adhesive vinyl. The elements are already separated from each other at a given distance and are ready to be applied), they can be applied by anyone with a minimum of manual skills, but large window decals need real experts to be applied.


Whether they are cubes, parallelepipeds, triangles, ovals, iron, wood, polystyrene or carbon fiber, they have always been the true friends of every visual. Yes, because with them you can easily display products in the shop window, create an atmosphere, a scenography, create depth and triangularity, always maintaining a certain cleanliness and balance.

Look at the shop windows of different fashion brands, they are often composed of mannequins + display elements. So you won’t necessarily need to create crazy scenographies, also because if not wisely studied, designed and realized, they will hardly be pleasant and impactful.

So, rather than try your hand at improvised creativity, be smart, observe what others are doing and opt for a few clean and simple elements to display your product in the window.

Here are some examples of harmonic, simple, clean, readable display cases that use cubes, tables, stands and bases to support the display.

Scenic elements

As previously written, I would avoid to deal in-depth with this topic here.

I can tell you, however, that small or large scenographic elements, allow the showcase to be noticed and remembered, you must also skillfully dose your creativity so that even the product and the brand are remembered and stored, instead of going in the background. Let’s say that in reality, the scenography is a double-edged sword if skillfully made it will give the desired impact, but if it comes, pass me the word, arranged, it will make the showcase collapse and bring back passers-by to the wonderful but outdated 80s…

4) Determine the focal point.

Well well, now that we have decided what to display, the colors that will dominate my showcase and all the elements that will contribute to its realization, we will have to decide how to physically position the product and the decorative/scenographic elements.

Decide where the eye of the passerby will have to linger.

I suggest you make sure that this point is occupied by the product you sell. In the window must speak the product, everything else goes to support and support the display, so that it can be maximum visibility of the product offered, never forget it.

centered focal point


decentralized focal point


The focal point is the most visible area of the shop window, generally located in the center at eye level (1.50-1.60 m) but, if you want to create a showcase a little ‘more interesting, you can decentralize it. The symmetry, although pleasant and harmonic, is often more boring, not very interesting and not very memorable.

So decide what the customer needs to observe at the very first glance and place it in the focal point.

In the second part of the article, I will explain the visual paths and space management.

Remember, making a shop window is within everyone’s reach, making an effective shop window is the real challenge.


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