Visual merchandising is taking on new meaning during the pandemic – instead of drawing people into the store to shop, window displays are now an opportunity to help customers make purchases without going into the store.  

We all know how easy it is to be tempted by items on display in a shop window.  The bakery whose product array is shown above realizes that by labeling their pastries they make it possible to “pre-shop” their selection of goodies.  Undoubtedly most customers come through the door already knowing what they plan to buy.

How can this technique be used during this coming holiday season?  If you are set up to sell online for curbside pickup (or BOPIS – buy online, pick up in store – if the weather is bad), you can show some of your best sellers in your window for customers to consider ordering while standing outside. Going to your website to look at an item on display will hopefully encourage them to browse other products as well, or to continue shopping on your website when they get home. 

One of the unwritten rules of traditional window merchandising is that you should never show prices.  But it wouldn’t hurt to add signage to each item – like these tempting pastries – so that customers will know exactly what they are looking for on your website.  Be sure to include a sign that says that everything in the window is available to be purchased online for curbside pickup.

All smartphones can now automatically scan QR codes.  So in addition to labeling the items in your window, why not use small signs featuring QR codes to send shoppers to the exact landing page for whatever they might want to buy?  It’s easy (and free) to generate a QR code on your computer and then print it out.  Click on this link for a blog post that reviews the top QR code generator programs.  Even if it’s not practical to put QR code tags on the individual items, you should post a sign with a QR code leading to your store’s home page, inviting browsers scan the code with their smartphone to go directly there.

In order to make best use of your window space, you’ll want to change your displays frequently, and to remove items that are sold out.  Walk by your own shop window regularly to make sure the array of goods is tempting – and easy to shop from online if customers are not comfortable coming into the store this season.

Happy Retailing,
Carol “Orange” Schroeder

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