5 ways to create a magical visual merchandising displays this Christmas

As 2022 is the first Christmas without any lockdown periods in years, we can expect retailers to go all out on their visual merchandising displays this season. And with several of the busiest streets in London already lit up, it’s time to consider your shopfront decorations! 

Many retailers may be asking themselves: what makes the perfect display? Naturally, tinsel, lighting, Christmas-themed decorations and a festive message would all be essential. But did you know there are actually several themes that make the perfect window display?

UKShopfront, a specialist supplier of bespoke shopfront solutions, has compiled a guide to creating a winter wonderland display to spread Christmas joy and increase footfall! 

1. Retailtainment is vital

Electric toys, dancing dolls, flashing lights, and Christmas music – welcome to Retailtainment. The modern trend combines shopping and entertainment, using innovative and creative measures to attract custom. 

With advances in technology, the possibilities are endless. You can create a highly memorable, interactive display by using robots, lights flashing in time to music or AI window features.  

The ‘Best Christmas Display’ in the UK, located at Barton Grange shopping centre, is a master example of retailtainment. Every year the centre transforms into a wonder wonderland, complete with musical displays, a Santa’s grotto and glittering decorations

2. Christmas Themes

Installing festive lighting and decorations is the easy part. Finding a unified theme in the ornaments is a more difficult – but achievable – task. You should try to encapsulate some of the themes of your brand or mirror a popular, trending news story from within the past year. 

Some of the popular themes that many retailers follow every year are White Christmas, Santa’s Workshop and The Nutcracker. You can easily introduce these by putting a great backdrop in your shop window or a statement piece, such as a tree for your centrepiece. 

Hamleys London

This year, Hamleys toy store on Regent Street has installed some high decorative windows centred around Santa’s sleigh, accompanied by a multitude of reindeer. The setting is filled with hundreds of miniature reindeer toys, snow-covered Christmas trees and presents, promoting the brand’s products and appealing to the festive spirit! 

It’s not the first time the store has nailed a theme. In  2021, its displays were filled with Harry Potter and Jurassic Park imagery, attracting fans of the franchise and toy shop. It’s no wonder Hamleys has over five million visitors a year.

3. A Heartfelt Message

Studies have discovered that Christmas day is one of the happiest days of the year. Surrounded by family, friends and loved ones, it’s no surprise. 

When individuals were unable to mix during the Covid-19 lockdown periods, particularly the Christmas lockdown of 2021, many struggled to adapt. An example of a retailer taking the negativity and turning it into a positive is Harvey Nichols display in 2021. 

Harvey Nichols

The shopfront used bright festive lights and sparkling decorations (with a glitter ball background!) to frame its message: ‘Bring on 2021’. The optimistic nature of the display was well received, with many understanding it to be a beacon of hope. Set in the display were also several products sold by the retailer, promoting products without taking away from their message.

Most brands try to offer a heartfelt message in their Christmas marketing – not just their shopfronts. For example, popular food retailers are renowned for annual TV adverts. This year, the John Lewis advert is a heartwarming campaign about social care, while Aldi’s advert invokes feelings of nostalgia with Kevin the Carrot’s Home Alone adventure. 

4. Tinsel Towns

No Christmas display is complete without an element of decorations. Candy canes, Christmas trees and tinsel should all be staple features of your display, alongside ornaments in a variety of festive themes. Think elves, gnomes and nutcrackers. 

At the end of the day, your display needs to be memorable to be successful. You want shoppers discussing your shopfront to create a buzz, sparking intrigue and higher footfall. With studies showing that Christmas gift shoppers not only spend more time in-store but also impulse buy more than regular shoppers, this is the perfect time to boost sales and foster new customer loyalty. 

5. Stunning Signage 

A sign isn’t just for Christmas. The sign for your brand should reflect your ethos, attracting any passersby and acting as a silent salesman of your business. However, you should also consider taking a page out of Harvey Nichols book – introducing signage to your displays. 

Adding lettering, especially creatively completed lettering, to a sign not only attracts customers, but often causes them to stop and read your message. Combined with several popular products, your Christmas signage could influence a window shopper to, at the very least, pop their head into their shop. The first hurdle is getting people in – especially during the competitive rush of Christmas!


UKShopfront is a specialist provider of all types of commercial shopfronts, with over 30 years of installing and maintaining solutions.