Spread some Christmas magic with these top visual merchandising tips

37431352 - holiday window display at bergdorf goodman in nyc on november 18, 2014.

The countdown to Christmas is on! So if you feel your window displays are lacking in magic, it’s not too late to inject them with some extra pizzazz. Here are some top tips, courtesy of PressOn...

Material girl 

There are a number of different materials you can consider to make your windows stand out from the crowd. Wood, for example, can appear very festive if presented properly and may put the viewer in mind of log cabins, fireplaces and Lapland; there is also no shortage of Christmas fabrics that could be used to create backgrounds, drapes, curtains, or even large-format art pieces.

A cost-conscious but inventive business could likely do something arresting with simple wrapping paper, too – it comes in huge sheets and can be cut and arranged into any shape you can imagine. Artificial, snow is also an option – an abundance of which could transform any window into an appealingly wintery sight.

Subvert expectations

Flip the script on a Christmas cliché by adding a modern twist on traditional festive themes. For instance, Selfridges’ 2016 Christmas windows included a chic, stylish Santa stepping off a plane; depending on the nature of your business, an boldly offbeat take on classic holiday imagery might be right approach to take.

Another possibility might be to construct Christmas imagery from your products, in much the same way that the 16th-century Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo would paint portraits wherein faces would appear to be made out fruit or vegetables. Could you arrange a display in such a way that your wares seem to form the shape of a Christmas tree, a snowflake, or Santa?

Dreaming of a green Christmas

Today’s consumers are more environmentally conscious than ever before. With growing numbers of shoppers refusing to buy supermarket products packed in cellophane, and catering industry giants like McDonalds and Starbucks abandoning their plastic straws in favour of cardboard substitutes, 2018 might be the perfect time to make an eco-friendly statement with your Christmas display.

By using recycled papers, reclaimed woods, upcycled furniture, and low-energy LED lights, you can easily make a great display that doesn’t harm the planet. Of course, a fake Christmas tree is a no-no – it will likely be made of petroleum-based plastic and probably will have travelled from China. Instead, some garden centres are offering to rent out real trees that can then be returned in the new year, where they will continue to be looked after.

Get creative

If you really want your customers to notice your display, tell all their friends, and share it on their social media, chances are you’ll need to think outside the box. The focus of your window display could even be something not inherently festive, but presented in a way that makes it seem special; for example, Harrods’ 2013 window display, developed with the help of large-format printing company PressOn, featured an elaborate steam train bedecked with Christmas trees, lights, and well-dressed mannequins. And don’t forget the famous Coca-Cola TV commercials; who would think that a giant lorry full of soft drinks could be a popularly beloved Christmas icon?

Keeping it clear

It might be a good idea to select and commit to an overall theme, whether it be cute woodland animals doing Christmassy things, modern interpretations of Biblical Christmas, Santa’s workshop full of elves, or something else entirely. If you have a building with many windows, for example, you could theme each window after a different Christmas song; or perhaps one window could have an outdoorsy, snowy theme, and another could have an indoor, cosy cabin vibe.

The theme could even be “gifts”, with your products bursting from wrapped boxes. Whatever you choose to do, picking a strong theme early in the process will help guide your design decisions and prevent you from having just a jumbled window of assorted Christmas trappings.

Don’t forget the glass

It’s not only about what your customers can see through the window. Can you use the window itself? Maybe you can get an overlay printed for the glass to add a wonderful seasonal effect, or perhaps the surrounding window frame could be bedecked with leafy garlands and lights to create a delightful Christmassy border.

In the end, a great Christmas display is something that your customers will always appreciate, and with the holiday season fast approaching, it’s never too early to start planning your approach – with some forethought and creativity you can create something that will be remembered long after the season has passed.

This post was contributed by PressOn, one of the UK’s leading large format printing companies. Based in Chatham, Kent, they provide large format prints and window displays for some of the UK’s leading retailers and brands.