Long before the internet and digital advertising came the shop window – the 24/7 public advert. Despite rumours of the High Street’s demise, physical stores are still a cornerstone of any consumer company’s marketing strategy.

Window display ideas are more creative than ever and in this article, MPL explores how a business can reinforce its corporate identity, showcase its merchandise and promote its USPs with some clever designs and a new shop fit out. So, if one of your questions is ‘what are the different types of window display?’, read on for the answers.

10 Window Display Tips For Shop Owners

1. Define Your Target Audience

Companies often spend hours creating customer profiles for marketing purposes and these shouldn’t be overlooked when planning a window display. If you know your audience is into outdoor pursuits, your shop window display ideas should reflect this when it comes to merchandise and themes used. Retailers should also use information gleaned from point of sale systems, such as the age of buyers, to influence what goes into a window display.

Retailers should, however, beware of alienating any audience or pigeon-holing their brand, especially if they’re new to the market. The merchandise displayed should reflect a variety of price points and any imagery used should not offend or divide.

2. Showcase Your Brand Identity

There are a million and one retail design ideas to choose from and a shop window is certainly somewhere to get creative but every idea should be underpinned by the four cornerstones of your company; its name, the font used, the logo and the brand colours. As a minimum, these elements should appear as vinyl decals on the shop front glass.

A brand can be amplified too. For instance, if a clothes shop wants to promote its new range of swimwear in late spring, one of the most on-brand window display ideas would be to display 50 buckets and spades that are colour matched to the company’s livery. You could even apply a company logo to a pair of deckchairs and display them in the window.

3. Tell a Story

A cluster of shops are what make High Streets and shopping centres must-visits – a concentration of stores all in one place – but by their very nature, there’s lots to see and it can be an overcrowded marketplace. The best shop window display ideas will engage customers, turn heads and even stop people in their tracks. They do this by telling a story or portraying a strong theme.

Summer is traditionally the wedding season, so you may choose to tell a love story from first date to the exchange of vows, or why not tug at the heart strings in the style of John Lewis and choose the sentimental story of giving over the Christmas period? Stories can be told by using a combination of props, text, images and even video.

4. Highlight Key Products or Promotions

A shop window is seen around the clock – there’s no pressing delete or scrolling past. This makes it an excellent marketing space to launch new products and promotions. Retailers can physically put items into the spotlight, using podiums, graphics, screens and lighting effects to announce what’s coming and when. Text is perhaps the most important medium, especially when it comes to sale season, and some of the best sale signs feature a company’s font and corporate colours.

5. Create Visual Impact

Dressing a window is a real skill, especially when it comes to balancing colours, lighting, textures and props with merchandise. Successful window display ideas will result in an aesthetic that is eye-catching from street level, looks good in photographs for those Instagram moments, showcases merchandise and reinforces a brand. It should also be compelling enough to draw people in through the door to spend money rather than just be a gimmick.

6. Keep It Fresh and Seasonal

Seasonal displays are a great way to reach out to shoppers. Summer could see a picnic theme be displayed in the window but that’s quite obvious. A theme within a theme is even better. How about a tennis-themed picnic during Wimbledon or a festival-themed picnic during Glastonbury? Calendar dates also provide excellent shop window display ideas – think Valentines, Halloween and St. George’s Day. Just be sure window displays are updated once events and seasons have passed, and a fresh set of window display ideas are ready to be installed overnight.

7. Consider the Layout and Composition

Creating a paper sketch or 3D digital design of a future window display will help you avoid the two most undesirable scenarios – a window that feels baren, unwelcoming and not representative of what you’re selling, or a window full of too many window display ideas so messages (and customers) are confused and sales are lost. The layout will need to allow the merchandise to be clearly seen and the composition be designed in such a way that any text applied to the glass can be read.

8. Utilise Lighting Effectively

The beauty of a window display is its ability to become a stage when the store shuts. When creating shop window display ideas for the High Street, MPL always ensures there are different lighting techniques to enhance the visual appeal and create the desired atmosphere. Spotlights and LEDs can draw attention to products and create a desired ambience, while cable strung or floor mounted illuminated display pockets are great for showcasing images and posters. Increasingly, we’re positioning LCD screens in windows, facing the street, to provide a continuous digital marketing channel, day and night.

Use Props and Visual Merchandising

Most show stopping windows have a real focal point and sometimes it’s not actually a product that the shop sells. An oversized model of an animal, a floral arch around the front door, a moving element or even a huge balloon arrangement can provide the anchor a window display needs. Retailers shouldn’t forget what they’re selling, however, and as a general rule of thumb, a window should be two-thirds decoration and one-third merchandise. So, maybe it’s time to try a life-size tiger wearing the latest Nike trainers?

Analyse and Adapt

A window display should respond to current trends and fashions in order to drive sales. Point of sale analytics will help you pinpoint what’s selling well and what needs a boost – perhaps these two items could be showcased together in the same window? If a chain has different window display ideas in different locations, it’s worth analysing footfall to see which design is drawing in the most customers and replicating that across the board. Finally, don’t ignore wider fashions. For example, if journalists have identified that green was the favoured colour for dresses at the Oscars, be reactive and change your display to reflect the trend.

What To Consider For Specific Business Types?

Take any High Street or shopping centre and you’ll find a myriad of different businesses cheek-by-jowl. A ladies’ clothing store will be next to a card shop, which will be next to an electronic retailer, which will be next to a delicatessen. Therefore, the same shop window display ideas will not apply to everyone.

Estate Agent Window Displays

When it comes to estate agent window displays, we’ve moved on from windows being smothered from top to bottom with property details, stickers and posters, to more clutter-free shop fronts. Fewer, bigger displays pockets are favoured - saved for premium property listings that sell a lifestyle – or LCD screens are preferred so property videos can also be broadcast. Windows are also kept clutter-free so passers-by can see inside – perhaps to a comfortable, welcoming client area. Some of the best estate agent window displays feature:

Display pockets

Available with illumination in a variety of sizes from A4 up to A0. Powered by LEDs for improved energy efficiency and available as cable strung, floor mounted or ceiling mounted options.

LCD screens

Ideal for broadcasting property videos, marketing reels or even live TV. Broadly available in sizes between 32” and 86”, with models even visible in direct sunlight.

Window graphics

Full customisable, digitally-printed vinyl that can convey an agent’s name, logo, contact details and any marketing messages. Also ideal to screen off an interior if a refurbishment is underway.

Discreet power supply

Technical drawings and first-fix planning to ensure safety is maintained, adequate power is available, and all cables and wires are hidden.


An illumination system that will highlight displays after dark. This can be spotlights, LED rope lights or pendants - or even a combination of all three. Timers can be added for extra eco savings.

Boutique Clothing Store Window Displays

High end fashion with high end price tags usually requires a ‘less is more’ approach that highlights current fashions and desirable items. Window display ideas to consider include pedestals that show off single accessories, clothes rails that hold a capsule wardrobe and custom-made mannequins showing the latest collections.

Bookstore Window Displays

One of the most fun windows to dress often belongs to a bookstore. The obvious window display ideas work in tandem with new releases or books being turned into films but don’t ignore colour-based displays that use front covers almost as paints. You could also create a cosy vignette in winter, using a leather armchair, a free standing lamp and a bookcase in the background. Don’t forget to promote author events or book clubs to engage customers.

If you have a shop window, you’ll need a constant supply of shop window display ideas. As long as you’re respectful of your audience, your brand and your merchandise, a window is a company’s chance to be creative. Choose a theme – be it colour, films or festive holidays – and have fun! Why not contact MPL today and discuss your window display ideas?