Festive Print: Retail Christmas Window Display Ideas

by Andy Wilson
on 30th October 2022

While it may seem like only yesterday we were basking in near-tropical heat, Christmas is just around the corner – bringing with it lively streets full of festive shoppers. For many brands, this is the most important time of year in terms of boosting their bottom line, and retail window Christmas displays are a time-tested marketing solution that can both enchant and convert customers. 

The Benefits of Christmas Retail Window Displays 

The increase in footfall across high streets and shopping centres during the holiday season is a boon to retailers up and down the country, but they also need to contend with heightened competition both on and offline. This is why thinking carefully about visual merchandising and multimedia window displays can make all the difference. 

Evoking an Atmosphere 

At Christmas, people are particularly interested in seeking authentic experiences which give them that festive feeling, offering real-world stores an edge over their online counterparts. An imaginative and compelling retail window display can be a huge part of this, helping brands stand apart from their competitors while also contributing to that sparkly-lit, cosy Christmas atmosphere that can make December shopping so delightful. 

Potential for PR Wins and Social Media Virality 

In the Internet age, a great window display has the potential to make you a social media sensation and spread sales-driving buzz far beyond the high street. For example, Farnham Council utilised the skills of a local artist, Tom Baker, to paint snowy scenes on their town centre windows, resulting in a video that was viewed over 4.5 million times. Shopfront enthusiasts even make special visits to beautifully decorated stores, sharing their photos on Instagram under hashtags like #shopwindow and #chasingfacades. 

Local news outlets keen to find festive good-news stories and specialist blogs may also be interested in covering particularly creative and eye-catching window displays, extending the reach of your campaign still further and positioning your brand as one to watch. 

Bringing in New Customers and Increasing Profitability 

While Christmas window displays are great for brand awareness and creating a festive buzz, their primary and most powerful function is convincing customers to step through the door and spend their cash with you. A seasonal display can showcase what you have to offer and make your store appear fun and inviting, tempting people in-store to make purchases. 

As the first touchpoint between your brand and its target market, the importance of window displays shouldn’t be underestimated, and most particularly at a time like Christmas when a bump in profitability can uplift a brand’s performance. 

According to Lange et. al in ‘Store-window creativity’s impact on shopper behaviour’ in the Journal of Business Research, retail windows motivate consumers to engage in the shopping experience rather than prompt them to buy specific products. Therefore, for retailers, creating a window display that captures people’s imagination rather than focusing on the purely advertorial can be particularly worthwhile – pulling footfall in-store where more targeted advertising can step in to drive sales. 

Christmas mirror vinyl

Ideas for Creating Great Christmas Window Retail Displays 

There’s little doubt that window displays at Christmas can pull in the punters, but given they take time, investment and planning, how do you make sure your efforts pay off? 

Choose a theme

Theming is a key element in any window display, helping to provide a clear framework from which to flesh out your ideas. When choosing a theme, it can help to ask yourself a few questions:

  • What does my display need to achieve for my business? 
  • Which products do I want to draw people’s attention to? 
  • What are the current trends and how can I stand out from the crowd? 
  • What feeling are am I trying to evoke in my audience? 

Pulling together your ideas beforehand can stop your window display from becoming confused or overwrought, and give you the vision to realise your ideas in a cohesive way. 

Make sure you plan in advance

This can be a busy time of year, and taking the “a stitch in time saves nine” approach will lead to a better result while also reducing the potential for stress. Some tips for getting your ducks in a row in terms of retail displays include: 

  • Sketch out your plans for the window to give you a sense of how it will work on a practical level.
  • Always consider the outside-in view. It is surprisingly easy to design a window display from your own vantage point inside the store, only to realise once viewing from the outside that it is flawed in some way. 
  • Think about how people will engage with your window. Will they be on foot? At what angle are they likely to approach it? How will your store’s surroundings inform your display?

Tell a story 

Christmas is a time for storytelling and the importance of narrative in marketing cannot be underestimated. Stories help brand owners to connect with customers, making them feel a part of something special. What’s more, during the festive season, people are particularly receptive to these brand-led experiences. 

The purpose of using narrative in marketing is to call up positive emotions in your target audience, cutting through the crowded and competitive retail space to offer something meaningful and humanise your brand. 

In a window display, you will naturally need to rely on visual storytelling to convey what you want to get across. In many ways, our brains are more equipped to process images than words, and brands can communicate complex and evocative ideas and feelings through the considered use of visual storytelling in Christmas window displays. 

Luckily, there are many cultural touchstones with a web of positive associations you can draw from at this time of year. To take a simple example, an image of a sleigh at Christmas is far more than the sum of its parts, bringing to mind Santa, gift giving, reindeer, the north pole and more. By contemplating the associations and memories that images are likely to bring up in your target audience, you can create an immersive piece of visual media. 

Explore a variety of mediums, including print 

Most window displays will utilise a variety of mediums in order to build the picture they want, from fake snow to masses of fairy lights. Print graphics can be an important part of this, weaving in seamlessly with floral arrangements, product displays and clever lighting. 

There are print solutions for storefront windows of all shapes and sizes, and all can make an impact that far exceeds the investment that goes into producing them. Our team at PressOn has years of experience in creating…

  • Lightboxes
  • Tension fabric frames 
  • Window graphics
  • Wall graphics 
  • Installations
  • Glass manifestations 

… and more, and each can have a place in a Christmas window display. This being said, it’s perhaps window graphics which can be the most well placed to enhance your festive window display, working especially well when they are carefully placed to work amongst a wider, multimedia design. 

While the final design depends on a huge variety of factors, window graphics can be used to frame a window display, add lettering, or create illusions (such as wrapping paper being pulled away). The key to getting it right is to understand exactly what’s on offer to you with modern printing technology, and then flex your creativity to use print graphics in surprising and captivating ways. 

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Written by
Andy Wilson Managing Director