“Window displays are the retailer’s most economical form of advertising: they bring glamour, fun, theatre and art to the streets, whilst visibly expressing the store’s image and aspirations. “*
Shop windows are the very first physical point of contact between the store and the customer. They are the invitation, “come in and buy” and the brand shaper “this is who we are”. Shop windows have been called the “soul of the shop”*. Most critically, window display drives over 25% of retail store business, and it is even more important in impulse buying.
And how long do retailers have to capture their potential customer’s attention? Well if you are walking down the shopping street you will only give 4 seconds of your gaze to each shop as you pass. And if you are passing by in your car it’s a tiny 1 second. Retailers must work very hard to get our attention.
But we are paying attention. When we shop we want to be entertained, intrigued and welcomed. In Cyprus 90% of shoppers* say they pay attention to windows when they are walking or driving according to research FOUNDiiD conducted with Cypriot Shoppers. And 28% of local shoppers tell us the reason they enter shops are the windows. So, as with the rest of the world, Cypriot shop windows matter.
The recent economic crisis hit the Cypriot retail sector hard, with multiple closures and the emptying of the high street. Many of the smaller and medium sized independent stores which have survived have done so by turning to deep discount and sales promotion. Totally sensible as a short term coping business strategy, but potentially damaging for medium to long term sustainability and growth. Continuous sales promotion can harm business in a number of critical ways: lower perceived value of product, a focus on price rather than value, customers grow to always expect discount, all leading to profit cuts.
As strength seems to be returning to the retail sector, perhaps now is the time for store owners to turn once again to the power of effective window design to help with business growth? After all stepping ahead of the market and creating a unique brand is an opportunity to gain market share.
Our Cypriot Shopper research told us that there are already some clever independent local retailers producing memorable and persuasive designs. And they are doing so without breaking the bank. As a shopper then, we encourage you to let shop owners know that you appreciate their window designs, maybe even tell them that you bought something because of their window design. And who knows, maybe we can help bring the glamour, fun, theatre and art back to the shopping streets of Cyprus?
If you would like a copy of our Cypriot Window Shopper Research, or want to discuss ways we can help with effective window design, call Loucas or Paul or mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
*Mary Portas: Retail Design Expert / ** FOUNDiiD Cypriot Shopper and Window Display Research: 1st Quarter 2016