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Window Displays that POP!

Casey Woods by Casey Woods, Executive Director | September 24, 2014

Window Displays That Pop!

Your window displays are your first impression.  Do they catch your attention?- By Lauren Woolard


Windows are your first chance to make an impression on consumers.  Do your displays invite people in? Do they tell a story about your merchandise? If the answer to these questions is “no”, then its time to rethink those windows! Here are some tips for how to create displays that will draw in customers and showcase merchandise.




Start with a Theme-

If you are wondering where to begin with your window display, choosing a theme is a great place to start.  Themes help you decide what direction to take with your display and what your props/focal points will be. Themes can be based around seasons, special events (homecoming, back to school, etc) & holidays.  Your window display should tell a story, and your theme decides how you will tell that story.



Decide on props-

Props are items used in window displays that are not merchandise. These items are a large part of the window display and will depend on your theme. Let’s say your store has chosen to do a summer themed window. Beach balls would be a great inexpensive prop for the window.  Props can be items used to showcase merchandise (ie. Decorative chairs, stools, ladders, etc).




Get crafty-

The most budget-friendly way to create a window display is to get creative and make some of your own props. Some DIY ideas for window displays include garlands, backdrops, paper mache items, and more.  These pom poms pictured here are very inexpensive and easy to make, but make a huge impact (

for a tutorial!)


windowUse what you already have-

You never know what is lying around in the back of your store (or in your basement at home) that could work for a window display! That old wooden chair? Paint it a fun color and use it as a display piece!  Find fun ways to recycle your old treasures and turn them into props!









    • Don’t Clutter!-While it’s important to have merchandise and props in the window, be sure it isn’t overloaded. You want to choose key items that will be the center of your display and put the focus on them. For example, this display does not use any props, but really catches the eye. This is because they have chosen the yellow dress as the focal point and surrounded it with other complementary outfits. The design is simple, but the impact is big. If you are worried you are going overboard with props, take a minimalist approach and make your merchandise the star of the show.


windowUse varied heights-

While it is important to have merchandise at eye level, you don’t want everything in a straight line across the window. This is where props can come in! Use an old ladder, pillar, chair, or just about anything to create some levels and depth within the display.








Change them as often as possible-

At a minimum you should be changing your displays at the changing of seasons, but mixing up your displays can really help move merchandise. Each time a new season comes around, different merchandise becomes more relevant. In the winter, hardware stores will move the shovels and rock salt to the front, while in the summer they will showcase garden decorations and supplies. Use this opportunity to change your displays. If you only plan to change your theme and props when the seasons change, at least rotate new merchandise into the display so customers have something new to look at.

Lighting is Key-

if you can’t see the display, what is the point in putting so much effort into it? Some store fronts have large windows that allow in plenty of light, while others require their displays to be lit so they can be seen. If it is possible to keep your window displays lit even after business hours, do so. People are downtown in the evening eating dinner,  having drinks and passing by your storefronts. Keeping your displays lit gives them a chance to window shop even after the store is closed.







If you’re thinking “I don’t have time for this” or “I’m not creative enough” remember to take advantage of your surroundings. Many communities we met at the National Main Street Conference partner with university or high school art programs to have students design and create window displays as art projects.


For more display ideas, visit our  Pinterest.

About the Author

Casey Woods, Executive Director

Before accepting the director position in March of 2009, Casey worked in both retail and agricultural jobs in the family businesses. A lifelong resident of the Emporia Area, Casey was a ten year volunteer for Emporia Main Street prior to his appointment as director. During that time he served as the board president and chair of the Economic Vitality Committee.

Casey also serves as a partner in PlaceMakers, LLC, a consulting firm that routinely works with both large and small communities, and their businesses, to promote sustainable economic growth through community and economic development practices. Casey consults with businesses, organizations and communities to understand their market capacity and fill vacant spaces. He has been involved in two projects that included crowdfunding as a part of their overall business funding strategies, Radius Brewing and Twin Rivers Winery & Gourmet Shoppe.


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