Window Dressing, the first physical contact with the consumer

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Let me tell you a story, that by the way is very common (you know what? I’m pretty sure is your story): one day person “X” went out to do some errands, when all of a sudden walked out of a store, her/his attention got caught and stopped. While staring through the window totally baffled, she/he daydreamed, then with determination walked into the store, bought something that was not displayed in the window, neither had intended to buy. It is how person “X” self- gifted a completely unplanned expense.

What I just told you is the natural cycle with a successful ending of what is called Window Dressing, one of the key elements of the Visual Merchandising.

What is Visual Merchandising? Is the crucial bond between the brand, the consumer, the product and the environment inside a store; it must incite the customer to go into the commercial space, generate interest and encourage him to purchase[1].

Fashion industry does not only rely on design, it implies diverse elements such as trends forecast, product development, manufacture and brand management; all these influence the display of the products inside the store, and where and how they are strategically showcased in the window.

Window Dressing Visual Merchandising - The Fashion Marcom Case 5

Window Dressing contributes with art and design to the commercial space, communicates what the brand wants to reflect, while connecting the virtual and the real world. Historically, the windows were used to allow customers to see from the outside the discounts and promotions before they’d go inside. In contemporary retail, this selling space has a more complex commercial context. The window today aims to attract, shock, entertain and seduce its viewers, helping them to create an association between the store and the brand, but mostly to create an experience… and if possible, to make the consumer daydream.

For the window dressing design, a variety of factors need to be considered, for instance: its format, that will be defined by its location, whether if its at the front of the store, or if the consumer can have access to it through a hallway. Other architectural details take, such as the floor, the walls and the illumination; additionally, decorative elements like mannequins or abstract figures, but the most important highlights are the clothes and accessories to be exhibited or promoted. The magical touch is in the communication and presentation of the concept; in order to get here, the trends had to be foreknown, as well as the collection theme and the consumer interest.

As expected, technology also plays a very important role in the window dressing, not only because today we see screens showing audiovisuals, but because an interesting tool has been developed; it’s a display placed in a shopping mall, it has a screen that scans a user and obtains information about him. Based on his interest and the available items in stores, a suggestion list of products is shown with information of where to find them. Then the user makes his items selection creating a shopping list, which is synced with a mobile app and geo-locates the products on the shopping list within the mall. This technology was developed by Klépierre, a European company specialized on retail and shopping malls.

Do you remember seeing any window that stole your attention and made you to get into a store? It doesn’t matter if you only did window shopping and didn’t buy anything, but if you stared at it perplexed, it means it was well achieved; that well that you stayed there for a while and you walked into the store, at least to only look around.

Come with me shopping and see these windows I captured on some trips in the pasts.

Window Dressing Visual Merchandising - The Fashion Marcom Case 4 Window Dressing Visual Merchandising - The Fashion Marcom Case 3 Window Dressing Visual Merchandising - The Fashion Marcom Case 2 Window Dressing Visual Merchandising - The Fashion Marcom Case 1 Window Dressing Visual Merchandising - The Fashion Marcom Case 6 Window Dressing Visual Merchandising - The Fashion Marcom Case 7

[1] Sarah Bailey and Jonathan Baker, 2014. Visual Merchandising for Fashion. London, UK: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

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