Window displays and visual merchandising: new trends after the covid
Now more than ever window dressing acquires a much greater relevance to attract the attention of a consumer who is adapting to a new way of shopping and who values safety, social distance and cleanliness much more than before.
We recently spoke on the blog about how the coronavirus has changed the way consumers shop and, in retail, we are approaching an omnichannel future. With the great changes that we are experiencing, there is something that cannot be overlooked in the new sales spaces: the window displays.
The new normal implies a new way of selling, with new trends in visual merchandising that will have to be more innovative than ever to attract a consumer who is more inclined to buy online and more concerned about the place of purchase than the product itself.
The shopping experience is much less pleasant with masks and gloves, so brands and establishments will have to rely on window dressing and merchandising to reconvert their shopping spaces, adapt them to the new reality and achieve that they generate the same good sensations as always among customers.
What has changed after the covid?
Shopping has always been an experience to be enjoyed with practically all five senses. To buy clothes we touch the fabric or we try it on to see how it fits. When we buy perfume… First we smell it.
And in the supermarket, we pick the fruit by hand so as not to choose the best one. Sight and touch, as well as smell and taste when it comes to food, are the main senses that are activated during a purchase. However, since we have lived in a global pandemic … everything has changed:
- The first thing we see when entering the stores is the hydroalcoholic gel to wash our hands.
- The use of masks does not result in a positive feeling: the mask moves and is hot, …
- And if we are buying with gloves … let’s forget about touch!
To avoid any risk of contagion, we can see but not touch. Now safety comes first and we don’t touch or pick up a product until we are certain that it will come home with us. Touch has been forgotten and sight becomes our main tool for the purchase decision.
For all this, the way of presenting the product will change both in the window displays and in the distribution of the store and the shelves.
New trends in window dressing and visual merchandising
We don’t know what the future holds with the coronavirus still with us. However, post-covid trends in window displays and visual merchandising have an indisputable ally: technology.
At the end of March, in the midst of a pandemic, among many ecommerce businesses there was a need to minimize the drop in sales, giving visibility to their businesses with offers, promotions, etc. In this context, Streetify was born. It is a platform to help businesses overcome the crisis caused by covid-19. It is an application that allows users to “walk” through virtual streets where retailers display their digital windows, connect with customers, offer discounts and promotions, etc.
Following the digital world, other companies are betting on QR codes to offer more information about their products without having to enter the store or to facilitate the purchase of them through their ecommerce.
On the other hand, if the usual thing was to see shop windows where the product was presented in a creative way and was the undisputed protagonist, in the post-covid era, many brands choose to go from a visual showcase to a more commercial one. In other words, these display windows take away a certain prominence from the visual aspect to focus more on commercial messages related to discounts, promotions or purchase and collection options, for example.
Once inside the store, beyond the display of the product itself on the shelves and commercial messages, there are also other essential visual communication elements that make the consumer feel comfortable at the time of purchase. We refer to the signage at the point of sale: from vinyls that indicate the route that we must follow in the establishment or the safety distance that must be maintained to delimiters with messages and recommendations.
If the usual thing was to see window displays where the product was presented in a creative way and was the undisputed protagonist, in the post-covid era, many brands choose to go from a visual showcase to a more commercial one.
3 brands that are transforming their window displays and visual merchandising
The transformation of shop windows requires, above all, creativity and technology. By combining both tools, it will be easier to attract that new consumer with fear and reluctance to buy in physical spaces.
1 | Selfridges
Brands around the world are working to adapt their stores to survive falling sales or digitize their businesses if they haven’t already. However, there is a UK brand that is ahead of them: Selfridges. Their window displays were always daring but in July 2019 they launched the campaign The New Order, betting on digital window dressing. With fully artistic video reproductions and featuring digital replicas of the clothing items, they turned their shop windows into a large screen with QR codes to facilitate a quick and convenient purchase of their products.
© Copyright. Selfridges & Co
2 | Lacoste
A similar strategy is being followed by Lacoste in its physical stores in the United States. The classic clothing brand has teamed up with the technology company Yoobic to offer QR codes through which to consult very valuable information for the current consumer without having to enter the store. By scanning the code, customers can know, among other things, the merchandise available inside the store, the capacity of the establishment in real time or when it was last disinfected.
3 | Zara
Like Selfridges, Zara has long worked to create innovative window displays and stores. A couple of years ago, the brand launched a pilot project to test augmented reality in 120 of its stores around the world. Through the Zara AR application, the user scans the QR code of the boxes and augmented reality models appear on their screen to see how each garment looks.
If we can draw a conclusion about the future post covid in relation to shop windows and visual merchandising, it is that the coronavirus has forced brands and establishments around the world to renew and update themselves. Likewise, these changes or new measures that have been taken in the short term are likely to persist in the future when a vaccine already exists because consumer habits will not change from one day to the next.