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Why Christmas Window Displays Are Still Important

Friday 20th November 2015

Christmas seems to arrive earlier each year, and it's easy to see why when the festive displays start appearing in shop windows in November. Such displays are as much a part of Christmas these days as stockings and mince pies, and they are incredibly important for shops up and down the country.

At BAF, we have helped to create many festive displays over the years, including a display for Selfridges (take a look at our case study here). It's always great to get involved in these fun festive displays, and the results are fantastic to see.

But in this digital age when more people buy their Christmas presents online than ever before, you may be questioning just how relevant these displays really are. The truth is that they have never been so important, and they still have a big role to play in the Christmas tradition.

From the Victorian Christmas to the Modern Age

The Telegraph provides some interesting history about window displays, which have been a big part of Christmas for retailers since as far back as the industrial revolution. They took off even more in the 1880s, especially in London's West End, and they originally featured food but switched to toys and presents after World War I. New York then took the lead in the following decades, when famous stores on Fifth Avenue started putting on displays that attracted large crowds.

The Telegraph article also mentions the internet and how you might think the growth of online shopping would reduce the importance of displays. But in fact they are more important than ever. The truth is that shoppers still like to visit physical stores at Christmas, and the displays are a large part of the experience.

The Enduring Attraction of Festive Displays

This idea of whether window displays are still relevant was also discussed in Marketing Magazine. This highlights how people still queue up for many hours to see the displays at stores like Harrods and Selfridges, and it makes the important point that displays are about brand building rather than just about selling merchandise.

There is also a growing movement to creating connected displays. The same article provides the example of Ted Baker, which used a mistletoe installation where shoppers could kiss and then upload their pictures directly to Twitter.

Christmas Displays Involve Year-Round Planning

A peek into the display design process and what is involved is provided in this Guardian article, which features a designer of Christmas displays working for John Lewis.

The designer highlighted the importance of getting people excited in the run up to Christmas, and she said that planning starts 14 months in advance (something we know well at BAF after being involved in a number of large displays ourselves).

From the idea stage to working closely with designers and marketers, analysing trends, making models and putting it all together, a lot of work goes into these displays.

Take Advantage of a Christmas Display

There are many advantages of designing a Christmas display in your store, so make sure you take advantage of them. It may be too late for this year, but now is the perfect time to start planning for next year's display.

So excite your customers and inspire them with a festive display. Start thinking about creative ideas for your display, and use it as a great opportunity to get more people into your store at Christmas.

And if you like what you see and you would like to find out more about how we can help you with your own windows displays, we'd love to hear from you.

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