We all know that first impressions count. For a business trying to charm its customers, this encounter can be as short as a few seconds. During the festive season, with shops lit up like Christmas trees, some literally, how can you stand out from the crowd? Add in the global pandemic that has been devastating bank accounts as much as emotions, and making an impact has never been more important.
“Presenting merchandise in an appealing and attractive way to drive sales is actually as old as retailing itself. Window displays are an integral part in luring shoppers inside and persuading them to purchase,” explains Samantha Francis, the Creative Director of Aces of Space. A creative agency with headquarters in Dubai and the Netherlands, Aces of Space is behind some of the region’s most impressive window displays. “It only takes a few seconds to walk by a shop window. Therefore, the chance to grab someone’s attention is extremely limited and important,” adds Francis.
More so than at any other time of the year, the festive season offers shops an opportunity to get theatrical with displays. “A stunning festive window is so much more than just a store. It’s a decorative seasonal tradition that gives consumers joy, glamour, sparkle and most importantly, hope,” says Francis. The end of the year is traditionally a time when we are filled with anticipation for the coming year, and displays should draw on this. Out with the old, in with the new, even if the pandemic is still ongoing.
Concepts that tell a story
Budgets may not always match expectations, no matter how extravagant an idea is. “This year, because of the pandemic and the financial crisis in Lebanon, we decided to use items we already owned instead of spending on our windows. They turned out beautiful nonetheless,” explains Frank Luca, the CEO of Orient 499, a Beirut-based boutique that sells ethical handicrafts from the city and beyond.
This year, Orient 499, known for its displays, chose to feature a color scheme reminiscent of Christmas without being too obvious. Think opulent gold and brass vases and trays with pops of white and red ceramics. With its rich symbolism of life and fertility, the pomegranate also takes centre stage, overflowing from bowls, making you want to reach out and grab one. “It’s those concepts which tell a story or show unique craftsmanship that tend to be the favorite,” says Francis commenting on his innovative presentations.
Even with a minimal budget this year, Orient 499 has proved you can still dazzle customers. “Some people make it a point to pass by our street just to look at the display. Over the years, we’ve heard people say that they like being stuck in traffic on our street because it gives them time to look at our windows,” says Luca. Helping to enhance awareness of a brand, even if it doesn’t always lead to direct sales, and creating a memorable impression of your business can never be a bad thing.