Cathy Frost is the owner of Love One in St Peter’s Street, one of Ipswich’s most unique gift shops. Cathy is also the Coordinator of The Saints Traders Group.
A retailer’s window is one of the most important tools in its marketing kit. It is a window into the world of that shop; the first thing the public get to see of your business. Therefore, it needs to make a good impression. I can still remember the amazing window displays I saw as a child in London at Hamley’s, Liberty’s and Fortnum’s.
In the highly competitive world of retail, your shop window is a great place to showcase your products, create a narrative, sell your story. An attractive or quirky window display will spark a comment, attract the eye of a passer-by, or draw in a window-shopper.
Once inside, it’s important that the customer feels welcomed, so keep the momentum going and build on the hard work that the window has done to tempt them in. The window should only be the start of the retail experience.
On the Saints, we have a number of great independent shops and very many of them spend a great deal of time creating a unique display…. it is an art form. However, I have made some mistakes over the 10 years I have been in retail and learnt; never put wax candles in the window on a warm day and never chocolate!
After 10 years in the business, I now understand why you can go to college to learn to window dress. There is a real art to getting it right; height, shape, colour, theme, tone and season. On a winter trip to New York a few years ago, I can still remember the thrill of standing outside Macy’s, being covered in fake snow. It certainly worked for me.
I’m not sure the Saints traders can stretch to those lengths at Christmas, but we do take a lot of time and care over our windows. Next time you find yourself in the Saints, take the time to window shop and linger a little longer…..you might see something to tempt you in.