We are now almost a third of the way through the last quarter of 2019. After what has been a challenging year for retail, the high street must be holding it’s breath for the end of political turmoil to concentrate on the business of Christmas. Competition as fierce as always, getting customers through the door is key. So what has the biggest influence on footfall? Your window display! So how can you stand out in the crowd and engage with customers in the short moments it takes to walk passed your window? We take a look at some great things you could be thinking about to make the most of the next 2 months.

Know your customer

Magic & Sample

Magic & Sparkle

Worried about being on trend? One thing that never goes out of style is a brand’s ability to capture the imagination and tell its story. Consider your customer’s aspirations and reflect this in your window. They need to identify with the story so it needs to be relatable and relevant.

Take a look at this window by Marks and Spencer, playing on their “festive brand alternative” that has become synonymous with Christmas. The window shows the mannequins have been transformed into fairies with their modern take on a winter wonderland. This window is sure to delight the die hard Marks & Spencer fan as well as being intriguing enough to attract new ones.

 

Eye level buy level

It makes sense to place the central element of your window display at eye level.  It makes it easier to have an instant impact on customers.  Over time, customers will look forward to seeing it when they pass by. If it is an example of clothing, it will need to inspire and cleverly sell a lifestyle rather than be seen as just a product. Again, it’s all about being engaging as well as relatable.

Clever retail

Trick or treat shop window display

Trick or treat window display

Visual merchandising is more important then ever with competition from on line as well as pop-ups and other shops on the high street. This brilliant shop window by Coles Hardware heralds the Trick or Treat season with a very clever display that cost less than $100. Humour can go a long way in capturing the imagination and getting customers through the door.

Ultimately your window display is your billboard. It’s all about creating drama, impact and the unexpected – and it doesn’t need always need big budgets!

 

 

 

Marks & Spencers photo by Millington Associates

Coles Department Store photo by Noelle Nicks

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It’s the most important 3 months in the retail calendar, the golden quarter – your most lucrative time of year. Buying customers through the door of your shop in the run up to Christmas is crucial for your Charity in terms of raising much needed funds for the next year ahead. How your window looks will have the greatest impact on reaching your sales targets. Visual merchandising has never been so important and if your charity has attended one of our training days,  you already know what a difference it can make. We would love to see you put that training into practice as we’re on the search for the best dressed charity window of 2019!

#acopiabestdressed this Christmas!

Eden Valley's Light Up A Life Window

Eden Valley’s Light Up A Life Window

We want to recognise the amazing work by staff and volunteers that goes into planning Charity Christmas window displays right across the UK. It’s important to tell your story especially during the festive season, whilst having to work on a tight budget no doubt!! Making the most of donated items as well as bringing imagination and creativity to your shop windows with your Christmas themes isn’t easy. Yet we were overwhelmed with entries last year and so impressed and  the ingenious ways in which you all brought Christmas to life. Who can forget Cats Protection’s “live” window of Santa’s knitting!

Do you also remember our stunning winning window from Devon Air Ambulance Trust scooped the top prize with their amazing entry submitted by Kim Veasey and the team at the Dartmouth Vintage shop? Second prize went to Kathy Fisher and the team at Eden Valley Hospice with their beautiful ‘Light Up A Life’ window. We had so many incredible entries, we had to increase the number of prizes! These went to: St Barnabas in Uckfield, Action Cancer in Coleraine, Rennie Grove in Berkhamstead, Age Concern in Leyland, Barnardo’s Vintage, Branching Out, Children’s Society in Shirley, Cat’s Protection in Bridlington, Shelter in Bromwich, Childern’s Society Shoreham On Sea, St Helena Colchester, Support Dogs Grassington, Children’s Society Ashington, and Children’s Society St Albans. We really hope you all enter again this year!

The People’s Vote!

Cat's Protection Knitting Santa!

Cat’s Protection Knitting Santa!

For 2019, we are adding a new component to the competition with a People’s Vote. We will still be looking for our top three best charity windows, but we will also be giving you an additional opportunity to win another fabulous prize for your shop, as voted by your local community! It’s a lovely way for your customers to get involved this Christmas.

Competition entry opens on the 16th of October and full details will be available on the day so watch this space! Follow our hashtag #acopiabestdressed and make sure you’re ready! If you enter early, your shop will have more time to accrue the People’s Vote!

It’s your chance to shine this golden quarter and we can’t wait to see what you all come up with this year!

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We’re looking for the best dressed charity Christmas window of 2018! It’s your opportunity to win £250 of visual merchandising equipment for your store.

As you know, your shop window has the greatest influence in attracting shoppers into your shop so you will have been busy planning your display to make the most of November and December to raise as much money as possible for your cause.

Open to all UK charities and hospices, we would love to see how innovative and ingenious you have been in creating your festive themed windows for 2018.

Charity Christmas Window

This will be your busiest and no doubt the most lucrative time of the year for your shop. You will be competing hard against other big brands on the high street who have considerably larger budgets.  Your shop window will play a massive part in encouraging footfall and inspiring people to come inside. Challenging pre-conceptions of charity shops will also be high on your agenda and Christmas is the perfect opportunity to reach a new demographic for example.

Competition details!

In the judging, we will pay special attention to:

  1. Innovative use of recycling and re-purposing items as props to display your donated products
  2. How your window tells a story
  3. Use of colour

Our winner will receive £250 to spend on Visual Merchandising equipment from Acopia for your store:

Crates and Christmas decorations

Looking festive!

Display ladder

From our Street 76 range

Collection of coloured wooden crates

Great for display!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Female mannequin christmas shop display

Chestnut Tree House Christmas Window

To enter our competition – just send an email letting us know all about the idea behind your theme this year and include up to 5 photographs of your shop window to marketing@acopia.co.uk Please submit your entry to us by 12th December 2018.

Our very own Visual Merchandising Trainer, Karen Murray (who has worked with brands such as Selfridges, Marks and Spencer, Gap) will select the winner who will be announced on the 20th of December.

If you would like to take your Visual Merchandising to the next level in 2019, why not get in touch with us at marketing@acopia.co.uk to find out more about our FREE training day!

We know you’ll be excited to get involved so please feel free to share and tag your entries with  #acopiabestdressed

Good luck and we look forward to seeing your photographs!

If you would like to find out about your local Visual Merchandising Training with Acopia – get in touch here:

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Main Image: British Red Cross

 

Attracting customers through the door on the busy high street is more competitive than ever. With community street events, pop-ups and markets all vying for a stake in the shopper’s wallet, the power of visual merchandising becomes the retailer’s hero in the fight for footfall. When visual merchandising is done well, it creates awareness and can increase brand loyalty, but firstly – it needs to inspire and engage. The shop window needs to work harder, tell a story better and convert sales faster.

Visual merchandising for charity shops

Our goal has always been to establish meaningful partnerships that allow us to support growth and returns on investment. We felt that by providing FREE support for a sector we serve, specifically Charity Retail, would help shops in the heart of communities to gain better local traction.

Charities receiving Visual Merchandising training

Visual Merchandising Training at Acopia

Fun learning with other charities

We’ve opened our doors and invited charities to join us to learn the principles of VM such as how to make better displays with unpredictable donated stock, learn about positioning for impulse purchases, improved space planning, customer service – and loads more. It’s also a great networking opportunity to come along and share and swap ideas with other fellow charities.  For a recent workshop we hosted, we were joined by charities QEF, Naomi House, Haven House, St Christopher’s and St Wilfred’s who all put their new found talents to the test by creating some brilliant displays using stock we had sourced – all from local charity shops!

If you feel like joining us for the day to learn some new skills to take back to your shops – just get in touch using the form below, telling us a little bit more about you and your charity!

 

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Our goal at Acopia has always been to look at procurement and process from our client’s side of the table and how we can establish meaningful partnerships that allow us to support their growth and return on investment. Looking to add value and constantly anticipate our customer’s needs really sets us apart. When focusing on the Charity Retail Sector, we felt that by introducing some free support would really help shops gain traction in their communities. Providing a working knowledge of Visual Merchandising could really help to transform retail spaces to encourage more footfall and purchases.

Getting it right

We are very lucky to be invited to the Hospice UK Retail Steering Group to launch the idea and gain feedback from the group to help tailor the training. It was important to us that the training was to be relevant, provide solutions – as well as being enjoyable! The idea was greeted very enthusiastically by the group and we were delighted to be able to provide a much needed service and collaborative support.

The training was held at our Head Office in sunny Bognor Regis! We had representatives from 8 Charities attend the training which examined the principles of Visual Merchandising such as how to create an impactful window, thinking about the customer journey around the store, positioning products for impulse purchases, space planning, colour blocking – and loads more! It was also a great networking opportunity as attendees were able to discuss and swap new ideas with fellow charities.

Our group were keen to explore how the basic principles could be applied to their own retail spaces and were able to take time with our trainer to discuss specific in-store challenges and look at planning their space better.

Learning into practice

Well dressed mannequins!

The winning table top display! Tables from our Street 76 display Range

Our Street 76 Display Ladder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The afternoon was dedicated to putting it all into practice! The group had lots fun diving into our products from our Street 76 display range and the props (all from local charities!) to create table top displays and dress mannequins. We were keen to replicate the typical products that Charities receive everyday and learn to understand how to make the most of donated product. We rounded off the day with a competition for the best dressed mannequin and display!

We had some great feedback from the day:

“Relevant content and inspirational ideas”  “Great energy from the presenter”  “I have learnt a lot and have some great ideas to take back to our stores”

If you like the sound of some learning more about Visual Merchandising and what benefits this could bring to your Charity retail estate – please just get in touch. We’d love to hear from you and help you to achieve more from your stores!

Call Jake Elkins on 0845 075 6111 for more information and details on our next FREE course.

Visual Merchandising is about creating an inspiration shopping experience designed to maximise sales and encourage repeat visits and purchases. As we head towards Christmas, high street shops have been creating festive Winter Wonderlands to entice customers in-store. It’s the most important time in the retail calendar so competition is fierce when it comes to attracting people through the door not only with incredible shop windows but by creating stunning in-store displays.

The famous Selfridges flagship store created their iconic Winter Wonderland this year before Halloween! More than 500 people had been working on the festive extravaganza for more than a year with 100 working continuously for 24 hours on shifts in the last 8 days. That tells you all you need to know about how important Visual Mechandising, or VD, is to retail.

The  Shop Window

Creating the perfect window display relies on selecting the right on-trend products, props, accessories, graphics, colour, lighting and music  – which all work to stimulate the senses to creating a lifestyle approach that shoppers immediately connect with. It has the greatest effect on impulse buying and influencing purchases. Window displays can immediately convey style, content and price.

Interior displays

Visual merchandising can be used to capture the attention of consumers whilst they are in the store, which are essential in the buying decision-making process. The retailer must consider the customer’s needs during this process and their shopping ‘journey’. Factors to consider include the store layout, store design, point of purchases displays, item display, assortment display and signage. When applied successfully within a store, these factors can work to anticipate the needs of the consumer and support and provide a positive in-store purchasing environment.

Bringing it all together

Shoes in shop window, VM, Visual Merchandising

Great products need great displays – from mannequins that are on-brand with a chosen look or feel – to scaffolding style display systems that scream urban and modernity – there is so much to choose from to engage with the right demographic for a particular brand.

If you want to know more about how to make the most of your products in order to maximise sales – talk to our Fitout team members about creating that all important atmosphere in-store which is bang on trend for your brand!

 

 

 

Selfridges escalator image credit: Susan@dulynotedagain