The “secret” to attention-grabbing window displays in an age when many consumers are walking by stores, eyes glued to their phones, or driving by your store, distracted by a growing to-do list? Don’t focus on a single product. Instead, create a dream-worthy theme.
That’s according to The New York Times, which recently charted the history of the holiday window with a front-page story in its Sunday Styles section. The story comes on the heels of window unveilings of prominent New York department stores, including Saks, which shut down Fifth Avenue to give customers a star-studded first look at its “Theater of Dreams” holiday vignettes.
“November and December are the biggest months in retail and the windows help suck customers in, not with product so much as scene,” wrote Matthew Schneier for The Times. “Even for those who can’t make it to the windows, those themes radiate outward, setting the tone for the season; in store, online, in mailers and on all important social media, a 360-degree wallop of shoppable holiday spirit.”
“The competition is the most intense it is all year,” agreed Jamie Nordstrom, the president of stores for Nordstrom. Nordstrom said his company already is planning for the holiday window it will unveil for the 320,000-square-foot store it’s opening next year on Broadway and 57th Street. (“We’re pulling out all the stops,” he told the Times.)
The high-end and high-profile displays this year are occurring against the backdrop of some more dreary retail news: Macy’s has closed 130 stores since 2015; Sears, in bankruptcy, has announced plans to close more than 180 Sears and Kmart stores.
Read more about this year’s high profile displays and the history of splashing holiday window vignettes.
Mary Westbrook is the editor in chief of Floral Management.