Five Holiday Window Do’s and Don’ts

Lippincott’s retail team takes to the streets of New York to discover this year’s best holiday windows
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Posted December 18, 2012
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It’s that magical time of the year with the smell of peppermint and cinnamon in the air, and stores big and small decorating their windows with festive decor from Christmas trees and winter whites to naughty-and-nice wish lists. Smart brands know this isn’t just a time for glitz-and-glam but an opportunity to share their brand story in a unique and compelling way. That’s why Lippincott’s (New York) retail design team took to the streets to explore every nook and cranny for the best and some not-so-brightest window displays. Here, we’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts that should be on every retailers list when it comes to crafting their annual holiday displays:

1. Do focus on creating a compelling design; don't forget to connect the display back to the brand in a way that is authentic to who you are and the personality you project.

Best flashback: Bergdorf Goodman
Bergdorf Goodman put the roaring in the roaring ’20s this holiday season. With immaculate window displays each depicting a scene from the era of excess with flappers, jazz musicians and muses, the luxury retailer once again cemented itself as the affluent, aspirational and inspiring brand.

2. Do be mindful of incorporating all of the elements consistently throughout your environment from windows, façade, etc.; don't ignore your secondary entrances and sides – these touch-points might actually be someone's first impression.

Best use of entire façade: Bulgari
Like Eve was tempted to eat the apple by a snake, customers will be more than tempted to stop by Bulgari during the holidays with its larger-than-life, iridescent serpent wrapped completely around its storefront. After all, the serpent is the brand’s symbol.

3. Do incorporate products into your display in a creative way; don't go overboard with the promotion.

Best Christmas Tree: Christian Louboutin
This year instead of focusing on what’s under the tree, you’ll want the tree itself! Louboutin brilliantly designed a rotating red Christmas tree made completely of shoes with its iconic red heel predominantly displayed.

4. Do incorporate the latest and greatest technology; don't forget that it should be purposeful and truly engaging.

Most interactive: Saks Fifth Avenue
Ready for your 15 minutes of fame this holiday season? Simply go to the 9th floor of Saks and get your picture taken. Your mug will appear in the flagship window displays for the world to enjoy. On the sidewalk, consumers are also part of this customized user experience as the windows interact with each an individual’s movements.

5. Do remember to have fun with your design and present a brand display that entertains and delights; don't forget the end goal is to drive traffic into the store.

Most authentic to the brand: Anthropologie
Anthropologie’s holiday windows created an enchanting environment for you to get lost in, complete with handcrafted and vintage pieces. The winter wonderland flowed seamlessly from the exterior to the interior, intriguing customers to venture inside.

We know it won’t be long before retailers are planning next year’s holiday displays. To make sure you don’t become just another stop on the map where consumers slow down to look, then walk away, think of ways to provide an intriguing invitation that makes consumers want to enter the store.

Leonard Barszap (associate), Liz Baverman (retail design intern), Caroline Tomlinson (designer I), Morgan Thomas (designer II) and Alissa Tribelli (partner) contributed to this blog.