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A Glorious Return

While the retail industry continues to grasp at a sense of normalcy, 2021’s windows were bright beacons in a tumultuous year




ARGUABLY, WINDOWS ARE one of the most straight-forward – not to mention tried and true – ways to reach your audience. These spyglasses have been an effective method for literal generations, and the mission surrounding window dressing has mostly remained the same: Draw shoppers in.

This past holiday season, creativity abounded after yet another year riddled with pandemic-related woes. Much like in December 2020, displays in 2021 sought to establish renewed hope for the industry and shoppers alike. From classic themes with bright baubles and twinkling lights to over-the-top displays exploding with color to those allowing audience interactivity, windows didn’t disappoint.

Retailers like TSUM Kyiv in Kiev, Ukraine, tickled the senses of and engaged onlookers through technology. Utilizing augmented reality (AR), shoppers could interact with 3-D objects within the windows, and voice recordings for each featuring local celebrities played in the background; special scents, like the aroma of cinnamon and Christmas cookies, helped fuel the Nutcracker-inspired narrative.

Even retailers like Amazon got in on the fun, opening a “pop-up window” in New York’s SoHo that ran from Dec. 4 until Dec. 12. Visitors could ask, using the company’s Alexa technology, to turn on festive lights or play music, among other commands, to transform the windows in front of them.

Outdoor installations made another comeback this year as well, allowing VM to go beyond the glass to reinvigorate pandemic-weary shoppers.

From the simple to the tech-driven, check out some of the jaw-dropping displays from around the globe in the gallery below.


Drawing on more than 125 years of history serving the retail design market, VMSD magazine provides retail professionals with the most up-to-date, innovative retail design ideas and industry news through its industry-leading magazine, website, social media channels and bulletins.



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