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Your essential guide to Christmas displays

We recently spoke to Gill Segar, creative director at iCatcha Design & Display, to discuss how retailers can best plan, prepare and carry out their Christmas displays – both in store and online. The festive season is a key time of year for jewellery retail, so ensuring that your Christmas displays attract customers to your store for their Christmas shopping is vital.

What are the top three elements retailers need to consider to get started with their Christmas displays?

  1. Do your research. Find your inspiration.

With Christmas as your main topic, start your research online – whether on Pinterest, Instagram, Shutterstock or Google, there are plenty of sites to help inspire you to get you started with your Christmas theme. Another way to get started when it comes to finding your inspiration would be to walk down Bond Street in London (or any vibrant shopping area near you). Go big and go local – you can also look at local garden centres and shopping centres that are putting up Christmas displays. Don’t underestimate how something simple can help you to find your theme.

  1. Your theme

Once you have your theme there are many aspects that you need to take into consideration to make the theme work within your store. Consider the colours that you’ll be using, the season, feel of the time of year. Immerse yourself in Christmas and make sure that you’re following the theme though within your business’s branding.

  1. Timeline

Go through your calendar, working from the beginning of the idea to the final installation. Plan out your timeline. This ensures you have time to research and find inspiration, that you have time to get your display items together and finally that you have time to put up your display.

Tips for coming up with ideas

Starting with your initial theme and inspiration, sit down and brainstorm with colleagues – excellent ideas can come out of these discussions. Or if you’re on your own, try out a mind map – whilst extremely simple, mind maps can be extremely effective. With your theme in the middle, work through your initial ideas about how to bring the theme to life. This is where you’re developing the practical side of what your display will look like and build out from here. One idea can often lead to another, and you can quickly find yourself with a lot of little lists. With the practical ideas developed at this stage, consider how your ideas could complement and work together. You may only move forward with two lists from your mind map, but this allows you to work through the steps, turning an inspiration from an image into a fully formed idea. It is important to consider how you can make the display and where you will source your products and materials.

Again, at this stage don’t forget to include your branding. When it comes to colours, messaging and how your boxes and packaging play into your display plan, if you’re not going to use your brand colours, use colours that complement them. An important tip is that you’re going to feature your Christmas display on your social media so it needs to be consistent with the branding that you’re already sharing.

Another way of fleshing out your idea would be to take a picture of your window. This gives you perspective and allows you to better see the space that you’re working with. From here you can work out what display items you want in different areas. The design can then be pinned down if you have access to Photoshop or other programs such as Canva. Using the picture of your storefront and props and placing them in your storefront, you get an idea of the shapes, sizes, and spaces you’re working with. Photoshop is a great tool to allow you to see exactly what your shopfront is going to look like before you spend any money. This is how Gill works on ideas and themes.

What do retailers need to avoid?

When planning and setting up your display there is a temptation to use all the display items you have or throw everything at it. For example, if you come up with a village scene you want to be true to that and not be putting in an oversized Santa statue in the window. Staying true to the theme and colours that you’ve picked creates a stronger display (and makes the next steps easier). Keeping to your theme, design, and display, is what creates such a strong impact and wow factor. If you can do this, your window display will be a success.

Keep it clean, with lots of space around the jewellery and fresh-looking good lighting. As touched on above, you don’t want to overwhelm the display. It is important to remember that your product is the key feature in this, and you don’t want to put too much into your window, resulting in the product getting lost. The whole idea of having a window display is to draw customers over to the window, so that they can then start looking at the jewellery, you don’t want to make that too complicated.

When is the prime time to have your Christmas display completed?

The ideal time is usually early November. But this timeline can look different depending on where your store is based. For larger city and town shops, you would look to put up the display in the first weeks of November. For smaller towns and villages, you’re moving more towards the middle of November. Gill recommends that you get a minimum of six weeks out of your Christmas display. Take into consideration your customers and the area that your store is in. One of Gill’s clients, who is also a CMJ retailer, will only put up its Christmas displays after Remembrance Day. And finally, when putting together your Christmas display timeline, be aware that putting a display up in December is too late. A lot of hard work goes into this display so you want to get the most out of it.

What are the top tips for producing your displays?

Try to make it look as professional as possible. If you’re going to use garlands and there is someone in your store that’s good with a glue gun and baubles that’s brilliant, but if not, go to your local garden centre or florist and they will put together a garland or door wreath for you. Whatever you do, the most important factor is for it to look as professional and polished as you can. Your display reflects on your store and products.

Another way to add this professional elevated look to your Christmas display is by adding vinyl to your store window. Something as simple as adding text can dramatically improve your display. Get in touch with a local printer to help put together artwork and vinyl printings. Vinyl can be used on the front or back of your display. It can also add depth, another great way to give your storefront a professional finish.

Bringing the display in store

Christmas is about creating that whole customer experience. You’ve got the display outside, your jewellery is beautifully dressed, you have the customers through the door, and the next most important step is giving them a continued experience. This is something that needs to be done on all levels:

  • The colour themes from your window displays continue in store.
  • Scented candles that smell of cinnamon or Christmas spices.
  • You may be serving mulled wine.
  • Playing Christmas music or carols.

You’re looking to continue the display in store. if your colours are red and green, for example, you’d decorate your Christmas tree red and green. Use an element of your display throughout your store. For example, it could be your boxes wrapped up in beautiful paper with some ribbon strategically placed in your cabinets. You’re looking to bring just an element inside rather than over-decorating the inside and making it look like a grotto. You want to use the continued theme, creating a great customer experience, ensuring they go away and remember the enjoyable time that they had in your shop.

Your tree is also very important. It should be decorated in the same colour combinations as your display. You could include some of your packaging or bags as part of the display within the tree as decorations too. Within your store, Gill recommends getting a good quality artificial tree. Real trees don’t do well in stores with aircon and can end up looking tired.

What do retailers need to do to bring their Christmas displays onto their social media?

It is crucial to continue your display online, ideally on both your social media and website. Many sales, if they’re not done through your website, will be from a customer coming into the store because of what they’ve seen on social media. You need to be able to connect the dots for your customers of what’s going on with your display, what’s going on within the shop, the colours of your display and your branding and then echo this on your social media. Whatever your display theme is, you need to run this through everything, including:

  • Your printed material, whether flyers or posters.
  • Your social media, which could be within your background, header images and posts.

A clean connection between stores and social platforms is increasingly important. Customers will have done their research, looked online and will be aware of your products and what you have going on. If you can connect the visual story, it will create a very strong message.

Final pieces of advice

Start early! Get started with your planning now. Do not leave it until the end of October. If you can spend all of October doing your research, your planning, get your ideas drilled down, and get everything brought in, this will take the pressure off when it comes to installing at the beginning of November.

Include your social media in your timeline plan – when you’ll be launching, what you’ll be posting and how you’ll be including your display in your social media. There is a lot that goes into the plan, but a month gives you a good amount of time to take everything into account to get vinyl made and leaflets printed. Start planning now.

There is no question about how important the Christmas period is for independent jewellery and watch retailers. Our step-by-step guide gives you a process to follow and work through helping to ensure that your Christmas display is a success, whether outside, inside or on your store’s social media.

Share your photos of your Christmas displays with us by tagging us in your posts on social media!

For more information, head over the to iCatcha website.

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