First impressions count and many potential customers will first encounter your brand when they walk by your storefront, making it one of your most powerful marketing tools. These 10 tips – inspired by some of our favourite storefront displays in Downtown Oakville – will help you wow passersby, drawing them from the sidewalk into your store.

Celebrate the season – Tocca Finita’s storefront is a perfect example of incorporating seasonal elements into your storefront display. In addition to showcasing their product, they decorate their storefront with summery wisteria in spring and summer, and illuminated decorative balls for the holiday season. If a customer sees a gorgeous display like this, they’ll undoubtedly want to see what your store looks like inside.

Establish a focal point – try this trick – look at your window from outside and use painters tape to mark eye level from the street. That way, when you’re merchandising, you’ll have a visual cue that lets you know where customers will be looking when they pass by. This is where you should place your key pieces.

Add props – fun props like the kites currently featured in Must Boutique’s window will catch the attention of passersby. For bonus points, reach out to one of your neighbours for merchandise you can use to dress up your window. This is a great way to support other businesses in Downtown Oakville and adds to the community vibe.

Tell a story – your window can be used to do more than just display product. What message do you want to share with customers? When the road outside of Barrington’s was under construction in 2019, they incorporated caution tape and construction gear into their display. Not only was this a clever way to catch customers’ attention, it also served to communicate that Barrington’s was not only open for business, but also staying positive, during construction.

Share key information – think of how many times customers walk by your store when you’re closed, like after a late night dinner. In addition to your store hours and details on any promotions you’re running, have your website and social media handles visible so customers know how to connect with you online.

Avoid clutter – focus on a few key pieces that are a good representation of your current product offering.

Keep it fresh – change your window displays as often as possible. You don’t have to do a full overhaul every time – even just swapping out one or two items every few weeks is enough to keep people’s attention.

Add lighting – particularly at night, this is a great way to highlight the focal point of your window display. Avoid hanging lights directly above product, as this will create shadows.

Keep your storefront clean – look beyond your window. Is there litter outside your store? Are nearby garbage bins overflowing? Have you left your waste bins sitting out on the sidewalk? Make the area around your store pleasant for pedestrians by reporting these issues to the BIA office, ServiceOakville (excessive litter, weeds, graffiti, road/sidewalk issues) or Halton Region (dial 311 to report illegal dumping of furniture or garbage bags).

Measure performance – how can you gage whether your window displays are effective? Sales won’t tell you that, as there are other factors that play into customers’ purchasing decisions. However, you can measure the number of people who come into your store and note if certain displays yield an uptick in traffic. By tracking this data, you’ll have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to creating displays that resonate with your target customer.