The first real pop culture reference to store window design (that I can recall) was in the late ‘70s TV show, “Rhoda,” in which Mary Tyler Moore’s best friend/neighbor Rhoda Morgenstern worked as a window decorator at a local Minneapolis department store. She was known for her bold designs which eventually led her to a job decorating department store windows in Manhattan. Even today, with all the froth around visual online excellence and its role in digital commerce, nothing has taken the place of the drawing power and impact of a beautifully draped store window.
I draw you attention to what is, in my opinion, one of the consistently best window displays around: the ever-changing, attention-getting one at Selfridges & Co. on Oxford Street in London. Selfridges’ windows do more than draw attention with their exquisite, offbeat visual simplicity, they encourage you to enter the store and continue your experience across their many specialty departments. The window display works because even with its detail and sophistication, passersby immediately get the message: its spring, come buy yourself a new dress and your mum Easter lilies. Contrast this with a visual experience that offers art yet confuses the buying message, resulting in little more than sour eye candy.
Going one step further, Selfridges carries its theme of a snappy yet directed design to its website. Right up front—the 50 top spring dresses, curated by the store’s buyers with the ability for a shopper to customize her choices by designer, color, size and price. Without knowing the particulars of Selfridges’ digital commerce strategy, my hunch is returning shoppers are greeted with personalized recommendations based on previous purchases and personal shopping data. In addition, the British retailer wisely knows the value of personalized delivery options and promotes its “click and collect” program (more common in the UK than in the U.S.) on its landing page. Such a tactic will encourage customers to head to Oxford Street (or other location) and be tempted to find more things to add to their carts.
Digital marketing pundits are quick to point out how bricks and mortar retailers need to adapt to a connected, social, always-on, always-social world of mobile consumers. Looking at the best practice of a world-renown retailer, such as Selfridges, and taking those lessons as an approach to improve the design and impact of a digital commerce campaign proves that older dogs can still teach digital pups a thing or two.
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