By the beginning of December most shops and businesses have their Christmas decorations up. Even businesses run by and for people who don’t celebrate the holiday will often have a bit of tinsel, some fairy lights or a small tree up. But is it worth the hassle? And how much effort should you put in?
Battle of the decs
While shops around the country pull out the tinsel, the media is already spotlighting the big London department stores. For these giants, creating a dramatic display is well worth the effort as it’s always repaid in both column inches and visitors. In 2016, Selfridges opened the contest revealing their Christmas window displays in mid-October. With over two months to go before the day itself, the shop skipped Halloween, Bonfire Night, Diwali, Hanukkah and other festivals in favour of Santa. Other flagship London stores have followed suit, and by the beginning of December Oxford Street is awash with colour (mainly red and white), bright lights and dazzling gifts to buy.
The price of non-conformity
In the words of the song “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere you go” and there’s a cost to standing out with bare walls and a business-like attitude. Christmas is seen as a season (not just a day!) of joy, jolliness and japes. It’s a time to relax, be friendly and with strangers a happy day – all things that the average British commuter and hurried shopper avoids the rest of the year. Tinsel, a tree, mince pies on the menu and other festive touches can be welcoming while their lack can make a business seem cold and uncaring.
How much time and effort should you invest?
Few businesses can afford to go to the lengths that Selfridges, Harrods and Liberty do as a matter of course. For most shops, dressing your windows for the holidays is about knowing your target market and displaying your products well. If Christmas is a busy time of year and some of your biggest sellers are seasonal items, then it’s well worth creating a lavish display to draw attention to your wares. On the other hand, if your products aren’t generally given as gifts, you may prefer focus your spend on items you can use year after year.
Finding the right balance
A dramatic shop display can draw in passing trade, but there’s no point in spending your Christmas profits before you’ve made them. Fortunately, a creative window display can be more affordable than you might think. Using household objects, instead of bespoke items, is one way to keep costs low. For example, creating a cosy, Christmas table display might be a great choice for a local food store, while presents under the tree works for almost any business. Using printed posters or canvas backdrops can transform your window space at little cost and with hardly any effort. Add your own creative twist and your windows will be the talk of the town.