Skip to content
Best And Worst Retail Displays
DotActiv TeamOct 2, 2017 4:55:05 PM6 min read

Retail Displays: The Best and Worst We've Seen

Retail displays play an important part in presenting your products to customers.They are key to effective visual merchandising. Not only that, but they also play a crucial part in leading your customers down the path to purchase. That’s why they need to be treated with care and careful consideration.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that all stores get it right. There are plenty of examples of stores whose displays fail on every level. There are also just as many stores who manage to get it right, and excel in the process.

And that’s where this article comes in. We take a look at a few examples of where stores have gone wrong with their displays, and where stores have gone right too.

Bad Retail Displays have … Bad Retail Displays Have No Point

Original image here

… no point

The whole point of a retail display, or in this case a window display, is to draw your customers in. You want them to come into your store to browse and buy your products. You want them to come in because they saw something appealing enough to want to do that.

Unfortunately, that can’t be done if your displays don’t give them an idea of what they are meant to do, A case in point is the above example. It’s bright and colorful and certainly eye-catching. But having looked at it, what is it trying to say?

There are no words to explain what we’re meant to do. There are also no prices. Even worse, there are no products so what is this store event selling? That means one thing: it’s a colorful mess that does nothing to entice anyone into the store.

Bad Retail Displays Have No Focal Point

Original image here.

… no focal points

On the other side of not having any product in your window display is the problem of going overboard and having too much. Why is this a problem? You only need to look at the image above.

While the wording is clever and humorous, the display lacks any clarity because it is cluttered. It’s a case of trying to say (and advertise) too much. As a result, you don’t know which product is more important in this store or what they are trying to say.

Instead, what this display should focus on is to have one focal point. Either pick the sports theme and run with it or choose the safari theme and build a display around it. Don’t do both.

As many retail experts will tell you, a good and effective retail display has one focal point. Remember, when your customers look at your display, they’re not going to stare at it. More often than not, they’ll glance at it. And that glance should be enough for them to pick up what you’re wanting to say and entice them to walk into your store.

Bad Retail Displays Have Too Much Merchandise

Original image here.

… too much merchandise on them

While the first two examples focused exclusively on problems with window displays, they are not the only displays that you need to look after. For example, say you’ve seen an outstanding window display that entices your customers in. Great. But that’s not where your job ends.

In fact, getting them into your store is the easy part. Making them buy is a whole different story on its own. And it’s not going to help if your retail displays work against you.

A case in point is the above image. There is far too much merchandise on this display to a point that it’s threatening to fall off. How is your customer expected to shop this display when it looks like this? It’s impractical. What happens if someone manages to knock a pile onto the floor? And don’t think it won’t happen.

A better idea would be to decrease the amount of merchandise on this display and either move it to another display alongside this one or, if you don’t have enough space, put it in your stockroom.

If you’re trying to get rid of excess stock, a dumpbin with signage indicating that you’re selling them at a reduced price could work.


Want to build retail displays that make an impact and get people interacting and buying your products? You can with a free trial of DotActiv software. Download your free 14-day trial of any software edition and get started today.


Good Retail Displays ...

Good Retail Displays Tell A Story


Original image here.

… tell a story

A great retail display tells a story that entices your customers into your store to find out more. Of course, a story isn’t much of a story if it doesn’t have a theme to accompany it.

As pointed out by Humayun Khan, a retail content specialist at Shopify, it’s important that when you start with a story, it must be based on a theme. “What you want to do is start with a story based on a theme and then use your storytelling prowess to turn it into something more sophisticated with the products and props you decide to use,” he writes.

That said, this story isn’t limited to your window displays. As displayed in the image above, you can include a story and theme within your store as well. In fact, it’s encouraged.

What it does is it draws your customers in, enticing them to not only stay longer but to interact with your products to a point that they’ll buy them. Also, a fun element within your store can go a long way to enticing people to buy and is a great talking point for your customers.

Good Retail Displays Have Strong Branding

Original image here.

… have strong visuals and branding that draws people in

The sign of a good retail display is one that can inform your customers about the product without them having to look a second time.

A perfect case in point is the above - the display is designed in such a way that there is no uncertainty about the brand. There is also no doubt about the product that it is selling.

An added bonus is that it’s bold and bright visuals make it stand out. That a good thing, considering that colour not only affects mood but has a direct psychological impact on shopping behaviour.

Good Retail Displays Have Good Signage

Own image.

… have good signage to draw customers in

A good retail display is effective when there are a number of things in place. For example, products must be packed in a logical order, there is good lighting, and there is a clear distinction between displayed products.

That’s what you’ll find in the above example. As a result, you know exactly what to expect when you walk up to this display. You also know where to look for a particular product upon entering an aisle.

An added bonus for the products under the sign is that they’ll likely make more sales than those alongside them. In fact, in having this signage, it’ll make it that much harder for the brands alongside it to compete since there is nothing to draw the eye to them.


Regardless of the type of display you place in your store, you need to ensure that it’s one that entices your customers to buy. If it doesn’t do that, you’re wasting your store space


DotActiv Team

The DotActiv team comprises category management experts lending their retail experience and knowledge to create well-researched and in-depth articles.