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Visual Merchandising – How to Use Fabric to Entice Customers


Learn how to entice more customers using fabric in your visual marketing displays.


Famous brands in New York, Paris and London draw excited crowds filled with anticipation every holiday season. How do they do it? With iconic window displays. 

Brands like Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's and Tiffany's spare no expense to draw attention and entice shoppers through their doors. And with good reason. Macy’s estimates that 10,000 people walk past its windows each day in New York City.

The holiday season may be when retail stores have the most lavish displays. Still, high-end stores maintain captivating window displays year-round.

Your business doesn't have to be in the middle of downtown Manhattan or London to put your windows to work. If your brand has a physical location, it can capture the interest of prospective customers, enticing them to stop in, shop and make purchases.

But, you only have a few seconds to attract prospective customers' attention. Fortunately, lovely fabrics can add dramatic visual appeal to your windows and a tactile element once customers enter your shop. The dimensional fabric element offers a distinct and stunning look to create a lasting first impression on prospective customers. 

Two Trend-worthy Fabrics 

Many consumers judge your brand on your commitment to business sustainability. Choices you make for visual merchandising can be a prominent way to showcase your corporate values.

One popular trend is using environmentally friendly, natural, sustainable or recycled fabrics. Think hemp, linen, cotton, wool and burlap. If you’re using human-made fabrics in your displays, you can still employ this trend by recycling or repurposing it in a creative way. 

Another favorite trend is luxurious fabrics. Many retailers are choosing to create glamorous, opulent scenes that radiate luxury by choosing bright, sumptuous materials for their displays, such as purple velvet and gold lamé.

The Latest Fabric Trends for Windows and In-store Displays

Your window displays should create visual impact and be exceptional so they'll differentiate your store from the competition. A bold, unified theme attracts potential buyers and engages them into your brand's narrative.

Try to create window displays that are easy to change with the seasons. Fresh themes are essential to your window displays' success.

A bold central theme attracts passersby and engages them into the brand's narrative.

Incorporate Fabric Light Boxes

Fabrics have unusual characteristics that stunningly filter light. Gucci recently used fabric lightboxes for its Hallucination campaign. 

The fashion icon reimagined classic artworks and created them with fabric and light. The windows featured mannequins dressed in designer clothing displayed unusually – most of the figures were facing away from the window as if in an art gallery.

Gucci took it to the next level by posting a scannable QR code on the window glass and inviting viewers to download the Gucci app and experience an animated version of the art.

For Gucci, the addition of a QR code was a targeted marketing campaign to attract younger buyers. Once customers have the app, they'll continue to receive Gucci ads and emails.

The interplay of fabric and light can be used to build your own brand in creative ways. Consider placing fabric lightboxes in your windows or throughout the store to draw customers to specific products or locations.

Add Texture, Color and Drama

Fabric can be used in other ways to add visual appeal to your window and in-store displays. Drape yards of velvet to create a stunning backdrop, or use Kate Spade for inspiration and wrap display pieces in a colorful textured fabric.

Kate Spade's signature Spade Flower Jacquard purse is the focal point for its window display campaign to illustrate the brand's accompanying story.

The brand wrapped PVC display pillars in a debossed fabric that mimicked the design on its signature purse. The lovely pink fabric on the display pillars created a fantastic contrast for the green and white bag perched atop the fabric-covered post.

If you have structural pillars in your space that are less than attractive, try wrapping them in a textured fabric so they become part of your brand vision. Or, use hand-pleated canopies from your ceiling to diffuse the light and beautify your space.

Blog Body Image – Visual Merchandising

Fabric Signs, Wall Coverings and Partitions

Turn your walls and empty floor space into valuable advertising space with signs and wall coverings printed on fabric. 

  • Color is a vital component of visual merchandising and can help influence your buyers’ behavior. If your number one goal is to attract customers, red and orange in your window display will draw the most attention.
  • Innovative window displays and interior visual marketing displays don’t have to cost a fortune, and they don’t need to be complicated. Fabric and paper make ideal materials because they’re widely available, comparatively inexpensive and easy to work with.
  • If you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer, there’s no question you face stiff competition. A creative, targeted window display can elevate your brand, inspire discussion and entertain your customers. Catching the attention of potential buyers with an inspiring theme can have an enormous impact on your foot traffic, brand image and sales.
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