The best ways to display products in retail

Best ways to display products

In this piece, we spoke with David Anthony, looking at the best ways to display products in retail.

The best ways to display products in retail

We will now explore the best ways to display products in retail, showcasing examples and delving deeper into why each visual merchandising technique works.

Sloane Square: Chelsea Chic

“The mannequin is the most important way to display products, particularly for fashion. You can see that apart from Jo Malone, all of these retailers have used mannequins in their window displays. I can also see a natural, floral theme coming through. It’s vital for displays to work and having something like a vase with flowers in the window is often something that goes well in a range of displays. Even Jo Malone has a floral, outdoorsy theme and Club Monaco alludes to this in their design. Flowers create a happy mood. As with any display, it’s important to do this in the right way and there are a few basic display techniques like placement, height, colour coordination and repetition that need to be used when grouping products together.”

Product display takeaways

  • Floral displays can capture attention and create a happy mood
  • Placement, height, colour coordination and repetition help to group the right products together
  • Mannequins are a great way to showcase fashion products

Glee: Gardening Show Exhibitors

“While this is a trade show, all of these brands still want to show themselves off in the best way they can. Height is really important because you only have a certain surface to cover, so you basically need to go upwards with design. One of the more interesting ones is the one with shelving on the corners, almost like windows, which they replicated all the way around. From the outside, it creates a structure so on the inside, you feel like you’re in a store to a degree and you can look through. Different levels play into this, so products are placed lower and higher. You can also see a lot of similarities, for example, the shelves, which are a simple way to display while allowing you to fit a lot of stock on them. The colour scheme is quite simple, black, white and grey tonal colours so when you put your products and stock on top of it, it’s not competing. Even the table setting creates a mood, with more of a show room way to display items.”

Product display takeaways

  • Use different levels to display larger volumes of products in places where space is limited
  • Shelving is a great way to display plenty of products in a uniform way
  • Keeping to tonal colours creates a blank canvas that your products can stand out on

Glee: New Product Showcase

“This was actually done by me. They didn’t have a visual theme, but had selected a mood board of colours and images that they liked. As a new product showcase, the objective was to display these products in the most exciting way possible. It was a pretty blank space and there were five general themes within this space. It was about bringing this all together under one gardening theme, while dividing it into five great areas. To do this, I selected a colour and graphic per area, to give it a look, style and feel. I created a path using a carpet that looked like paving, to create a gardening feel. 

“I wanted a highlight for each space that fitted with the theme, so replicated a shelving system I saw online, giving each panel a graphic. I picked shelves that were more interesting and contemporary, so I could display smaller things on them. I also created groups of like-minded products within a plinth area or on a table.

“For me, once I got the base of how we wanted the stand to look, it was about placement on the day and deciding where the products would go. As a retailer, you’ve got to get the old out of your mind and start afresh. You need to have different areas, but carry it through enough so it makes sense.  Everything should be designed from a public point of view. It’s so important to pre-plan and then make the required changes that you think will work best as you begin the fitting process.”

Product display takeaways

  • Pre-plan in line with the space and then make adjustments as required
  • Create separate areas, but make sure the theme connects each different space
  • Use the props you have available in creative ways, choosing products that display best on each
  • Colour and graphics are a great way to differentiate separate retail spaces

Fendace: Fendi x Versace

“This collaboration between Fendi and Versace is unheard of in the fashion world. It grows both retailers’ brands as you get the crossover of consumers. I like the boldness of the window design and you can see this old-school technique called masking, where you put a curtain at each side, or across the top, or a mask around the window, so it makes the window surface area smaller and you look into this space. They’ve done this masking technique with the vinyls on the outside and it tells a story that makes you want to know a bit more. Inside, the space was very busy and well executed, with a DJ booth and POS area, with a digital sign on the side. They’ve used a lot of cool, contemporary ways to create more interest and movement in the space, which makes you feel you’ve found something exclusive.”

Product display takeaways

  • Masking encourages customers to explore and look more closely
  • Bold window displays can attract attention quickly
  • Collaborations can bring new ideas

Prada: The Symbole

“This window design works because it’s simple and graphic, taking Prada’s triangular logo, changing the colour of it and using this same graphic pattern all the way down the outside of the shop. It really pops and works. This backdrop pushes the attention forwards to the products while making the most of this recognisable pattern, with a cool, contemporary twist. Repetition is an old display trick that comes into play here, showing how effective a set theme with slight differentiations can be. You can also see that the displays are minimalistic, not having many products on show, which works to make them stand out more as they are displayed in different ways.”

Product display takeaways

  • Repetition with slight changes works to create a memorable theme
  • Getting creative with recognisable shapes can be effective
  • Minimalistic displays draw attention to individual products

Harrods: Men’s and Women’s Designer S/S ‘22

“Harrods have created a boutique-looking style with similar stores. Each brand still gives its own personality to the space, even though the overall space looks relatively similar. Looking at Louis Vuitton, they’ve added a curtain and simple dressmakers mannequin to the window, which is simple, but bold, effective and it pops. Then you can see Dior which has a few mannequins and plinths in the window, which are well lit and create a story with their range for the season. You have your backdrop and it’s all about putting your own things into that to make it your own. In the menswear store, they have stop-off spaces and separate areas, while the women’s store utilises aisles more.”

Product display takeaways

  • Simplistic designs often work best
  • Shopfitting can be used to tell a season-themed story
  • Even the largest of spaces can be broken into separate, interesting areas

Best ways to display products

As you can see from these examples, it is possible to make any retail space work for a brand. These types of designs can work for those on all kinds of budget.

David Anthony concluded: “You’ve got to put it out of your mind that these spaces might be luxury retailers or those with big budgets. It’s possible to do the exact same thing with who you are and what you have, regardless of what size of retailer you are.”

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