Friday, November 7, 2014

Window dressing

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     Small shops and stores have opportunities not available to other small businesses. It's the window on the street.

     Dressed up windows get attention. Drivers slow down when a decorated window catches their attention. Strollers on the sidewalk stop, look, and come inside. But window dressing is much more these days.

     Example: Greta runs an upscale consignment shop specializing in "gently worn" women's fashions. Consignments come from professionals, executives, and women in the entertainment field. Dresses, gowns, outfits, coats, boots, handbags, jewelry and other accessories fill her shop. Greta changes her shop's window at least twice each week. She takes pictures of her window, including closeups showing detail and labels, and posts them on Facebook daily. She does no other advertising, but her windows and Facebook postings draw people from three states. The word is passed around and referrals come in. Items that don't sell within two weeks are donated to local charities. It's a fast-moving, high end operation. And the window is the focus. 

     Example: Lisa runs an upscale gift shop. She offers handmade items from artists and artisans. She changes her shop's windows once each week, highlighting new items. The streets of this small town are full of window shoppers--coming here for holidays, town events, and just to get away from the big cities where they live and work. They have disposable income and Lisa's window dressings pull them into her shop. They browse through pottery and glass items, small furniture and turned wood sculptures, jewelry and fiber art, and hundreds of other items. Frequently, Lisa clears out one window and invites an artist to set up an easel and create a painting--it always draws a crowd. Pictures go up on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media. 

     A shop's windows can provide the marketing focus for a small business. Yes, it's extra work, but what else are you going to do while you wait for the customers to arrive?

     Even in this new age of social media, people still love to window shop. Many years ago, I frequented a small restaurant in Manhattan's SOHO. The kitchen was in the front window. As you walked down the street, you were suddenly confronted with a chef and his helper busily preparing meals--just beyond the big plate glass. People stopped, watched, and were suddenly hungry.

     Turn your window into a marketing focus for your business. If you can capture the interest of passers by, you can draw them inside. It's a marketing tool frequently missed in today's world of small business. Combine that with social media postings, and you have a winner. 


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