Optical Ambiance

Have you ever walked into a store and been completely transformed by the ambiance? The smell, the vibe, the lighting…It’s all completely your vibe. It’s almost as if all the things you loved were perfectly curated, then wrapped with the most incredibly gorgeous packaging you have ever seen. Wrapping paper designed by gods, with a note that resonates so deeply within your soul it renders you completely speechless. I mean, who are these people, and how do they know what we like?! This mind reading madness is actually called, Visual Merchandising or as I like to call it in our industry, “Optical Ambiance” and it is… Evvverythiiing!!

Highly skilled people are paid millions of dollars each year to know what we like, and how to present it to us. Visual merchandising if used properly, is an extremely lucrative tool for optical boutiques. It helps create that magical ambience by capturing clients through the use of visual guidance and story telling. Although there are many different facets of visual merchandising, window displays are one of the most important tools for opticals. So, let’s un- pack this shall we? In my opinion these are the seven most important things to consider when creating an effective but killer window display.

Visual merchandising if used properly, is an extremely lucrative tool
for optical boutiques.

Branding

Every optical shop has its own brand identity, and it’s hugely important to honor that. For example, If your shop’s aesthetic is “Modern and Simplistic” then make sure your windows reflect that same DNA. Focus on intentional, streamlined designs and do not become too cluttered or busy. If your space is “Uptown/SOHO Eclectic” then keep things interesting and unique. You want to mimic the style of your shop and make sure it is consistently recognizable to your clientele.

Space

Figure out how to use your space effectively. If your window space is large make sure you speak to that and give it the coverage it deserves to be effective. If it’s small don’t over clutter it. Much like a human…if a person has a petite frame don’t overwhelm them in huge clothing. If a person has a larger frame don’t squeeze them into small clothing. You want that space to feel proportional and well balanced.

Eye Level Traction

Most of you have probably heard that merchandise that is displayed at eye level gets the most traction, and it’s true. If you want to showcase a particular brand and increase its sales you will display it at eye level. This is naturally where your clients eyes will roam, and this is also why it’s so important to continually rotate your product around.

Flow

Much like, “Eye Level Traction” flow is equally important in a window especially if your windows are larger. Think about the flow of a sentence for a minute…it effortlessly starts from left to right and our minds naturally process it without hesitation. A window display is similar in that you want that flow to happen gracefully. If your window is larger don’t forget about the top half of that space. You can very easily hang things of interest from the ceiling. Ideally you want the “sky to meet the earth” so to speak. So many times I see window displays that have no top flow, so remember to marry the top to the bottom of your window especially when designing a larger window space.

Lightning

There is nothing more heart breaking than seeing a perfectly designed window display fall captive to the shadows of poor light, yet it happens to almost every optical boutique. Lighting is tough, and eyewear is especially challenging because it needs front facing light to illuminate it. Without front facing light, eyewear will usually cast shadows and appear black regardless of its color. Although it depends on the optical, track/gallery lighting can sometimes be a solid solution to this problem. I would advise setting up a meeting with a lighting specialist to talk over your options, as each optical is different.

Color

The expression of color is massive so use it to your advantage. As an Ørgreen Rep, I frequently have accounts that will order bright colored fuchsia and yellow frames with the intention of pulling clients over to their boards. Why not use color in the same manor with your windows?! Obviously it needs to have balance and purpose but if you are deliberate about your color pairings and use that strength and intensity to your advantage, it will deliver a bold curiosity and in my opinion that is a solid win! Keep that seasonal magic alive and don’t be afraid to mix unlikely colors. Try pairing an Autumn rust with aqua, or deep goldenrod with magenta. As long as it effectively expresses the story you are telling and stays within your brand identity, shoot for the moon.

Creative Exploration

Don’t be afraid of trying new things. Unless you have hired a marketing/merchandising company that installs your windows for you(which I doubt is the case for most of you) you’re going to have to spread your wings. Some things will fall flat I guarantee it, but it’s within that exploration that you will find your rhythm and success. If you are not naturally creative, lean into your team and find the individuals that have these skill sets and play to their strengths. That said, try not to implement too many, “craft projects gone bad” moments. I joke, but I also cringe at the thought of a craft bomb explosion. Research your designs and have a specific, and intentional plan in play.

Lastly, follow different brands, designers, and companies that continually produce solid window displays and learn from their expertise. Honestly, you can grab inspiration from just about anywhere these days. Some of my favorite inspired designs have come from, Anthropologie, Interior Design Magazine, Design:Retail, and VMSD (Visual Merchandising Store Design) Magazine. The most important thing you can do for your window displays is to keep delivering fresh, and interesting designs. If you keep your clients engaged, they will keep stepping in your optical boutiques. It’s curb appeal, baby…If you build it, they will come!

If this article resonated with you, or if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to her.

Article written by Tamara Stockdale, Midwest Account Manager at Orgreen Optics

Find her here: LinkedIn | Email | Instagram

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