May 14, 2017

When I was in retail for over 20 years, one of the most important things to get right in an attempt to convert potential customers into actual sales was the shop window.

The reason that the shop window was so important was because the most difficult part of the whole process of getting potential customers to buy your product is for them to step over the threshold. In other words get them in the front door. If they walked past your shop door there was no way they would buy a product.

Women looking in a shop window

The “shop window” in more recent times has changed for many businesses. High street retailers still rely on the actual window of their premesis, however they also need to look at their online “shop window” which can reach people who do not physically pass their bricks and morter premeses.

There are many more businesses these days that don’t have a physical presence on the high street at all as their business is 100% online. For these online businesses their shop window can take a few different forms. For them their shop window is whichever method they use to first attract a potential customer.

Shop window minimalist

If you think of the high street shop window, you are attempting to catch the eye of the passer buy who may or may not have any intention of shopping with you. Therefore your high street shop window needs to be:

  • Eye-catching – will stop people in their tracks. Some might be minimalist and others full of colour and products
  • Informative – Prices clearly in view
  • Clean – no dead flies or dirty glass
  • Up to date – changed regularly
  • Enticing – attractive and relevant to the audience and will make them step through the front door for more information

On Line Shop Window

In recent times, and for the foreseeable future, more and more people are shopping online. Whether you are selling a product, a service or simply supplying information your online shop windows must have the same qualities as above and might include some or all of the following:

Woman shopping online


Your website is often the first place potential customers are introduced to your company. Ask yourself if your website is all of the above. Obviously a clean website doesn’t mean checking for dead flies however look for virtual cobwebs. Is it looking old and a bit dreary?


People get bombarded with emails every day, most of them unwanted. So you need to make your newsletters stand out so that the first impression means the reader wants to read more. Make sure your newsletters are current, informative and relevant to your audience.


If your first point of contact with your potential customer is an e mail then this is almost certainly a one time opportunity to impress or lose this customer. Keep your e mail informative. Make sure it is not too long winded. and for goodness sake make sure you spell check and that your grammar is right.

I always encouraged every member of staff to stop outside their place of work before the entered for the first time each day, and look at the window with the eyes of a potential customer. Then to report to their manager how the window made them feel. Was it eye-catching, informative, clean, up to date and informative? I suggest you do the same with your virtual shop window, your website, newsletters and e mails.

Just like a high street shop window, your online shop window has one shot at attracting a potential customer in through the front door.