Winning windows 2017

With festive shopping reaching its peak, ABA tested some key players to see how their window displays are faring. We’ve made five interesting discoveries.

fat face

topshop

1. Windows underplayed

Consumers’ overarching verdict is seasonal store windows 2017 are underwhelming. Many retailers have gone with the ‘same old’ looks whilst other have spoiled what could have been good windows by slapping discount messages over the top. This low-key impression is particularly evident in smaller shopping centres. Putting best foot forward is particularly tough for brands with large estates and this can only get harder as they have to spread their energies across many communication channels.

new look

lk Bennett

oasis

debenhams

debenhams

2. Good stories win

Fortune favours the brave. Shoppers' most-liked windows often featured relatively little product. Instead these brands put an emphasis on a theme or narrative – trusting in the truth that humans love and recall good stories. In the case of Debenhams, this worked particularly well as it linked into its romantic ‘You shall’ TV advertising campaign.

H&M

selfridges

H&M

neal's yard

M&S

3. 'Christmas sorted' a safe bet

Filling the window with lots of product and adding Christmas sparkle is by far the commonest strategy. Done well this does deliver the emotional benefit of control i.e. ‘We’ve sorted Christmas for you’ – something, naturally, much appreciated at a hectic time of year. At their best, this approach is based around a loose theme, as we saw M&S (Paddington), but the story is very much subordinate to the products so doesn't ping out like the story-first windows.

john lewis

the white company

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ted baker

zara

4. Always a place for specialness

No one can resist a bit of indulgence at Christmas, and windows that capture this did well in our survey. Choice of colours and curation is really important here. Ted Baker with its high-investment, cinema-style window nails this, whilst brands like Zara and Hotel Chocolat also do a good job. 

5. Belonging left out in the cold

Given that Christmas is all about togetherness, it’s surprising to see how few retailers put this message to the fore in their windows. Here are three examples of attempts at playing to Belonging. Shoppers didn't feel any of these really nailed it. With Body Shop, the peace message was swamped by party imagery. Primark's 'friends together' left one friend out and New Look's large text was overlooked without supporting pictures. This seems an opportunity missed when many of the last decade’s most iconic Christmas campaigns have focused almost entirely on Belonging – think John Lewis’ Monty, Sainsbury’s no-man’s land truce and Coca-Cola’s ‘holidays are coming’.

body shop

primark

new look

See the Winning Windows of 2017

The 5 new ways of Christmas

3 ways shoppers are getting in the party spirit

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