Producing Excellence in Retail!

What do we appreciate the most when window-shopping?

Could it be the layout of the items; the different colours and decorations used to complement the product.

It could be the recreating of real-life situations or even touching and heartfelt messages used to advertise.

Join us for a brief look at The History of Store Displays.

The sights and sounds of shops are enjoyed by everyone nowadays. Most come out with a great experience.

Yet this wasn’t the case for British retail in the 1800s before the store display revolution.

Interactions between sellers and customers were very straightforward and transactional.

Using billboards and signs to showcase goods – and shopping was less of a leisure activity and always a practical one.

There was a man credited with injecting life and creativity into the shopper experience.

He introduced the art of shop window displays to the UK in 1909.

Impulse POP and the history of store displays

Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridges. He was one of the first to create window dressing displays to attract customers.

The American millionaire’s aim was to “make an art of window display and upgrade window dressing”.

Around this period, the First World War took place (in 1914).

Consequently, the branch used its ‘War Window’ display to show the latest war news.

This included maps and war photographs which became an attraction.

It drew people from all over London to Selfridges just to read its contents.

With the boom of creativity in the retail industry, the use and commissioning of artists to create displays took flight in the 1930s.

Most noteworthy:

As a result. Commissioned for storefront window display designs were high profile artists, such as Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol.

Salvador Dali with the Bonwit Teller design in 1939.

Yet the warning against being too artistic and not creating sales remained.

There’s a beauty to simplicity. In 1962, Liberty in London had a minimal approach which increased their sales.

A few items of baby clothes simply hung mid-air in lifelike positions.

From there:

Window displays transitioned through the 1980s to the 2000s with the technological boom.

Visual digital technology came a bit later, this was used to further vitalise the art of display.

Nike had 8 interactive window displays on show at Selfridges during the 2012 Olympics.

Each window display, powered by Kinect technology, interacted with passers-by in different ways.

Throughout its transformed lifetime, products and brands have remained at the core of store displays.

In conclusion: from the extravagant and creative to the minimal and simplistic, the product has always been able to stand out and tell a story.



Impulse’s first store display – The Focus Spinner.

 Impulse POP and the history of store displays