By Kelly Culver
10 Oct 2023


Setting the scene on the high street or within shopping centres, there is a lot riding on any festive retail window display, especially with so much competition from other physical as well as online retailers.

Service Graphics has created festive window displays for some of the UK’s biggest retailers. We offer an end-to-end service across idea generation, design, print, installation and material recycling.

Based on some of our most successful projects to date, here are our top tips for driving sales with window displays at Christmas.  


The run-up to Christmas is typically the busiest time for retailers, and it’s fair to say that your marketing team will be in full swing creating campaigns in every format imaginable.

But when it comes to encouraging footfall to head inside your store and spend, your window display offers one of the best forms of advertisements to exist. 

However many feet of space you have to play with - it’s your chance to captivate and inspire as many people as possible. Much of this requires a keen knowledge of visual communication as a whole, since every millimetre can work to persuade if used correctly.

Importance Of The Christmas Season For Retail Sales

As a retailer, you don’t need us to tell you just how crucial the run-up to Christmas is for your financial forecasting.

But, here are some stats from Statista to further highlight the need to shine at Christmas: 

  • In 2022, the total value of seasonal sales in the United Kingdom was forecast to amount to approximately £82 billion. 
  • The UK has the highest festive retail spend of any country in Europe, amounting to £9bn more than Germany
  • Average Christmas spending per head in 2022 ranged between £1,000 and £1,700, with Londoners spending more than any other region of the UK. 
  • Toys, consumer electronics, clothing, gift cards, cosmetics, books and entertainment are the most popular categories for festive retail. 
  • In 2022, the last Thursday and Saturday before Christmas proved to be the biggest shopping days of the year. 

Therefore, it’s essential to pay attention to your marketing and your festive retail displays are no exception. 

The Power Of Window Displays As A Marketing Tool

Ultimately, a window display will be the first thing that shoppers interact with when passing through a shopping centre or the high street.

There is a term in retail known as ‘traffic stopping’ which quite literally relates to getting the passing public to stop and take notice of a promotion. The most important time for traffic stopping is Christmas, since this is when there is the biggest potential for sales.

But do you know what your biggest traffic stopping tool is as a retailer? You guessed it, your window display!

Research by The Independent found that adults purchase an average of 32 Christmas gifts per year. So, it is clear the audience is there. It’s just up to your retail displays to do the job of bringing the masses in store, while working in tandem with your other marketing materials.

Festive window display ideas

When it comes to Christmas display ideas for a retail store, it can be a challenge to think of new and innovative concepts. For this reason, it can be a good idea to partner with a creative agency such as ourselves here at Service Graphics to produce any artwork for your display.

Some of the avenues to explore can include inspirational concepts like storytelling themes, interactive displays, or cultural narratives.

Here are some ideas which have caught our attention in recent years, with our own work available to view on our Instagram page.


Why keep your festive display just to your window glass, when you could cover the entire building?

That’s exactly what creative agency Kalory created for the Cartier store in Bond Street. As far as grabbing attention goes, a present that can be seen from streets away is definitely the way to do it. What’s more, this giant display feels exactly on-brand for Cartier too.

Like this look? Find out about our building wraps.

Harvey Nichols

Over 2,000 metres of vinyl were used to create this colourful Christmas window display for Harvey Nichols.

Shades of gold, purple and green produced a high-end look, and created the perfect backdrop for an array of stars and baubles to cascade down in front.

As a department store, this type of display really allows for a hint of everything to be displayed, making you consider purchasing items from wrapping paper to other fashionable gifts.

Plus, the visual merchandising team could also interchange items depending on the commercial needs of the store.

John Lewis

Thinking back to the idea of concept narratives, and this John Lewis window featuring Dyson products which have been turned into a reindeer is beyond genius.

After all, it’s not exactly easy to turn everyday household items into things shoppers want to buy at Christmas. With electrical tech not always getting the spotlight in favour of cosmetics, fashion or toys, this is a shining example of how to fuse the theme of Christmas into practically any product category.

Not only does this window feel original, it just works.



Penhaligon’s boast an incredible 150 years in business, which as you can imagine also means a fresh window display for Christmas every year too.

Service Graphics were tasked with creating the above Christmas window display, which embodied the heritage of the brand with plenty of festive spirit. The concept features some stunning use of paper engineering in the form of vintage cars and advent calendars, which had been recreated as large sculptures to hang in the window.

Custom Penhaligon’s perfume bottles took pride of place in some window displays, with the theme of the display also reflected within the in-store festive graphics.

Get in touch to see how we can bring your festive dream to life this Christmas

The science behind effective displays

Unlike at other times of the year, Christmas isn’t going to be a promotion that’s new to people, since we already know people are looking to spend. Instead, what a Christmas-themed display should do is embody your brand personality, to highlight the very best of what makes your products unique.

Going back to the theme of visual communication, there are several visual merchandising principles to consider when conceptualising, designing and installing a festive retail window display. The creative selections made must be done with a commercial mindset.

Colour psychology

If you’ve ever had a chat with our graphic designers here at Service Graphics, you’ll know that colour forms an integral part of our work, particularly in terms of commercial design.

Every single colour has associations attached that make us think or feel in a certain way. 

Furthermore, there’s no such thing as a single ‘red’ or ‘blue’. With how colour is mixed in our printers (CMYK) there are actually thousands upon thousands of colours belonging to any main colour category. Therefore, choosing the perfect shades for every graphic asset is hugely important within colour as well as retail psychology.

Traditional festive colour palettes include the likes of reds, purples, greens, browns and metallic shades. Though, your existing brand identity will also need to be considered as part of any design choices.

‘Fast’ colours such as reds have long been used in retail to drive urgency, particularly when used for sale signage. Though, softer shades can also be incorporated to aid storytelling narratives within the wider sales journey too.

Focal points

Your festive window retail display is going to give our designers a set amount of room to play with - so let’s make it count.

Naturally, you’re going to want your products or services to be the star of the show, whether these are your actual products, or recreated versions that have been supersized. Likewise, your window display could also be digitised to feature interactive elements. 

By spending the time to create mockups and visualisations, this really allows for the brief to take shape in terms of the focal points of the design. In some cases, the entire design could even be built around star pieces within the window display. Or, you could look to incorporate various departments within one harmonious window scene. 

Visual paths

Visual paths within retail design is all about drawing the customer’s eye into the display and ultimately, into the store. This requires a combined consideration of what’s happening outside your store right through to the journey to the checkout.

First of all, the Christmas window should meet user expectations once they head inside. So from a visual merchandising standpoint, this is all about reiterating the theme throughout, such as with POS (point-of-sale) displays.

All of which starts with a fantastic introduction in the form of your Christmas window display. Once we know what this is going to look like, building the rest of your store around this theme is going to be much easier to achieve.

Implementation & execution

The reality of building and installing a Christmas retail window (plus any in-store graphics) is a mammoth undertaking.

It’s good to note that at Service Graphics, we can provide all of the personnel and logistics required to install, maintain and dismantle any Christmas retail displays. Our team is available 7 days a week with nationwide installation.

Some of related our services include: 

  • 3D engineering
  • Digital solutions
  • End-of-use recycling
  • Idea generation
  • Living walls
  • POP/POS displays
  • Shopfit furniture
  • Signage
  • Technical drawings
  • Window dressing

Ultimately, the installation and unveiling of your Christmas window is the final piece of the puzzle, so it’s essential that everything from the construction to the lighting is on point.

Top tips to drive sales with festive window displays

Do - Think about how your display will look at night as well as during the day, especially with shorter daylight hours as we head towards Christmas. We may be able to look at backlit sets or other forms of illumination to ensure maximum visibility at all times.

Don’t - Settle for the same old concept each year. Customers want to feel excited so let’s get creative with some new ideas for this Christmas.

Do - Make a fuss of your Christmas window display within your digital marketing channels, especially with video marketing or social media marketing. You could even send out an email newsletter with an image of your Christmas window to invite shoppers into the store. 

Don’t - Leave your Christmas display to the last minute! It is genuinely never too early to give us a call to get planning your Christmas display.

Visual merchandising Christmas display ideas for retail FAQs

Have any questions about how Christmas window displays are designed or installed? If you’re a UK-based retailer, we’ve answered some of the top queries below.

For anything else, feel free to get in touch by using the contact information at the end of this post.


How Can I Promote My Brand At Christmas?

Visibility on all digital and physical channels really is the key to getting your brand name at the front and centre of your customers’ minds in the run-up to Christmas. Here at Service Graphics, we create various forms of in-store promotional material including festive window displays to help brands be heard above the noise. 

What Makes Successful Retail Christmas Campaigns?

Well, although this post is about festive window displays, let’s think about famous Christmas TV ads for just a second. For example, the John Lewis’ trampoline advert or Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot.

Even if these adverts were from last year, or even five years ago, we remember the adverts that warmed our hearts or made us laugh. So when it comes to creating a successful Christmas campaign in any format, we want to move the audience to do something in response, because the content truly speaks to them.


How To Make A Festive Window Display

Preparation for any festive window display begins several months in advance. The initial discussions need to cover the theme and motive behind this year’s display, basing any decisions on successes and areas for improvement from last year. From there, a concept can be formed and a design created. Installation can take anywhere from several hours to a few days depending on the level of detail involved.

Who Designs Windows For Stores?

It can very much be a collaboration between visual merchandisers, creative agencies, retail window designers and installers. At Service Graphics, we provide an end-to-end service from design to install. Overall, lots of people are involved in the process, due to the amount of detail and design that any festive retail window requires - especially for the larger and prominent locations. 


Christmas retail window displays are incredibly valuable marketing tools, and are something which require a lot of prior thought and planning to get right.

Starting as far in advance as possible allows the maximum amount of creativity to come to the forefront. Considerations need to be made to the types of products which will be displayed, and any overall themes or messaging to be applied.

Retailers can experiment with a range of creative mediums, spanning custom product creations, lighting installations and digital displays. While festive decorations will always have a place in Christmas window displays, it’s also possible to add more outlandish concepts, with the ‘John Lewis Dyson’ window being a prime example. 

Plus, as more retailers aim to become more sustainable, consideration should also be paid to the lifecycle of the materials used, so that any ESG objectives can be met.

Overall, Christmas window displays continue to be something that retailers and shoppers alike hold great affection for, since they represent a timely tradition packed full of nostalgia and meaning. When done well, all this has the potential to generate fantastic results for retailers in terms of increased footfall and sales.