Visual merchandising in a digital era: Why Instagram-friendly store window displays matter
By WGSN Insider

“The key is aligning interior design, store windows and overall merchandising strategies with Instagram,” says WGSN Visual Merchandising Editor Claire Dickinson

Jan 05, 2016

3 photos

The store window; much like the old adage that eyes are the window to your soul, the store window has always been ‘window’ to soul of the retailer. Peering in through the window, consumers can tell immediately what the brand/ retailer/ department store is all about. In London, you have the big name department stores: Liberty, Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Selfridges and in New York you have Bergdorf Goodman, Macy’s, Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales. Their exterior facades and shop windows are almost as famous as what’s in store.

But visual merchandising is changing in this Instagram age, and to reflect this shift never has the shop window been more important. Instagram is the ultimate visual tool for brands, retailers and even new start up stores to get their brand message further, wider and more global, making their store a must-visit destination.

For brands encouraging in-store photos and getting shoppers to share brand content with their contacts and other social media users is key. However, the stores that are doing it best realise the importance of thinking beyond the basic product shot or the chelfie (changing room selfie).

“The key is aligning interior design, store windows and overall merchandising strategies with Instagram.”

In this social media age, hashtag trends matter as well as square-ready formats and store window displays that change constantly to keep up with consumer demands. In my role as Visual Merchandising Editor at WGSN some of the best examples I’ve seen recently include:


Cos, recently teamed up with Brooklyn studio Snarkitecture to create a pop-up store with cut-out garment silhouettes that consumers could stand in and snap a photo.


Designer Yusuke Seki who stacked thousands of plates, cups, saucers and bowls on top of one another to form an elevated display platform in Japanese ceramics store Maruhiro. The 25,000 pieces of crockery, which were all discarded due to imperfections, were filled to the brim with concrete, converting them into bricks, which are safe enough to walk on.

WGSN_Podolyan Store_Instagram

The Podolyan store in Kiev, which had an interior grid window featuring changing product, so that people walking past would stop and take a picture of it. This square-ready design aligns perfectly with Instagram’s format and acts as a visual prompt in-store and on the street, providing a shareable call-to-action for consumer.

These examples show that VM in a digital age is pushing retailers to be more creative and get immediate feedback from consumers. Personally I think it’s a very exciting time to be reporting on this retail strategy.

For more on the full Instagram-Ready Retail report which looks in-depth at Visual Merchandising and Store Design Trends, join WGSN.

Like this? Follow Claire here.

Photo credits: Snarkitecture, Domus, Yusuke

Visual merchandising in a digital era: Why Instagram-friendly store window displays matter

Please enter a valid name
Please enter a valid name
Please enter a valid email address
Please enter a valid email address
Please enter a valid website
Please enter a valid website
Add a comment...
Please enter a valid comment

StudioXAG, the studio behind your favourite shop windows
Aug 10th, 2016

[…] for Barneys, who created some of the most talked about windows for the US retailer. And in the age of Instagram, visual merchandising has become even more important. One studio that is owning the VM game right […]

Vähittäiskaupan pyhä kolminaisuus - Yanca Oy Ltd
Jul 18th, 2016

[…] Keskiössä on asiakas, jonka ostopolku tulisi tehdä mahdollisimman mielenkiintoiseksi ja helpoksi. Tuotteesta tai palvelusta on tarjottava riittävä määrä informaatiota, jotta asiakas pystyy helposti vertailemaan tuotteita ja tarjoajia. Digitalisaatio mahdollistaa uusia tapoja tarjota informaatiota asiakkaalle, esimerkkinä ThingLink jonka ansiosta kuvista saa interaktiivisia ja asiakastiedon -ja palautteen kerääminen onnistuu helposti vaikkapa Cahtcherilla. Esillepanot kannatt

The new Sonos store wants you to feel at home while shopping
Jul 15th, 2016

[…] average bricks and mortar offering. With a keen focus on crafting an interactive environment and Instagram worthy visual merchandising, the new Sonos store design is created to resemble your home. A selection of pods that live inside […]

Cool retail concepts: London's Bluebird pop-up summer store
May 20th, 2016

[…] you work in retail you know that the store experience has never been more important. The industry is changing thanks to the growth of e-commerce, and so […]

3 reasons we love Harvey Nichols' new menswear department
May 12th, 2016

[…] mentioned on the WGSN blog before about the importance of innovative visual merchandising in a social media age, and Harvey Nichols has taken this into […]

The Daily Poke: Picture perfect | The Wall Blog
Mar 05th, 2016

[…] Via. WGSN […]

Professor Kathleen Colussy
Jan 08th, 2016

Have followed you since you began! Great insight – have visited you London offices several times with my students. Also used to write for WGSN. Outstanding company !!!!

Subscribe to WGSN

Experience the leading provider of consumer foresight.

Related stories

Glossy Forum, organized by Digiday
1 photo
Why the motivation for going to a retail store has changed

9 photos
Cool retail concepts: London's Bluebird pop-up summer store

1 photo
Is creativity dead? How big retailers are adopting a start-up mentality

Lush greenery at Milan Design Week 2015

conversational commerce
2 min
What retailers can learn from museum apps