Monday, February 10, 2014

'Your store window is your face'... some great window display advice from Doctor Bob BALLOONS UNLIMITED

You should never underestimate the power of a great display, whether a store window or exhibition!
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Last Christmas many of us were completely wowed by the Christmas window display that was created by Bob Armstrong CBA and his team at Dr Bob BALLOONS UNLIMITED in BARRY, WALES.

Christmas Window display

The window was filled with a magical selection of balloons, everything from a Tin Solder, Christmas tree's, Elves, snowmen and of course Santa Claus! I can imagine small children with their parents peering through to see all the beautiful displays... a true winter wonderland of excitement!
But these displays are not merely to create a display, each and every item on display is something that can be purchased by their customers, what a fantastic way to show off your skills!

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Bob Armstrong (Dr Bob) and Claire Cummings, Operations Manager & Decor Advisor at Dr Bob BALLOONS UNLIMITED, who have very generously offered some fantastic advice and tips on how they organise their window display campaigns.
On average we plan our (general/everyday) window displays two weeks in advance ensuring we have the correct stock level and material required. Seasonal displays such as Valentines, Mother Day, Christmas, Halloween, we discuss the importance and select our focal displays and decide what we want to gain from each celebration, usually planning 6 weeks before. This allows us time for design, preparation and to obtain our product. We do however remain flexible for when need be so we are always prepared to change windows mid promotion depending on reactions and new displays.

Displaying products is important a (customer/client) will not have the same vision as a designer. You can explain what displays will look like but only a small percentage of clients will be able to follow your ideas.
We have several portfolios on display showing a wide range of arrangements, centre pieces, walk out decor, mini characters and in addition we have I pad and large screen for consultations.
Although a picture paints a thousand words it will not have the same impact as a physical display. It is very true the customer will buy what they see.

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Princess Design by Doctor Bob
Seeing a design creates the wow factor and it then sells itself. We always ensure we have displays in the shop to also support the window design. I think it is important to be able to demonstrate all the basis of learning including scale proportion, colour, balance and how elements can interact through your designs/ displays to the customer.
We are fortunate to have a large window space to display all our unique colourful designs. It is not a necessity to have a large window to impact on customers this was proved when I (Bob Armstrong) did a tour with Qualatex to stores across the country for our Window Display Course. It is what is in the window and how you present it that is important.  We always try to follow a theme throughout the window which helps to create balance and presents a pleasant picture to the customer.  
Customers, clients and other businesses pay us many compliments on our window displays.  Many times they travel just to see the special displays. It takes discipline and patience in planning a good window display.  There are many factors that have to be considered, ie the time of year , winter months with it's cooler temperatures, the helium displays do not last as long and similarly summer can create too much heat causing high oxidation, occasionally balloons will burst in extreme heat ruining displays! The location of the window has its own affects, North or South facing and finally  the depth of the window will also make a difference as to what can be seen from outside with reflect, but all of these factors can be overcome. 

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Knight by
Pricing is something we never put onto our displays in our window,  we keep the pricing within our portfolio book. When are designs are seen in the window on display it draws the customer in to ask a price which allows us to talk through the design the customers needs and the many different add on options or alternatives available,  more often than not increasing your sale. 
When new customers enquire about a foil balloon and prices we usually present them with a series of questions about their requirements and their recipient's followed by showing examples of our displays.  8 out of ten customers will purchase a design from our window display. 
We also have a weekly and monthly special which has proven to be very successful.  These are based mainly on birthday and wedding designs.  They hold different price ranges from high to mid value, it really is surprising how good the outcome can be!
Customers as mentioned previously do buy what they see. Having good and well maintained displays is essential. It is part of our daily task to check our displays to renew them re-inflation or repair and if the time doesn't present itself immediately the individual display will be removed into our workroom until we are free to give it our attention.  The exterior and interior of our window is always freshly maintained,  first impressions do count.
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When designing a window firstly think of what theme you need,  how long it will need to be on display for, will it require much maintenance,  what will the cost be, what is the estimated return on the displays you are selecting for your display,  will you be using helium how much will you need and what other materials you require. I always think of my window as  picture. As a customer looks Into my window I like them to then notice lots of detail. If you have a need to split your window space it does have to be in two distinct half's.  
Balloon Display by Doctor Bob BALLOONS UNLIMITED

Think of your background and your base. Use fabrics that will enhance your designs. Use various levels in your window, placing displays at different heights allows you not only to use the space in your window to its full potential but also makes it more interesting for the customer. Depending on the theme bring in other materials to create more interest and help create an environment for the displays. I use products from local businesses such as local toy shops, gift shops etc to help enhance my window and also helping promote their products.  Using different and appropriate materials alongside your displays can really make your window stand out in your high street. One Christmas I created a snow fall within the window,  using small polyester beads blowing in the center of the window which was very eye catching, caught the customers attention and got the children excited, I have also used a bubble machine for an under water themed window again attracting both adults and children alike. This way they are sure to remember your store!People ask me where I get my inspiration from and the answer is,  other shops including department stores, films, books everything that is all around us. I always keep a range of materials and goods to use year after year, as long as they are in keeping with the trend. Then work with  combination of everything.  If it helps create yourself a mood board. The most important thing to remember is 'your window is your face'. 

I love Bob and Claire's window displays, they are truly stunning and each one tells such a fantastic story filled with inspiring ideas and designs to wow their customers! 
I hope that their success has inspired you to plan for your next seasonal event and create an exciting and vibrant window display!

Happy Ballooning!



Unknown said...

Great article! Every business with a storefront should learn from Bob. Proper planning can increase sales, make a better impression and catch the attention of more customers.

Sue Bowler (Marston-Weston) said...

Thank you Thad, I love Bob's windows, they are so magical and yes, they do increase sales!
Happy Ballooning!