Sell more this Christmas with these 8 visual merchandising tips

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Put them in the spending mood

UPDATE: This visual merchandising post was originally published on 4 November 2019 and updated on 11 December 2020.

With shops and high streets now open across Australia, store owners are getting creative to lure gift-givers through their doors. These eight visual merchandising tips can help you attract, engage and motivate your customers towards making a purchase.

Visual merchandising is the practice of mapping out the overall in-store design, from displays to shelves and signage.


Chances are you’re already doing a lot of merchandising without even realising. But when it comes to the festive season, your visual merchandising needs to reach a whole new level of excitement. Here are eight ways to do just that.

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8 ways to boost your store’s visual appeal

There’s a lot of planning and organisation behind those enchanting displays. Use the 8 tips below when designing your Christmas visual merchandising strategy to ensure they spread good cheer.

  1. Start with a festive window display.
  2. Show them the discounts.
  3. Bring back the old and nostalgic.
  4. Display complementary items together.
  5. Have gift cards front and centre.
  6. Go green.
  7. Walk the floor and shop your shop.
  8. Put Santa’s little helpers to work.

Let’s dive right into our list of merchandising tips.

1. Start with a festive window display

Front windows of small shop decorated for Christmas
Photo: Amelie & Niklas Ohlrogge on Unsplash

Brick-and-mortar stores have a big advantage over online shops in their ability to create the perfect Winter Wonderland experience. It’s almost impossible to replicate this feeling in an online store.

No wonder people crowd around the windows of department stores such as David Jones — because the visual merchandising is just so beautiful.

A festive window display is like a ‘welcome mat’ for a wondrous shopping experience. It tells a visual story, so make sure you have an eye-catching window display to entice shoppers to enter your store.

Related: Guerilla marketing: Holiday marketing goes rogue

2. Show them the discounts

Dog wearing red antlers

Make consumers aware of any special discounts your business is offering during the holiday season. Christmas shopping is a big spending period, so customers are on the hunt for the best deals.

Your Christmas displays and props should make it easy for people to find out what promotions and specials you have on offer. So, it would be a good idea to have them displayed in windows, hanging from ceilings, at the register, etc. Other retailers are competing for your customers, so make sure your business stands out.

3. Bring back the old and nostalgic

Christmas has a way of bringing people back to their childhood through family traditions and heirlooms. Play to this feeling of nostalgia by adding something old-fashioned to your overall theme. Offering consumers something that brings back fond memories can trigger a purchase.

This doesn’t have to cost a tonne — extravagant displays are often borrowed.


This is a cost-effective way to spark shoppers’ emotions and Christmas memories without the hard sell.

4. Display complementary items together

Visual Merchandising Bathrobe Display
Grouping items that go together make it easy for shoppers to assemble a gift.

Placing related products near one another can drive impulse buys. This subtle upselling technique leads consumers to see products not as individual items, but as pieces of potential gift sets.

For example, group recipe books with cooking utensils, smoothie kits and blenders. Or nestle slippers and packaged tea near book displays.

5. Have gift cards front and centre

Gift cards are usually an afterthought, but because it’s Christmas, you’ll need to make an exception. This means you will need to strategically place gift cards in the front and centre of your store to lead consumers to purchase one in addition to the other items they came in to buy. This will also capture those indecisive or last-minute shoppers.

6. Go green

The trend today is to be sustainable and ecofriendly — at Christmas and throughout the year. Consumers want to feel good about the gifts they’re buying, so highlighting the sustainability of your brand is good business.

You’ll want to draw attention to items that are:

  • Organic
  • Made from recycled materials
  • Locally produced

These will always be a winner among certain customers.

7. Walk the floor and shop your shop

At the start of the day, spend about 15 minutes to experience your shop like a customer. Sit out the front of your shop and see what customers see. Enter your shop and walk through it as a customer.

Photograph problem spots in the windows, displays, counter, aisles, fixtures, tables, walls and make a note of what needs fixing. Often it could be just a general tidying up, removing a few items or stock replenishment. The small things can make a difference.

Also, make sure your store is accessible, and customers can move through it easily. This means you might need to make room for trolleys, prams and wheelchairs in your store layouts to ensure traffic flows smoothly.

Related: 9 customer service skills no business can do without

8. Put Santa’s little helpers to work

Closeup of decorated Christmas coookies
Photo: Ignacio R on Unsplash

If creating displays is not your strong point, ask for help. Do you have staff who are interested in getting festive and creative with setting up displays or windows for you? If so, delegate this to them. If this employee is going to be around for awhile, consider investing in some visual merchandising training for them.

Need ideas? Stop by Pinterest

Pinterest is a social media network that allows users to share images associated with projects, themes, products and services. Here, you can discover and pull together new ideas by browsing pictures others have posted.

Think of Pinterest as a web-based pinboard.


Visual Merchandising Pinterest IdeasBeing a highly visual platform by nature, Pinterest is the perfect source of inspiration for Christmas-themed visual merchandising ideas.

To start, type key terms related to your business into the search box at the top. For example, “Christmas display for fashion boutique” or “Christmas store windows.” Organise your pin boards relating to the colour scheme and product type. Browse and pin until you have a couple of solid ideas you can use.

Visual merchandising really works

When it comes to visual merchandising, just remember to be authentic and keep your customers front of mind. Your visual merchandising should always enhance the experience and never take away from it.

Well-executed visual merchandising will give your customers a chance to feel inspired, possibly even curious about your values as a business. So make sure you provide that extra visual boost that will bring them into your store at Christmas.