Word Count: 1268
The Communication of Window Displays
“Visual merchandising is an indispensable retail discipline, consisting of a series of practical selling tools that are used to influence what and how much consumers buy” (McKeever, K.2008). A window display represents the various dynamics used to communicate a message to its target audience. This essay will analyse the way in which Ted Baker conveys its position in the market and brand identity by effectively portraying quality and attention to detail in its window displays. This essay will then compare the successfulness of two different approaches - “theme focussed display”, and “product focussed display” - in enticing Ted Baker’s potential customers. This will develop a conclusion on the effectiveness of Ted Baker’s window displays to act as “silent sellers” (Levine, P. 2008) and enable customers to relate to the brand.
Ted Baker uses elements such as the psychological effect of colour, lighting and appropriately chosen props to enable its customer to interpret its position in the market as an “upper high street brand”.
Figure 1: Use of luxurious colours by Ted Baker
Source: Vaswani, 2012
In various online customer reviews (yelp.com, zappos.com), the attributes that Ted Baker’s products are associated with are commitment to quality and unwavering attention to detail. Interviews with 30 onlookers regarding the window displays on Regent Street revealed that the use of luxurious colours (browns, rich reds, strong neons) along with the warm yellow lighting are the factors that enabled the customers to interpret the quality of the products to be superior.
Additionally, the props used in the Ted Baker windows highlight the attention that is devoted to details at the micro level, not only in the products, but also in the window displays. The importance of using appropriate props is highlighted by Tony Morgan’s (2011, p54) statement, “Props should be relevant to the merchandise to make the overall idea come to life”. In line with this, Ted Baker used bows and arrows as props to complement their autumn winter “Survival of the Fittest” collection. These props provide a wild and “outdoorsy” feel to the window. This proves that there is a deep level of intricacy that has gone into the selection of the props used in the window displays. This supports the upper high street positioning of the brand within the market. All these factors confirm that Ted Baker’s usage of the above elements is effective in conveying its market positioning.
A comparison between the effectiveness of a “theme-focused” and “product-focused” display will establish whether Ted Baker’s frequent usage of themes in their windows is the right approach to capture the attention of potential customers. For their display in October, Ted Baker had ingeniously used the theory of “the survival of the fittest” to create a humorous theme in their window supporting their autumn/winter merchandise.
Figure 2: Survival of the fittest themed window
Source: displayhunter.com, 2012
Charles Darwin (1869, On the origin of species) explained “survival of the fittest” to be “the natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life.” The message behind the story in the display is that Ted Baker merchandise is the “fittest” and would transcend the wearer from the ordinary. By labelling their merchandise as the “fittest” and rather a necessity, the brand teasingly talks about how the upcoming autumn winter weather is going to be a struggle. Interpretations of several passers-by confirm that this theme was making a joke about the “Great British weather” and the only way to conquest this struggle was to wear Ted Baker’s merchandise.
Figure 3: Christmas with Frosty
The most recent window display, the Christmas display, paints a picture of a Christmas party, the guest of honour being a drunken snowman...