Theming Retail Store Displays

When planning retail store displays it is a wise idea to consider the overall theme of your store, and keep all displays in accordance with this theme. Continuity and consistency of the message you send to your customers keeps brand awareness and familiarity high.

Several factors are important when selecting on a theme for your retail store displays. Not the least of this is the type of products you are offering and your target demographic. However, other factors, such as the season of the year, should also be taken into account.

The architecture and physical layout of your store should not be considered limiting factors in the determination of your theme. For example, many retail stores are now opening up in the warehouse districts of urban areas as part of urban renewal campaigns. The buildings themselves, and the spaces occupied within these buildings by the individual stores, may be very nondescript. However, once entering the store, modern store fixtures, lighting, flooring and wall coverings may all be present.

Oftentimes the selection of lighting fixtures alone makes a huge difference is the atmosphere presented by a retail store. Typically commercial properties come with fluorescent lighting, however this does not do much in the way of ambiance. Consider track lighting, recessed lighting, halogen lighting, spot lighting, or “retro” style light fixtures. The selection of your lighting theme will make a huge difference, and set you apart from cookie cutter, vanilla stores.

A good way to get ideas is to browse other retail stores in the area and see what they are doing. Or, be a groundbreaker – do a bit of traveling to other cities, and see what the retail stores in those cities are doing, that those in your neck of the woods might not be.

A good grasp of what is available as well as cutting edge can be achieved through attendance at trade shows, as well as browsing through online catalogs such as that at This can give you design and decorating ideas, as well as insight into pricing. Trade magazines and other industry publications are also a good source of information.

You may choose to hire the assistance of a retail decorating expert or an expert in visual merchandising. This is analogous to hiring an interior decorator for your home, except that these professionals have knowledge as to trends and consumer behavior, which can be very valuable if this knowledge translates into increased sales.

Once an overall theme for your retail store has been decided upon, the next step is to come up with two categories of retail displays. The first category is the “permanent” displays, which would include but not be limited to flooring, slatwall, fixed lighting, window display areas, display tables, walls and ceilings, window coverings, doors, plumbing fixtures, spinner racks and the like.

The second category is “temporary” retail displays. These are transient displays that will showcase various products depending on the season or other factors that will change periodically. Examples of this type of retail display would include the use of mannequins, movable lighting, shelving, glass cubes, counter displays and movable display tables.

A good mixture of temporary and permanent displays allows you flexibility to make periodic changes in your retail displays while at the same time minimizing construction time via the availability of permanent display fixtures.

About the Author: Ron Maier is the Vice President of S & L Store Fixtures, which offers retail store displays, slatwall, spinner racks, mannequins, display tables, glass cubes, shelving and more. For more information, please visit

Post time: 07-29-2016