Selfridges outside the store. The Visual Merchandising

Selfridges is a world renound brand that is known for its luxury ethos and wide range of product sales. Within the luxury market they are forever pushing the boundary within the store as well as outside the store. The Visual Merchandising that takes place in the windows are where Selfridges  Selfridges is infamous for its striking windows and bold ethos. Well known brand that is noticed all along the high street by the pop of colour their shopping bags carry through the streets that makes is distinct and noticeable.  Visual merchandising is a soul part of the brand and something that plays an important role in the foundation that drives a large number of sales for the brand as this is what entices the customer to head through the door and make a sale. If you have ever stood outside a shop admiring the artistry of the window display then you have succumbed to its supremacy (Morgan, 2016)  As selfridges has a series of windows avaiable to promoto their store they always use the window space to its full portential. As rather using it as a bases to promto their products use it as a way of showing collaboration, artitis and much more. As Selfrdiges is a large department store that hosts a wide range of products from womens wear to exlusive jewellery to even confectionary items so their windows are simply created to attract attention to the store by creating a display with a notreworthy theme intended to cause a reaction (morgan, 2016). As seen in the window display there is a lot on display from fashion to kitchen utensles and this is soemthing that can be seen throughoout the theme of the windows.             Selfridges is a world renound brand that is best known for its extravagant window displays that attract not just tourists but the local consumer as well. They are forever pushing the boundaries within Visual Merchandising and this has ultimately changed the way people see window displays today. This is what entices the customer to engage with the store and makes them take that first step into the store  ‘Once a customer has been encouraged to visit the store we need to consider how we orientate them, help them navigate them through the space’ (Sarah Bailey & Jonathan Baker 2014) which may be their first visit or in a lot of cases a reoccurring visit and if the retailer has delivered a level of brand satisfaction for the customer this becomes a strong link. This brand is of course also known for the level of exclusivity that they provide, from designer brands to celebrity collaborations.  The brands key competitors Selfridges has marked itself as a distinctive London store, however it has to compete with high-fashion department stores like Harrods, Liberty’s and Harvey Nichols which are also located in London. As well as internationally with stores like Bloomingdales and Barneys in New York. The closest competitor to Selfridges is the well established Knightsbridge store; Harrods which is also known globally, they have two stores located in London Gatwick and Manchester airport, as well as stores in the middle east. Although they are both branded as luxury department stores they show there individuality through different styles. We can see this highlighted when comparing the famous department stores Christmas windows. You are always guaranteed an unforgettable experience with Selfridges which is part of there branding message. As well as an array of quirky items to purchase which brings the element of a fun shopping experience to life.  ”A department store should be a social center, not merely a place for shopping” (Harry Gorden Selfridge) 1/11/17  However Harrods is also known for its Christmas displays with this years collaboration with Dolce  it the most similar style to Selfridges yet. From the bright colours to a very stratic plament of products it echo’s similarities with in the message which is very different to the collaboration with Burberry last Christmas. The brand market position and target customer From the opening of the stores legacy back in 1909 the philosophy was that all customers were welcome which was echoed in the stock on sale, where the merchandise ranged from clothing to groceries and even airplanes which meant it could target a wider audience rather then just one type of customer for example those who had lots of disposable income. This still stands to present day as through out the many decades Selfridges has thrived, the clear message has always stuck from the founder Gordon Selfridge himself, that everyone is welcome regardless of their status. The store has seen many different changes in the interior as well as the merchandise as the store tried to keep up to date with current trends which ultimately led to the dawn fall of the brand in the early 1990’s. The creativity of the window which features youthful looking mannequins dressed in the current trends targets a wide audience as it can be seen to be very relatable. From the whole ambience created through the window scheme to the very specific key details such as 5,000 Brussels sprouts becoming the main focus of one window evoking the very British traditions. Due to the high status of the retailer, the immense expectations for Selfridges to deliver their spectacular Christmas windows year on year never seems to phase the visual merchandising team as they always deliver a sequence of window displays that is true to the brand. ‘A brand is a promise of satisfaction…the consumer, buyer, audience, inhabitant, and ‘experiencer’ (all customers) form their own feelings about what a brand means; but they can influenced-more than most realize- by the advertising and publicity of the manufacturer, seller, performer, environment, or event (all producers)’  (Healey 2008)      Window theme- over all impact The overall impact of the windows are a reflection of Selfridges creative mind by capturing the fun side with an element of unknown throughout their world renowned windows. This is especially shown through the festive window theme which runs continuously through each scene bringing different emotions with each one. The windows tell a story of a Christmas parade complete with festive floats echoing the spirit of London festivals and carnivals which are renowned for their energy and playful nature. ”We like to think of Selfridges’ windows as life-sized postcards, telling magical stories through a unique blend of art, design and fashion.”  (Selfridges website) 8/11/17 Each one of the windows tells a different story with each window following a ‘with love from’ theme. The story behind the theme of the windows dates back to the 19th Century of a tradition where each borough in London would hold a pearly King and Queen where their clothing would consist of being covered in the mother of pearl buttons. Which we can see featured on coats on figures of Santa Clause on the corner of Oxford street which takes up the largest space out of the window displays. Each window is decorated to a unique taste which explores fashion, beauty and confectionary, as well as featuring the famous Brussel sprout. I believe their message is targeting everybody rather then the main focus being the younger more affluent market that they normally aim for due to the diverse ethnicity of the mannequins used as well as the use of heritage behind the theme. Standing its ground on oxford street Selfridges building is not to be missed especially during Christmas. It has a prime location on the world famous shopping street. Commuters on their way to work as well as tourists are hit by the bright festive window schemes. The windows are views by pedestrians but also by busses and taxis which makes it easy to be seen by those who haven’t set out to visit the store but are captivated by the initive windows.  What is the theme of the window? The famous Christmas windows that attract thousands, has a very British feel this year with relation to key history dates which shows the true heritage that is Selfridges. This year the overall theme seems to be the most extravagant yet, with a lot of instore experiences which offers the opportunity for the customers to get involved and get a real warm festive feel which creates a personal experience for the customer.  ‘We are entertained when we have a sensory and sensually pleasing experience. The imagery of that experience is established, recorded and recalled by our senses.’ (Joseph Weishar 2005) Which is something Selfridges succeed in doing more often than not which creates a close link with the customer making them more likely to return to the store.   Does it Successful display and Promote the Products? The main focus of my essay is the window that features the Brussels sprout man which quickly highlights the creativity behind the window. The title of the window ‘Apples & Pears Sprouts or Nowt’ links to the overall theme of the window which comes from Costermongers who were a tough resilient and colourful type and had a language of their own, hence the cockney rhyming slang that is present in all windows. Products in this window range from clothing to pots and pans however the boldness of the window is what entices the customer to engage which then draws their attention to what is actually on display. The way the garments are perfectly placed on each mannequin highlighting specific details that they are wanting to promote. 


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