Monday, September 26, 2016

10 Elements of a Well-Curated, Sales-Increasing Displays For Artists and Crafters

Creating a new successful business without the same built-in demand of my previous one forced me to re-learn the essential art of marketing with displays. Your marketing is everything for making sales, it trumps even the quality of your products, it's disheartening but true. The essential elements of creating magnetic displays that sell are similar to ones for making a good composition in any art piece. You know a beautifully balanced design when you see it, but it's harder to actually synthesize it into being. After lots of window-shopping, research, setting up at art/craft markets and watching the responses of shoppers to various displays I've distilled sales-increasing retail displays to the following 10 elements. I've put them to the test and watched them work!

1. Abundance 

Customers are attracted to tables, baskets, shelves and racks that look very full and may ignore solitary items. You can create an illusion of abundance by filling small baskets, adding padding to the bottom of your baskets and by stacking items.

2. Colors

Consider your color palate wisely and use it well. See my post on color psychology post for more info. 84% of customers admit that color was the primary reason why they buy something! Use color to attract your ideal customer and tell your brand's story.

3. Levels

Multiple-levels is how you'll help your different individual items stand out. Do this with shelving, risers, crated, you can get creative here! Items on one level get lost visually.

4. Texture

Adding texture to your design makes it visually appealing and magnetic. It's easy to do with baskets and cloths. It adds tangibility to the composition.

5. Solidarity / Memorability

Think of ways to add elements that make you stand out from everyone else, something people remember. Paint everything lime green, have a giant polka-dot octopus atop your market tent (holy hell I want one of those now) be crazy and unique!

6. Informative Signage and Prices

Making signage as informative as possible is a HUGE help for sales. Probably the most important thing you can do! A lot of people won't buy something without a sign in place, they often don't want to task for more information or even for the price.

7. Handmade Touches

With online shopping being at an all-time high, "low-tech" displays with a human touch is how you stand out in today's marketplace. High-end window displays in New York or popular chains like Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters employ artists to create handmade displays. It's easy to do this with hand-written chalkboard signs you can change and hand-written signage, but you can really think outside the box and have fun here.

8. Lighting 

With lighting you can highlight key items and just add general interest to your display and make it stand-out from the shops beside you (tents if you're at a market). You can use string lights, unique lamps and clip desk lamps.

9. Variety

Variety can be in your items or in the display itself. Either way, it's a great way to attract customers to the display.

10. Change it Up

Changing your display frequently and adding new items as often as possible (at least once a week) is a essential for keeping interest, and keeping customers coming back! If something's not working you can even change it that day and see responses. It's essential to work at it.

Adding these elements to your retail displays, whether at a brick and mortar store or at outdoor markets, will increase sales and interest for your work. Consistently creating great displays and items is a lot of hard work, you have to gauge the reactions of your audience and evolve, but it's also creatively fulfilling, fun, and rewarding (in more ways than monetarily). A good display makes the onlookers happy whether or not they buy something, and it's gratifying to provide that service for the community. You should also see it be gratifying for your sales!

Did I leave out anything important? Feel free to discuss your thoughts in the comments.

*Thank you Bead Here Now & Midnight Sun for letting me photograph your beautiful displays! If you love your local store's windows that make the landscape jaunty, be sure buy things from them to support and keep them around!
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  1. Thanks for the ideas :-) Besides selling on Etsy, I have a brick and mortar shop, and I find it very difficult to make everything look appealing for customers!

    1. No prob! It *is* hard. I've put a lot of the techniques above to use while staging for local markets and they work :)

  2. First let me say $21 for those sandals! Where are they?? Second, yes to all this. I finally had my first booth at the ren faire this weekend and even though my prices were amazingly low, my stock was very very small, there wasn't much variety I sold very little. But what I did sell was the handmade jewelry more than anything so I learned originality sells.

    1. You learn so much from each market, and what sells does vary by the demographics of the market. It's true, originality sells, and it helps to have impulse buys and a lot of the techniques above. At local markets here they have really cute sandals for cheap :D The ones above in one of my favorite local stores, Midnight Sun.

  3. These are such great tips, Vanessa! I admit that when I go to markets, the places with the great display are the ones I always gravitate too.'s true. Sometimes, the quality of the product is not what sells.

  4. Fantastic tips Vanessa! You hit on all the necessary points. The displays you show here compliment the tips perfectly.

    1. I did forget to add that it all varies per market and you have to observe as some pointed out in the comments. :) Those local shops definitely do an amazing job with their set-ups!


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