Holiday Visual Merchandising Ideas: 5 Retail Trends to Implement Now

It's time to make your list and check it twice—if you want to make this upcoming winter holiday season extra nice.

Need a little inspo to kick your planning into high gear? We've got you covered.

We are unwrapping the hottest holiday visual merchandising trends we tracked last year. Our merry elves scoured retailers across the United States—and even from the other side of the pond—to bring you the best and brightest ideas to spur inspiration and help you get festive.

But before we get into the trends, let’s cover the basics of visual merchandising.

What is visual merchandising?

Visual merchandising is an important aspect of retail marketing, because it helps to create a strong brand image and drive customer interest in a store's products.

The elements of a solid visual merchandising campaign could include things like store displays, window displays, lighting, color, layout, signage, etc.—all designed to be cohesive, visually appealing, and increase sales.

Why is it important for the holiday season?

Visual merchandising is especially important during the holiday season, because it can help retailers to attract and retain customers and drive holiday sales during a busy and competitive time of year.

Especially now, three years into the pandemic, retailers have had to step up their holiday merchandising game to attract holiday shoppers into their stores.

By enhancing the overall shopping experience and creating a festive environment, shoppers will be more like to shop in-store instead of on Amazon or another online retailer.

When should I start planning holiday visual merchandising and in-store marketing?

Holiday displays should be set well in advance of Black Friday, so you need to back your planning into that date. Many brands will have their displays up before Thanksgiving.

A good general rule of thumb is to start planning at least 12-16 weeks in advance, though that can vary by the size and complexity of your brand. Working with an experienced commercial print company can help you accurately create a calendar and ensure there are no hiccups in the process.

Download our seasonal campaign planner to get started.

A good general rule of thumb is to start planning at least 12-16 weeks in advance, though that can vary by the size and complexity of your brand.”

When should my winter holiday visual merchandising come down?

Many brands will leave their displays up through the end of the year, but some will start to remove them the day after Christmas. It depends on when your next campaign is scheduled to start.

Work in partnership with your marketing team to determine the appropriate timing based on your brand's campaign calendar.

How much should I budget for holiday merchandising?

This will again vary brand to brand based on variables like how many stores you have, what the footprint is like in each store, what elements you want to use in your campaign, and what your overall goals are for the campaign.

Grab a copy of our visual merchandising budget builder to get started.

Where can I go for inspiration to make the most of the holiday shopping season?

I thought you’d never ask!

From attracting shoppers and highlighting products to creating a festive atmosphere and providing inspiration and ideas for gift giving, retailers pulled out all the stops last year.

Here at Imagine, we dispatched our merry makers to capture the best in-store marketing retail trends and seasonal displays and memorialized them all, just for you. Need some visual merchandising ideas for retail stores? Look no further.

From New York to London and cities across the U.S., here are five of the top retail merchandising trends we spotted.

Ready to get inspired?

Trend 1: Make it sparkle.

Glitter and gold. Sequins and sparkle. Doesn’t matter which way you slice it, nothing says holiday like a little shimmer and shine.

Glitter and gold are often used in holiday marketing and visual merchandising to create a festive and luxurious atmosphere in stores. These elements can be incorporated in a variety of ways, including window displays, signage, product packaging, and in-store decorations.

The use of glitter, gold, and all things sparkly in holiday in-store marketing and visual merchandising helps retailers create a festive atmosphere in their stores and draw shoppers in with a luxurious and celebratory vibe.

Trend 2: Big, bold photos.

Striking and designed to stop shoppers in their tracks, bold photos can be an effective element of visual merchandising for the holidays.

This hot holiday in-store marketing trend could be seen literally everywhere as brands aimed to inspire a merry mood.

We saw this trend come to life as a backdrop for window, in-store, and product displays; as a standalone element or as one part of a more complicated design; and across the store, social media, ecommerce, and direct mail mediums. In all cases, the photography creates a cohesive and visually appealing omnichannel experience.

Big, bold photos help build that much-desired holiday brand aesthetic and draw customers in with a festive and eye-catching image.

Trend 3: Monochromatic.

Monochromatic displays had quite the moment. This visual merchandising trend taps a single color throughout a single display.

The most popular colors? Red, green, silver, and gold, of course.

Some brands broke the mold with pink or purple monochromatic visual merchandising displays, bringing extra fun and festivity.

Monochromatic displays, while simple in color, are anything but boring. Done well, they can help retailers highlight specific products and create an elegant and festive holiday shopping experience for customers.

Trend 4: Festive framing.

Many retailers set the scene with festive framing.

Designed to create a mini moment, this holiday visual merchandising trend came to life in a variety of different ways: product displays, window displays, as snow globes, with window clings.

Inside the frames? Products, dimensional items, bold photos, fabric, lightboxes, and video displays could all be found creating a mini moment that inspires.

Just like the memories we create each and every holiday season, retailers framed festive moments with their visual merchandising displays this year.

Trend 5: Dimension and layering.

Layering. Trees. Gifts. Bows. Santa’s sleigh. Larger-than-life bears. Motion.

Creating dimension and using layers with visual merchandising displays was, by far, the biggest in-store marketing trend this holiday season.

From the simple to the insanely complex, these dimensional displays turned heads and opened wallets for the retailers that executed them.

When it comes to creating dimension, there’s no shortage of ideas to explore and ways to bring it to life. Dimensional and layered holiday displays help retailers set the scene while showcasing different messages and products.

Regardless of the trend, the goal of holiday visual merchandising is to create an engaging and festive shopping experience that inspires customers to make purchases and helps brands drive in-store sales during the holiday season.

For many brands, the holiday shopping season is make or break for their bottom line. Don't leave this critical campaign up to chance.

Lean on our reputation for reliability and trust your most important campaigns to our early-time, on-budget experts.

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