Everybody loves a good Christmas advertisement. From Coca-Cola’s iconic Holidays are Coming, to Irn-Brus’ Snowman, nothing is more synonymous with the start of the festive period. And, long before John Lewis released its first Christmas offering in 2007, previous high-street stalwarts like Woolworths were getting in on the act. 

There’s no doubt that these (usually) high-budget ads create a phenomenal amount of buzz and some £5.6 billion is expected to be spent on Christmas advertising this year alone. However, regardless of the type of ad – be it sentimental, aspirational, or funny – the one thing they all have in common is the desire to sell more stuff. As such, savvy retailers need to think beyond wooing consumers in their homes and appeal to them when it matters most – when they are in-store and ready to buy.

Take the Waitrose Christmas robin. A plucky bird who undertakes a perilous journey home, battling the jaws of a weasel, the talons of an eagle, and fiercely stormy seas just for a nibble of a Waitrose mince pie. Heart-warming it might be, but to turn a creative success into a commercial one, the supermarket will also be selling robin-related products, such as kitchenware, clothing, toys, and gift wrap in shops.

But products alone are no longer enough to create that “experience" modern shoppers crave. So, arguably the number one contender in the Christmas ad charts, John Lewis, is also creating window displays that feature this year’s Buster the Boxer and his woodland friends. 

Christmas retail

This isn’t a new tactic for the retailer; and, over the last few years, it has made the most of its prime visual merchandising space during this crucial shopping season.

Christmas Retail

Christmas Retail

However, taking the immersive shopping experience to the next level, this year, John Lewis’ flagship store in Oxford Street, as well as some other shops around the country, are offering a Buster the Boxer trampoline virtual reality experience.

Using Oculus Rift technology, shoppers are able to step into the Christmas Eve garden and jump on the trampoline alongside a pair of foxes, a badger, a hedgehog, and a squirrel. All while looking around at their animal friends, the house and garden and a sky filled with stars. It’s clever stuff!

But, shopping is for life, NOT just for Christmas, so it’s vital that retailers employ tactics that evolve and enhance the customer experience for the better all year round.

Here are just some of the ways they are doing it. 


Creating interactive shopping displays 

By combining traditional visual merchandising and modern technology, brands can connect with retailers like never before. Like Adidas, when they put the shopping into window shopping.

For retailers that don’t quite have the budget of John Lewis and Adidas, even traditional in-store signage can benefit from a fresh approach when looking to create more immersive experiences.

Take the Kinetik Video Lightbox for example. Presenting moving images combined with printed graphics, the technology gives retailers the freedom to create eye-catching displays, strategically positioned around the store.

Somewhere between a lightbox and a large-format video screen, Kinetik can be used to promote products in dynamic fashion to attract consumer attention – and it doesn’t require the budget of incorporating screens or LCD technology. 


Creating a buzz with a pop-up 

Cultivating engaging brand experiences, pop-up stores create multi-sensory shopping experiences that combine aesthetic and interactive elements to make them a destination venue in their own right. Find out more about why pop-ups are becoming so popular.


Experimenting with concepts

Concept stores are all about the ROI. Indeed, while the concept store itself can cost more than a traditional shop space, by investing resources into figuring out what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to selling products and in store design, retailers can save money by testing the waters with shoppers before roll-out. Find out what makes a successful concept store.


Adding contextualization to store design

When it comes to retail environments, context is key, and each store must appeal to its target audience. Contextualisation helps retailers to reach the right customer, in the right place, at the right time. Central to this approach is understanding your buyers, and what makes them tick. Find out more about the value of context in retail design


Adding storytelling to retail store designs

Savvy store designers know that the easiest way to engage with consumers is through their emotions. And, to tap into your customer’s emotions, nothing beats the power of a good story. Find out more about how you can add authenticity to your brand story.


At Unibox, we transform ideas into a technical reality, collaborating with retailers and design agencies to create attractive, engaging retail displays and environments that sell products more effectively all year round. To find out more about how we can help you, contact us today for an informal chat.