Why shopfittings, lighting and window displays matter

The advent of highly-developed brands steered by expert marketeers in the jewellery industry means one thing: presentation has become paramount. The POS equipment provided by some manufacturers is super slick, so customers have come to expect it of the unbranded lines, too

When selling to the fashion conscientious there is do doubt that presentation is absolutely key. It can make or break a potential sale: if the jewellery looks good on the display, then it has a much higher chance of being purchased.

Choosing the right shopfitting, lighting and window displays will help to attract customers into a store and once in, will make the jewellery inside look even more spectacular. This trend for presentation has largely been driven by the branded stores that have used their design and marketing knowledge to shape their stores in a way that will appeal to the wider consumer. With these trendy looks and layouts becoming increasingly popular, the consumer now expects a slick shopping experiencing in both branded and unbranded stores.

The need for this enhanced presentation for jewellery retail stores can also be attributed to the internet. Retailers these days must work harder to attract the customer into their shop, and not only do they have to beat their fellow high street competitors, they now have to beat back the wrath of online sales. Thankfully retailers have an advantage: even the internet can’t compete with a store that allows the consumer to see and touch what they’re buying.

It may be widely held that customer service is the most important factor when selling a piece of jewellery but if the consumer gets an impression of shoddiness or a ‘thrown together’ appearance, it can damage confidence. This means that presentation is not only key to attracting customers into a retail store from the street outside, but it also has a strong influence over revenue – a confident customer will be confident to spend more.

Simone Breedon, marketing director at Display Lighting, says: “Our objective is to ensure customers fall in love with the jewellery on display. In order to achieve this they must be shown off at their absolute finest and the most effective way to do this is to make sure they are illuminated correctly. Natural daylight is the most effective way to showcase diamonds and gems because the natural colours found in daylight reflect the light and bring them to life. Their colours shine with utmost clarity, their cut appears more defined and their brilliance is magnified. Although it is impossible to display jewellery in natural daylight in retail and museum environments, the team at Display Lighting have re-created the colours found in natural daylight using LEDs.”

Scot Walker from lighting specialist Parify, says there is divided opinion over how cabinets should be lit. A lot of jewellers want to have a huge array of jewellery on display to tell the outside world that their range is comprehensive, and therefore they want the whole area floodlit. “Older jewellers want to illuminate everything, but with high-end fine jewellery we’ll spotlight a particular piece. Say you’ve got £20k ring, you’ll have a narrow beam highlighting it, but also a lot of other LEDs hidden in the top of the showcase to illuminate more facets. You achieve a better presentation this way because the facets of the stone are picking up more light sources. We call that lights facetation.” Walker says another important element to consider is that a lot of the biggest spenders are of an older generation, and often this means worse eyesight. It is therefore important for the ambient lighting of the shop to be less intense, controlled by a dimmer, and something that make you feel “more at home than being in a veterinary surgery”.

While many jewellery retailers are keeping up with display trends, Alex Owen, director at Karina Krafts, believes that many retailers are actually falling behind the times. Owen says: “Presentation is still undervalued: you can’t sell your jewellery if you can’t get the customer through the door. You have to entice and coax them in. The ‘window’ is the thing to catch their attention and your most important selling tool – without it the customers will just pass you by.”


So what are the trends in display? Since consumers are the ones buying your product it can be hard to swim against the tide. While it’s true that most independent jewellery retailers have their own unique styles and quirks that keep their regular customers returning, the minimalistic, clean style made famous by huge brands such as tech giant Apple, has had a huge influence on store design. The more cutting-edge jewellery displays, more often than not, try to mimic this style.

James Moorhouse, production director at Pearce Displays says: “The clinical look is definitely quite popular at the moment although it’s sometimes hard for the older generation to believe that a window with less stock actually makes for a better display.” Rosalind Foreman, company secretary at Nicholas Interiors agrees that this is the direction many jewellery retailers are going: “Jewellery is no longer crowded into displays but individual pieces are highlighted to tempt the customer and entice them to look further into the shop.

To recreate this minimalist style, natural displays are often used to portray natural environments to help the customer feel more at home. The clean look that these fittings bring helps the consumer feel more at ease, while the natural lighting also helps to make the jewellery stand out, in a dark store the jewellery would just fade into the background. Kerry Wilson, creative manager at Morplan, says: “There is a growing trend in the use of ‘natural’ materials, albeit used in modern ways. Stone, wood, hessian and rattan all offer a stunning contrast to silver, gold and gemstones. Traditional leather and minimalist black or white gloss stands are still popular but are now often seen with the addition of bold colours in plinths and bases to create eye-catching impact.”

Colour has also grown in importance and Ronnie Sulzbacher, sales manager at Just brothers, explains that “retailers now want more trendy colours than ever before.” With minimalism a key part of how retailers are now displaying their jewellery, colour is being used as a more creative and captivating way to appeal to the consumer. Used in the right way these techniques will make your jewellery collections stand out rather than blend into the background or ambient colour.

Despite these trends, however, it is still imperative that they retain their own individuality. John Watts, co-founder of Watts Design, says: “I think jewellers are now simplifying their displayed quantity but there seems to be a lot more branding from the suppliers and they provide the guidelines for how they want it to be displayed. This can take away a jeweller’s own individuality though so you have to be very careful.”

The cost

When considering the cost of shopfitting, light and windows displays it is not always about the amount you are spending but also about the amount of revenue that you can expect as a result of the better presented range of jewellery. Presentation may seem like the cherry on the cake but it is surprising how it can either scare a potential customer off or sway them in the direction of buying your product. There is no doubt about it, if your jewellery looks good in the display, customers will be much more willing to try on the piece of jewellery and potentially make that all-important purchase.

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Alessandro Carrara

Alessandro is a trained journalist just getting started in the writing arena. He’s madly obsessed with Japanese culture, a passionate reader and adores niche video games. When he isn't getting sore thumbs from playing classic Nintendo games, he’s working as an editorial assistant for Mulberry Publications. Feel free to drop him a line with any story ideas.

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