Charity Shops and Consignment Stores have some unique challenges when it comes to creating eye-catching window displays.

They are competing with every other retailer to attract shoppers in their stores, yet the don’t have their budget, staff, or resources to create window displays that are enticing. And often their inventory is unpredictable and very eclectic, which makes planning a challenge.

There is a blog called Charity Shops Visual Merchandising  that is based in England focused on the visual merchandising talents of charity shops. Their blog has a wealth of ideas and inspiration that could be applied to ANY retailer with a limited budget for displays.

They don’t have a Pinterest board (only a Facebook page) but I have pinned a lot of their images on our boards. Highly recommend you follow their blog.

Below is a repost from from blog titled “The Art of the Window Display. ”


Window displays are an integral part of the charity shop experience. Taken in hand with the visual merchandising inside the shop, they are what define a shop’s character. In a time when charity shops are ever on the increase on our high streets, defining a shop’s ‘personality’ is what can really set a shop apart and make it a destination shop.

Creativity and charity shops are a match made in heaven, there’s nothing quite like the treasure trove of a shop’s backroom, full of unusual bits and bobs — all perfect for an imaginative volunteer to turn into a unique display.

There are so many different types of window display. I would define them as:

  • The window with a message – The message in this type of window could be anything but the main types would be conveying the charity’s aims, asking for donations and recruiting volunteers. Since the purpose of this type is usually to gain something, it works best when the messaging is kept clear and simple. The customer needs to look and understand the point almost instantly.


  • The window to sell, sell, sell –  By this I mean a window that is jam-packed with stock, with the sole aim of selling. This is probably the most difficult type of window to make look visually attractive. However, if done well, it can look amazing.  It’s probably more suited to certain product types such as homewares.


  • The themed window – This kind of window can look great and make money. A well-planned window calendar and stock saving can really show customers that a shop knows its stuff and that when they enter your store, they can expect a well-edited selection of stock. Creating unusual themes in the window is also another great bonus that charity shops have over general high street retail; they just can’t compete.


  • The Installation window – This type is a great way of making the best use of all the treasures that get donated and can last longer in the window. Creating seasonal scenes but spending a lot more time on them so they can last a quite a few weeks without looking boring can be really effective. For example, create a wintry scene complete with full size trees and polar bears with space to display regularly changing products from the shop.



Another idea could be the creation of something smaller that catches the eye like a Christmas tree made out of books or a tie mannequin. Neither item is for sale but the impact on the customer will send them into your store, curious about what they may find.


You can also stretch your visual merchandising budget by purchasing used or recycled mannequins from companies like in the US and Mannakin Ltd in the UK.


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