One of the stores I visited was TJ Maxx. I was drawn to the store because it may be an off-price store but it didn’t seem like one from the outside, probably also due to prominent use of the color red in its banner. It may be reasonable to argue TJ Maxx didn’t really have a store display because there were no items in the display window.
The display window instead focused on the advertising. The advertising was contemporary in nature and revolved around the targeted customers than the products. The messages on the display window emphasized the company’s focus on branded items at affordable prices. In short, TJ Maxx emphasized the great deals customers may get instead of the quality of the items.
The display setup didn’t really intrigue me because it seemed like the ones I had seen at other stores such as JC Penney and Ross. The display advertizing mostly employed colors that are easily visible such as white, red, and green. The content of the advertising posters was generic which didn’t come as a surprise, given the company’s business strategy which puts greater emphasis on low prices as compared to product quality.
My visit to the Macy’s could not have been more different than the TJ Maxx. Even though Valentine is still few weeks away, the store was already advertising products related to the Valentine’ Day. The products in the display included shoes, jewelry, and handbags. Some of the products such as brand-name shoes had been paired with brand-name gowns to suggest Valentine’s Day dress ideas to the female shoppers.
It was apparent significant costs and creativity had gone into creating the display window. One could see the cupid hanging from the ceiling in one corner of the display window. Similarly, the decorative lights had been strategically positioned to draw attention to some of the highest-priced items in the display window.
I could not help but imagine the display window caught the attention of individuals from almost every group. The women who lusted after the 6-inch heels in the display window were not the only one carefully inspecting other items and the overall design. Even the children and adult men could not help but appreciate the creative display. Even if most of those consumers might not have bought anything, the display window did catch their attention and potentially created positive perceptions about Macy’s in their minds.
As I reflected upon the window displays at both Macy’s and TJ Maxx, I realized significant differences in the display strategy pursued by both companies. Macy’s places huge emphasis on window displays to both showcase items with high profit margins as well as grab attention of both the consumers and the passer-bys. Macy’s may not be as upscale as some such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus but Macy’s also wants to send the message it is not TJ Maxx and Marshall’s etc. either. Creative display windows help Macy’s improve its quality perceptions in the consumers’ minds. In contrast, display windows are an afterthought for TJ Maxx. Instead of showcasing the items available inside the store, TJ Maxx uses the window space to remind the consumers it is a value-oriented seller. Since Macy’s is a full-price retailer, it allocates significant budget to its marketing activities which include creative display windows. In contrast, TJ Maxx is focused on cost minimization so that it can still earn high profits despite being a value retailer. Hence, it is focused on minimizing operating expenditures which include display window decoration.