Cactus & Tropicals Draper

June 2021
The Art of Simple and Creative Displays By Koti Lindsey

Arranging merchandise helps retailers sell and engage customers both in-store and online.

Displays are not just something we, as retailers, create to sell our products — they are our silent salespeople, telling customers our stories. We have less than three seconds to grab their attention and convince them to linger and engage with the story we are telling.

Here are some key elements to creating a garden gifts display that will inspire emotion and wow your customers into staying around for a while — and ultimately buying.

Outside the Box

Think outside the box when creating displays and even when photographing them. Use something unexpected in your displays creates a memorable experience. I love using antiques and vintage finds in my displays. One of my favorite and most memorable displays is in an old cattle trough!

Start with Why

The garden gift products you have purchased for your store have value; you bought them for a reason. If you had the time to explain to every customer “why” you purchased each item and could tell the story behind each product, you would sell much more; your display tells your story. Before you start your display, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Why does your customer need the product?
  • Will it make their home beautiful?
  • Will it make their day brighter?
  • Will it make their job easier?
  • Will it make their life easier?
  • Will it solve a problem?
  • Will it make them feel better about themselves?

I believe your why is what fuels your passion and it can be the perfect start to a stunning display! Use signage in creative ways to share anything unique about your product. Write on chalkboards and Kraft paper or use dry erase markers to write on mirrors. You can even lay out Polaroid photos of your products in use to give your customers ideas.

Rule of Thirds

Picture your display as a grid, divided into nine equal squares. The Rule of Thirds is a standard technique used in photography for aesthetically pleasing photos and can be applied to displays as well.

Use layering, height and levels to align products along the lines and create interest. Stacking books is a great way to get height in a display. Doing something out of the ordinary, like using a chair on top of the table, or creating tiers with other tables or crates is another way to gain height. However, there are certainly exceptions to every rule, and sometimes breaking the rule entirely can be memorable. Do this by creating symmetry and uniformity purposefully!

 Negative Space

Many times, less can be more! Never underestimate the power of a little space. Don’t hesitate to back stock items to keep things tidy. Place an odd number of items together and break things up with space. Even numbers create symmetry, but odd numbers create interest.


Add warmth with light or with texture. Lighting not only draws attention, but it also affects moods. Research shows that customers spend more time in areas with warmer lighting. Lamps provide warm cozy light, but also provide height and interest and can help draw attention to a product.

Texture also adds warmth to your displays — incorporate green goods alongside throws and blankets or rugs. Add unique pieces that are out of the ordinary and unexpected, such as brooms, wooden pieces, bark, glass, etc., as well to add warmth and texture to displays.


Think about how your display flows; within itself and other areas in your gifts area. Pay attention to color and product placement.

Again, odd numbers work when creating flow. Choose three patterns or textures for a display that coordinate and apply a 60/30/10 ratio to add dimension to your display. Demonstrate contrast. Using coordinating colors that complement, not necessarily “match,” is a great way to create contrast and evoke emotion. Another way to do this is to mix media, and/or styles.

Consider traffic flow in your store for displaying as well. People generally tend to enter and travel to the right and travel through the store counterclockwise. Consider this when creating displays and flowing from one to the next.

Photos for Online Platforms

Photograph your display for your website and social media platforms. Images are more effective than text at evoking emotion. It is increasingly more important to have an online presence in today’s market.

We want to take what we do in brick-and-mortar stores and tell that story online. These five simple guidelines will help you show off your hard work and grab attention online: light, rule of thirds, angles, detail versus wide, and focus.

You don’t need an expensive camera or equipment to take great photos that stop traffic online. Use these simple techniques with your phone to brand your store and create stunning display images.

Koti Lindsey

Koti Lindsey is the second-generation owner of Vickie’s Gifts in Roscoe, Texas. With over 20 years of experience in marketing, merchandising and interior design, she loves to share her knowledge with other store owners and her customers. See more at