A display window, commonly known as a shop window or store window, is a window positioned at the front of the store in which products can be placed to encourage potential customers to enter the store. The display window is usually decorated with products sold in the store; these products and the organization of the display is usually known as window dressing, and it can vary by store, by season, and by the customers the store is trying to attract. The window is usually well-lit, even when the store is closed, to allow passers by to peruse the products.
Many stores feature a very large display window so larger products and decorations can be used for window dressing. Stores with a sidewalk in front of them will benefit from well-designed window dressing, as pedestrians walking by or even motorists driving by are more likely to notice the store if the display window is effectively decorated. The display can be changed to advertise a specific sale, to accommodate a specific season, or to simply display some of the store's most popular products. Most stores leave lights on in the display window at night so customers can see the products at any time of day; shop owners may argue that this might encourage theft or damage, but the benefits of free advertising to passers by is usually to great to pass up.
Clothing stores and boutiques often place mannequins in the display window so garments can be displayed more effectively. These mannequins may be full-sized and mimic human shapes, or they may be busts only. Sometimes the mannequins feature heads only; these are commonly used to display hats or certain types of jewelry. Other display windows may feature specially designed cases, tables, or other display units that effectively show off goods sold in the store.
Shop owners have gotten very creative over the years concerning display window dressings. Some stores have even gone so far as to feature live human beings in the display windows. These people are hired as models to pose in the window wearing clothing and other accessories sold in the store. While a distinct disadvantage of this method is having to pay the models, the shop owners can easily display several outfits throughout the day in different poses, and the shop employees do not have to spend time re-dressing the models since the models can do this themselves. This tactic is usually reserved for especially high end stores.