If your business is located in an area with a substantial amount of foot traffic, your storefront windows may be a crucial factor in your success. Storefront windows play an important role in drawing in potential customers.
For retailers, they give buyers the opportunity to “window shop”. If you’re a restaurant or bar, they give passers-by the chance to see what the atmosphere is like before they come in. Your storefront window is an invitation. It welcomes customers into your business.
The glass you choose for your storefront window can make a big impact on the store’s appearance, security, energy efficiency, and more. Many businesses simply choose clear glass for their storefront windows. In many cases, clear glass is the best option, but it’s not the only option. There are a number of alternatives and customizations you can select to make sure your storefront windows are right for your business.
Before you commit to a certain type of glass or specific window provider, be sure to do your due diligence. There may be other options that better meet your needs. Here are a few factors to consider as you window shop:
While a storefront window can be very effective at inviting customers into your business, it can also invite a number of different risks. For example, windows are a potential entry point for intruders. It may just take a few cracks in the glass for an intruder to gain access to your store. If you’re displaying products in the window, they may be able to break the glass and grab product without even coming inside.
Storefront windows can also be vulnerable to the elements, especially if you live in an area that is prone to severe weather, such as tornadoes or hurricanes. If the storefront windows shatter, that could open the interior of your business to wind and water damage.
Fortunately, you can purchase windows that protect you from these risks. Security glass is one option to consider. Security glass usually has either an external film or an internal laminate.
When the glass is broken, rather than shattering into pieces, the glass is held together by the film. That means that even if the glass is broken by intruders or weather, the window will stay intact. It may look like a spider web of cracks, but it will hold.
Another option is tempered glass, which is treated with chemicals to give it increased strength. Tempered glass can also be safer because it breaks into big chunks rather than small, sharp pieces. If you have an accident where the window breaks, tempered glass will make cleanup much easier.
Storefront windows, by design, are large and expansive. Often the point is not just to invite in customers, but also bring in large amounts of sunlight to brighten the interior. There are many aesthetic benefits to sunlight, but also some adverse consequences with regard to energy efficiency.
Sunlight can heat up the interior of your business, especially near the windows. That can force your air conditioner to work harder, thus reducing increasing your energy bill.
One solution is to use energy efficient glass. For example, you could opt for a double-paned window with Low-E protection and argon in between the panes. Those elements block the sun’s UV rays, giving you all the pleasing benefits of sunlight without the heat.
Another challenge with significant sunlight is the damage it can do to fabric, wood, and other materials. Sunlight can cause those materials to fade over time. If you’re displaying clothing, furniture, or other goods in your windows, the sunlight could alter their appearance and ultimately weaken the effectiveness of your display.
The double-paned windows – mentioned in the previous section – could help reduce sun damage. Another option is to apply a tint film to the glass. The tint will allow sunlight to come through the glass, but will block out damaging elements.
If you decide to use a tint, be sure to have it installed by a professional. They can apply it to your glass in such a way that it’s seamless. There won’t be any air bubbles or other signs that a tint is in place.
You may want the benefits of natural light, but also want to respect the privacy of your customers or your employees. For instance, if you’re a medical professional, your patients may not want to be in view of passing pedestrians as they wait in your lobby. If you have employees with desks near the windows, they may not want to be in plain sight.
One way to achieve this is with frosted glass. The glass has a frosty or cloudy appearance, which makes the glass less transparent and maintains privacy. However, the frost doesn’t block out sunlight, so you’ll still get the warm and pleasing visual that comes with natural light.
You may be trying to achieve a unique look with your building, and your storefront windows can certainly contribute to those efforts. Talk to your window provider about unique design elements that can be incorporated into your windows.
For example, you may opt to go with stained glass to incorporate certain colors into your design and to help your business stand out. Using dividers to break your window into panes can give your building a charming and old-world appearance. Your window provider can consult with you on options to give your business a unique and distinct appearance.
Ready to take your storefront windows to the next level? We’re here to help. Our consultants welcome any opportunity to discuss your needs and goals, and help you find the right solution. Contact us today to get started. Our knowledgeable and experienced windows consultants can help you choose the perfect windows for your building.