Using mannequins to display your merchandise and promote your business is a remarkably profitable sales strategy if done properly. Most people don’t immediately associate mannequins with the concept of increasing profits, which is exactly why using these versatile displays gives you such a tremendous advantage as a small business owner, store manager, or sales director.
Most small businesses severely underestimate the benefits of these time-tested merchandising tools. How many store owners or managers do you know who are experts in the art and science of effective product display, otherwise known as visual merchandising? Probably not many.
DON’T HATE THE PLAYER, HATE THE GAME
It’s no secret that retail sales is largely a presentation game. Still, it’s bewildering why so many businesses put such extensive effort into marketing and advertising aimed at attracting customers to their store, but pay little attention to the visual presentation of their merchandise. That’s the retail equivalent of inviting guests over to your house for dinner, only to inform them upon arrival that you’ve not actually prepared any food, but only desired their presence. You can be sure they won’t be coming over to your house for “dinner” very often with that bait and switch move.
USE MANNEQUINS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS
So how do mannequins fit into this equation? First, it’s important to understand the role that mannequins play in a store setting. They are, in essence, your company’s spokespeople. And since they are often displayed prominently in store windows or toward the front of the store, they are usually the customers’ first point of identification with your store. In a sense, they represent your store. Just as Cover Girl models represent that brand, so, too should your mannequins represent your store. Just as Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan largely represent the image of Nike, so, too should your mannequins represent the image of your business, trade show, or promotional event.
Now, it may seem ridiculous to compare mannequins to celebrity spokespeople, but in a small business retail environment they are the celebrities. (I would also add that they are pleasantly less expensive than an endorsement from Tiger Woods).
If it’s true that mannequins are the first human figures that shoppers associate with your business, then it makes sense psychologically to display mannequins that resemble your average customer. Why? Because we tend to gravitate to places where there are other people like us.
DON’T BE CREEPY
I’m not suggesting that you have wax figures made of your most loyal shoppers. That’s just weird. What I mean is that your mannequins should resemble your customer on a basic level. For example, if your customer base is made up of largely Hispanics and your shop is located in a part of town where Hispanics are a relatively large demographic, then you probably don’t want to have 20 towering Caucasian supermodel mannequin with blonde hair and blue eyes displayed throughout your store. That’s not relatable. In this case, more ethnic-looking mannequins may be appropriate.
As a small retail business, you have the luxury of being able to do this since you can appeal to a more targeted customer base, as opposed to, say, a department store that needs to appeal to the masses. Ultimately, your choice of mannequins must also take into account the type of merchandise you sell and the aim of your business. It’s important, however to at least be aware of this factor.