Energize Your Merchandise

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Do you sell sportswear? Liven up your athletic apparel or sporting good displays with mannequins that simulate your customers’ lifestyle—sport mannequins. These types of displays are effective if you sell activewear of any kind because your customers can easily identify with the activity the mannequin is engaged in as well as the clothing and equipment being worn. Displaying a snapshot of your customers’ lifestyle is a powerful merchandising strategy and has been shown to increase sales.

Ruben Chavez
Sales Director
Classy Mannequins

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12 Innovative, Creative & Profitable Uses For Mannequins

As you probably already know, mannequins aren’t only good for displaying clothes. In fact, they have a surprisingly wide range of uses. Unlike other mannequin companies, ClassyMannequins.com caters to customers with all types of needs.

To prove it, here’s a short list of the many different ways that our customers have used our mannequins. We hope it might help spark new ideas for different ways to use your own mannequins. Whether you’re a current proud mannequin owner, or plan to be one in the future, we think that at the very least, you’ll find the following list quite interesting. Here it is:

12 Innovative, Creative, and Profitable Uses For Mannequins

1. In a diorama of a Civil War scene in a museum

2. In a courtroom reenactment of a crime

3. As a stand-in for human models when practicing photographic lighting techniques

4. For creative art projects

5. At trade show booths. Used to pique curiosity, grab attention and entice people to inquire about a product or service being offered.

6. To teach health aid classes

7. For independent research studies on consumer behavior and visual merchandising efficacy

8. As “actors” in retail window displays that act out mini story lines over a period days or weeks, as conveyed through creative poses and setups.

9. As human body doubles in laboratory experiments

10. In lingerie displays

11. To attractively display wigs, hats, scarves and other clothing and accessories

12. As a body double in a magic trick

Ruben Chavez is the author of Mannequin Marketing: How to Use Mannequins to Create Eye-catching Displays That Generate Profits and also the Founder of ClassyMannequins.com, the premier provider of premium quality mannequins.

The Displays They Are A-Changin’

Bet you Bob Dylan never thought his song would be referenced in—of all things—a mannequin blog. Nevertheless, come gather ’round people, wherever you roam…and read this post.

Let’s face it, customers have a very short attention span. Even if you have visually appealing mannequin displays—which you most certainly should—it’s not always enough to lure people into your store. You need to make sure you’re doing something else that’s critically important:

Change up your mannequin displays day in and day out.

In other words, keep it fresh. How do you do this? Outfits, settings and positions should be changed at least weekly for maximum benefit. (This is especially important for window displays, since they’re seen much more often than in-store displays). You’ll get noticed more often by doing this, and if you’re really good, you might even draw a crowd. Interestingly enough, people will begin to expect–and look forward to–the regular changes you make to your displays.

Here’s a very creative idea from a manager of a snow mobile store who wanted to get his customers’ attention: Act out a mini-story line with your mannequins over a short period of time to promote sales or special events. Watch this short video clip to see the real life case study here.

The bottom line is that you can really set your store apart from the competition with the clever use of mannequins. Get noticed from afar with unique window displays or lure people to less frequented parts of your store with attention-grabbing setups.

Daily Display Tip #47

As you probably know, this isn’t the 47th display tip I’ve given. Not publicly, at least. But it looks better than “Display tip #3,” wouldn’t you agree?

I digress.

Mannequins, if you haven’t figured out by now, aren’t only good for displaying clothes. In fact, they have a surprisingly wide range of uses. Unlike other mannequin companies, MannequinMarket.com caters to customers with all types of needs.

To prove it, here’s a short list of the many different ways that our customers have used our mannequins. We hope it might help spark new ideas for different ways to use your own mannequins. Whether you’re a current proud mannequin owner, or plan to be one in the future, we think that at the very least, you’ll find the following list quite interesting. You’re welcome in advance.

12 Innovative, Creative, and Profitable Uses For Mannequins

1. In a diorama of a Civil War scene in a museum

2. In a courtroom reenactment of a crime

3. As a stand-in for human models when practicing photographic lighting techniques

4. For creative art projects

5. At trade show booths. Used to pique curiosity, grab attention and entice people to inquire about a product or service being offered.

6. To teach health aid classes

7. For independent research studies on consumer behavior and visual merchandising efficacy

8. As “actors” in retail window displays that act out mini story lines over a period days or weeks, as conveyed through creative poses and setups.

9. As human body doubles in laboratory experiments

10. In lingerie displays

11. To attractively display wigs, hats, scarves and other clothing and accessories

12. As a body double in a magic trick

Connect With Your Customers Using Attractive Mannequin Displays

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.

Display Your Merchandise For Maximum Profit With Mannequins

Most business owners aren’t aware that there are specific principles involved in the creation of effective and profitable mannequin displays, which can be easily learned and applied to any business or situation. This is true even if you have no background in display at all. I refer to the successful implementation of these principles as mannequin marketing

Although mannequin marketing is not an exact science—and I admit there’s no guaranteed formula for constructing a “successful” mannequin display every time—all effective displays do, indeed draw from a common set of characteristics that makes them more likely to succeed.

After having conducted exhaustive research in the fields of consumer psychology, visual merchandising, and mannequin display trends, as well as personally working with numerous retail store owners, I’ve distilled the most essential elements of successful displays down to five principles. These five principles can be easily remembered using the mnemonic device CLASS, which is an acronym for Connection, Liveliness, Attractiveness, Shock value, and Simplicity. (As a bonus, the word itself is also a reminder to always display your products with elegance and style).

Here’s a brief overview of the CLASS Checklist, which I cover in much greater depth in my ebook Mannequin Marketing, found here.

Principle #1: CONNECTION

How will you connect on a personal level with your customers through your mannequin displays? First, decide who your customer is. Determining exactly who you’re trying to appeal to will make it much easier to display the most appropriate types of mannequins and merchandise for your business. Make people feel like they belong in your store. Personalize your merchandise.

Principle #2: LIVELINESS

How will you bring your displays to life and make them more interesting? Take advantage of the fact that mannequins are the only type of display tools that are able to have a sense of personality. Give them names. Use props. Create storylines. Make them more like salespeople and less like shelving units.

Principle #3: ATTRACTIVENESS

How will you ensure that your mannequins help create a favorable first impression of your place of business on prospective customers? Make your displays easy on the eyes. The most beautiful, highest quality clothing and accessories in the world will look unattractive on a cheap or even slightly damaged mannequin. Mannequins are like salespeople; make them look nice. Create eye-catching displays using your most visually appealing and best-selling items.

Principle #4: SHOCK VALUE

How will you leave a lasting impression on your customers and get them to talk about your store, company, and products with others? Be unexpected. Be provocative. Think outside the display case. Take risks. Be controversial. Display odd clothing combinations that may not be liked, but will be remembered. Consider not using mannequins to display merchandise at all, but rather as publicity tools.

Principle #5: SIMPLICITY

How will you communicate your sales message clearly and quickly to your customers? Find your core message and translate it visually. Most of us process information more effectively if it is presented visually. Display mannequins in a way that conveys your sales message and converts passersby into shoppers and ultimately into buyers.