In our opinion, visual merchandising is halfway between sales and an art. Visual
merchandising covers the entire range of practices involved in organising and displaying merchandise in a retail setting with the goal of attracting more customers and increasing revenue.
There are some basic pieces of equipment required to set up an attractive display, especially if you are working in the fashion or textiles sector: clothing racks and cabinets, display tables, display plinths and a mannequin for sale being among the most common.
In fact, if you have ever walked past a shop window, especially over holiday periods like Christmas and Easter, then you know how integral mannequins are for creating eye-catching displays.
In this blog, we will look at the role of mannequins in visual merchandising more closely, including bodyforms and torsos, to help you perfect your own retail store.
Introduction to Visual Merchandising
Visual merchandising can be understood as the simple arrangement and display of merchandise in retail, however, its impact goes far deeper. The AIDA sales method describes the process of first grabbing attention, and how this translates into interest, desire and action. As you can see, visual merchandising (attention) sits at the very top of this funnel. Your visual displays are what customers see first, and if they’re compelling enough, then they frequently lead directly to a sale.
The Role of Mannequins in Retail
Mannequins provide a humanising element to the display of clothing and fashion accessories. The elegant dimensions of mannequins provide a human form on which to hang new fashion so that browsing customers get a sense of how the garment may look and hang on their own body. In essence, the model proportions of most mannequins mean that your product displays act like static fashion editorials that can provide the same amount of imagination and idealism as a fashion spread in Vogue.
Today, mannequins are far more dynamic than they were in the past, and come in a wide variety of materials, styles and postures.
Mannequins, Bodyforms or Torsos?
Mannequins come in three broad categories: standard mannequins, body forms and torsos. Standard mannequins are the full human figure, while body forms include just the body with part of the neck, shoulders, upper arms and thighs. Finally, torsos are just the torso area without arms, neck or legs.
Within these categories are further subcategories such as realistic or abstract styles, freestanding or hanging, adult or child, as well as a wide variety of materials, patterns and details to choose from.
Mannequins can be positioned in clever ways to break visual repetition and make your window and merchandise displays more dynamic.
Mannequins are not only for fashion retail, either. Customers want to imagine themselves genuinely using and interacting with your products, so whether you pose a mannequin reading a smart phone, using camping materials, or dancing through a vivid display of your top-selling products or concepts, to name just a few examples, mannequins bring a relatable factor to the allure of new wares.
If you’re in need of inspiration, check out these window displays by Bergdorf Goodman in New York, and the jaw-dropping Christmas displays at Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Liberty London and Selfridges. How could anyone resist?