6 Ways to get the most out of mannequins

get the most out of mannequins

The focus of visual marketing is presenting your products in a way which entices customers into your store – and subsequently into making a purchase. And in retail, a mannequin’s role is vital in this process; telling a sales story, helping the customer visualise how they could look in your clothing, and even just seeing the latest trends at a glance. But how can you get the most out of mannequins?

This article reveals top tips to make the most of your mannequins, helping you to use them in unique and cost-effective ways to transform your store…

Decide where to put mannequins

While the mannequin is one of the best and easiest visual merchandising props, it is essential to use them correctly for them to be successful.

The first point to consider is the space that you have available and the most effective locations for mannequins. These should be areas that are likely to capture customers’ attention, allowing you to display your products in the most visually appealing way.

To help create the maximum impact, they should be used effectively and sparingly, making sure they capture shoppers’ attention without making the shop look cluttered.

Here are some of the common locations to put these multipurpose props:

Shop Window Mannequins

Your Window is what initially attracts shoppers into your store, enabling you to create visual communication between your brand and potential customers. By having a mannequin display, you can present your product personality, the style of your brand and what your clothes look like on the wearer.

Shop Window display

Instore mannequins

Once a customer has entered your shop, retail mannequins can be used to keep them engaged and showcase specific products. Your front-of-store mannequins should highlight the unique collections you have. Further inside, you should aim to showcase as much of your range as possible.

Mannequins for ecommerce

Using mannequins for ecommerce sites is a much cheaper option for product photography than using expensive models. They also allow your products to hold their shape, which can make product images seem more professional and consistent.

While ecommerce websites may not have the same staff or instore vibe, you can still use imagery of a mannequin to create an atmosphere, communicate brand personality and reveal the latest trends. These can be utilised for individual product imagery, or anywhere else on an ecommerce website, such as website banner imagery.

Some online retailers will use these great props in the same way they would use a model, while others will use ghost mannequins.

6 Top tips to get the most out of mannequins

You can get the most out of store mannequins by utilising them for so much more. Here are some of the best ways to use mannequins:

1. Show your products off

To make your products look their best, the mannequins need to fit the exact measures of your clothes. Your customers will get a closer, panoramic view of how your clothes look on, so you’ll want them to fit perfectly, whilst on display.

As well as making sure the products are flattering, they need to be presented in the best possible way. Steam garments to remove any creases before displaying them on a store mannequin.

Get the most out of your mannequins - retail product display

2. Tell a story

Using a mannequin display can utilise storytelling to great effects. For example, if you are promoting a beachwear range or towels, you could have retail mannequins positioned on beach towels, fanning themselves. You could even use a beach ball suspended by wire, with two mannequins positioned as though they’re hitting it to each other, generating a feeling of energy and movement in your window.

A backdrop of sun, sea and sand would create a summer vibe within the window, bringing happy, holiday connotations to your customers and increasing the desire to buy. By positioning the display in a unique way, you are also differentiating yourself from the other, less exciting shop windows that don’t showcase their atmosphere in the same way!

If you have an eveningwear range, you could use several retail mannequins together to build the feeling of a group of people going out. Customers will subconsciously put themselves into that situation and imagine wearing the outfit while out with their friends.

Instore mannequin display - storytelling

3. Use lighting

Lighting can be used to draw attention to the products that you are trying to sell. Consider choosing lighting that fits the ambience of the store, as well as portraying the products in the best possible way.

For example, traditional strip lighting is rarely flattering. Experiment with warmer lights, as well as lighting from different angles.

How to get the most out of your mannequins - lighting techniques

4. Use a range

Why not use different mannequins to demonstrate various aspects of your brand? One could be more focused on the accessories you sell, jewellery for example. Another could be layered in various clothes to showcase how your different items can work together to create a look. If you sell both male and female ranges, then displaying them next to each other shows how they can interact together and again improves the storytelling element of your display.

5. Get creative and show movement

Not every mannequin needs to be standing upright. Show customers how products look when they are being worn or used. There are many creative ways to improve mannequin displays.

Having movement allows your customer to envisage an event or circumstance. This is especially true for children’s clothes where their parents will know they’ll be running around in them. Child mannequins should be positioned to show movement and, ideally, you could create a story in your window of children playing. Again, creating a feeling of movement and excitement attracts the buyer’s attention but also serves in this case to highlight product practicality.

Visual merchandising techniques

Alternatively, why not show a mannequin sitting down wearing an item of clothing, or even sitting on a deck chair that you are selling?

6. Showcase all types of product

These great props can be used to sell many other types of retail products. As well as utilising them to sell clothing and jewellery, they can also help to sell any products that they are placed alongside, particularly when used to tell a story or set a scene.

FAQs to help you get the most out of mannequins

What is a ghost mannequin?

A ghost mannequin is typically used to photograph single items of clothing. This involves taking a picture of a product on a mannequin, and then editing it out of the picture to show only the piece of clothing. This works well to demonstrate how it would fit on a person, without taking attention away from the product.

How do I choose a mannequin?

The best way to choose the right mannequin is to think about your objectives. Any visual merchandising props that you buy must be designed to showcase your products in the best possible way. Buy store mannequins that reflect your typical target market and products, as these are most likely to capture their attention.

How do you know what size mannequin to get?

This depends on the products that you want to sell. They should be the right size to fit your products or tell a specific story. It can be beneficial to get a range of different sized mannequins, allowing you to showcase a range of clothing.

Is it hard to dress a mannequin?

As with anything, practice makes perfect. It can be a little time-consuming to dress a mannequin at first, however, with regular stock rotation, you’ll get faster in no time.

Are mannequins effective?

Yes. Mannequins are incredibly effective, helping to capture customers’ attention, showcase products and encourage sales. Understanding visual merchandising techniques can help you to get the most out of these props.

How can I buy cheap retail mannequins?

If you’re looking for these effective props on a budget, it can be beneficial to look for second-hand versions. This is the best way to keep costs low when purchasing any visual merchandising props for displays.

Where can I find inspiration?

If you’re looking for inspiration and ideas, there are plenty of places that you can research innovative techniques.