A market leader for over 62 years in store solutions, the store fixture industry, custom services and retail packaging. Offering genuine partnership, integrity, reliability, excellent customer service and fast shipping. Your Brand, Your Way, We Make It Happen!
Does your clothing store want to help customers envision how they'll look wearing your merchandise? How about using a silent salesperson? Mannequins are a proven way to not only attract customers, but also assist them in moving toward a buying decision.
Hannah Shealy at the University of South Carolina, citing a study by Jain, Sharma and Narwhal, reported that 45% of the women surveyed said that they often get ideas of what clothing they would like to buy only after looking at mannequin displays. Shealy went on to say that mannequins have an ability to influence shoppers' thoughts about merchandise as well as their ultimate purchase decisions.
If you'd like to promote your brand, boost sales and encourage customers through the use of mannequins, here are some tips on how to do so.
Offer fashion ideas
Window or in-store mannequin displays can show your products in use, complete with accessories and backdrops suggesting settings and occasions like home, office, traveling or a night on the town. Arrangements featuring complementary tops and bottoms help the visualization process. Since many customers like to buy what they see, helping them picture a whole outfit brings you that much closer to making a sale.
Present a relatable, three-dimensional view
Mannequins are much better at the job of merchandising than clothes on hangers or apparel items neatly folded on a shelf. For instance, necklines and hemlines are realistically depicted on full-length forms so shoppers can instantly see the big picture and decide whether the outfit is right for them. It's the next best thing to having a live human model in the store.
Picture your customer
Sometimes, if you cater to a certain audience, gender or lifestyle, your choice of mannequin styles can help you connect with the customer better. For example, mannequins with a variety of ethnicities express the diversity and inclusivity that your fashions are designed for. Or, if you carry children's clothing, then kids mannequins are a must.
Focus on products
In some cases, especially for sale items, you may wish to highlight specific merchandise, like jackets, blouses, slacks and so forth. Mannequin forms, such as torsos or pant forms, focus shoppers' attention on particular apparel elements. You can choose from male, female, adult or toddler, different flesh tones (including fabric or smooth finish), tabletop or freestanding displays, plus-size and maternity models and more.
Depict action and movement
Some products, like athletic wear or sports gear, are meant to be pictured in dynamic activities like jogging or exercising. Whatever helps your customers imagine themselves wearing the merchandise in real life, everyday settings will go a long way toward clinching that buying decision.
Mix it up
Mannequins are not a one-size-fits-all technique. Sometimes, realistic anatomical figures are better at reaching a particular customer; other times, a more eclectic or abstract approach will succeed in connecting with shoppers who don't envision themselves in the exact body type or appearance of average mannequins. Variety is the key to appealing to as wide a group of customers as possible. As long as the displays work for your store's unique brand image, feel free to mix and match to most effectively showcase your particular product offerings
For retailers, a common rule of thumb is to keep updating and refreshing as often as possible. That's because a store that seems stodgy and unchanging is less likely to exude a trendsetting, inviting image. Shoppers who visit your establishment often are more likely to lapse into a "same old, same old" mentality if there's nothing different from one visit to the next. And first-time visitors, though less aware of static decor, still need some sort of visually interesting enticement to get them in the door.
So if you want to add new drama and excitement to your sales floor, here are some creative and helpful ways to do it with visual displays.
1. Paper decorations
To create a festive, cheerful decor, you can choose from imaginative hanging paper decorations like hearts, hot air balloons, snowflakes, birds, paper fans, starbursts, flowers and even clever shapes like cupcakes and ornaments. There are also larger-than-life corrugated cardboard letters, numbers, and symbols that lend a three-dimensional touch to any message, as well as stylish white vinyl and elegant silver metallic sheeting backdrops.
2. Bulldog mannequins
It's amazing how many different kinds of merchandise can be held by or draped over an adorable bulldog mannequin – even small signs and promotional messages! Bulldog forms are available standing or sitting, and in an assortment of popular, eye-catching colors and finishes. They're perfect for small apparel items and accessories like jewelry, gloves, scarves, hats and more. Best of all, they're especially well-suited for children's products.
Picture vivid, colorful strings of butterflies, bright mirror disks, or delicate dragonflies strategically placed around mannequin displays, hanging from shelves and fixtures, arranged in a window display… or anywhere else you can imagine. With help from nearly invisible fishing line, garlands can also be suspended from the ceiling in a realistic, lifelike simulation of nature's beauty. And you can use them either as multiple strands or separate them for individually accenting special merchandise.
4. Hand displays
Hands on stands or stylishly sculpted pieces – these are just right for jewelry, but also serve as a great place to drape other merchandise like silken scarves, or to hold small signs. Arranged horizontally, hands can also double as pointers, directing the eye to a nearby product display. They are available in white, black and wooden forms, as well as a flexible version mounted on a small white or black base.
5. Lights and action
Need a bright, attention-getting way to focus shoppers on sale merchandise or other special displays? Simply plug in a few dazzling string lights that can serve as radiant "runways" or signal flares pointing to where the action is. You can choose from flexible, 10-foot long clear rope lighting (connect multiple strands up to 300 ft. for even greater effect) and battery-powered, six-and-a-half-foot LED string lights on bendable copper wire. Or, for even more drama, there are nine-foot strands of elegant rose leaf lights, which will open before your very eyes when misted with an ordinary spray bottle.
Where do you find customers in spring and summer? Outdoors, of course! And that's where you need to focus your attention, too – with outdoor events and sidewalk sales.
Here are some helpful suggestions for displays and outdoor promotions to keep profits sizzling when the warm weather arrives.
Eye-catching banners – Many retail store banners can be used indoors or out. Clearance and sale banners, "open" and "sale" flags, and standard and hurricane pennants all draw attention to your wares through the simple principle of movement. When these are blowing in the breeze, they're hard to ignore – so passersby naturally gravitate to where the action is.
Spotlight the merchandise – Sale cards and sale signs immediately communicate what the event is, which merchandise is on sale, where the clearance items are and what kinds of discounts are available. You can choose from generic promotions or themed signs for occasions like Mother's Day, Father's Day, Back to School and more.
Put it on the boards – Whatever business you're in – apparel and accessories, home goods, jewelry or food and dining – you can let shoppers know what's special with hand-made messages using chalkboards and markers. Boards come in all sizes and shapes, from mini-stickers and tabletop signs to sidewalk A-frames, with a wide range of color markers to choose from. The big advantage of chalkboards is being able to update messages on a moment's notice, like when you receive new sale inventory at the last minute, or you've suddenly run out of a popular menu item because of unexpected demand.
Showing off the goods
Racks, shelves, trays and displays – How do you get your merchandise outside? Simple – there are a wide variety of display materials, including rolling racks and metal and wood carts for larger items, or caddys, trays, bins and baskets for smaller ones. Firefly's Main St. Collection has nearly every type of display you need, along with mirrors, hook racks, easels and blackboards.
Mannequin magic – A fashion item that's just folded up and stacked on a shelf can really come to life when it's displayed "in use" on a human form, for all to see. Plastic mannequins can help you do that, and they're available in both male and female versions, with different wig hairstyles to complete the picture. Compared to other mannequin varieties used year-round in-store, the plastic versions are not only a smart, practical choice for outdoor events, they're also more affordable.
Don't get uptight, get wired – Wire racks and bins are another great method of displaying merchandise, especially small impulse items and discounted products. They're lightweight, easy to transport and come in different configurations like baskets, bins, vertical displays, literature racks and spinners.
Here come the people – Ready, set, sell! You don't have to be a major amusement park or movie theater to need some means of guiding customers inside or around your sidewalk event. Stanchions and crowd control devices are convenient and easy to set up or move. It's an excellent way to help you organize and cope with lines of shoppers waiting to check out. They're also helpful when you take your show on the road to fairs and festivals.
Launching a new store? Or renovating an existing one? Both of these situations have more in common than you think. Here are some ideas for bringing some excitement onto the sales floor, whether you're doing a new space or a simple reset or remodel.
New store necessities
According to Small Business Trends, there are some things that no retail store can do without. Some of the items mentioned include signage, both outdoor and indoor. You'll also need shelves, racks and hangers – especially if you sell clothing. And one of the most important essentials is a way to handle transactions – a point of sale system that is advanced enough to do cash, credit and newer payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Pay. Unless you're going totally cashless, you'll also want to consider a secure drawer or cash register.
Remodeling with creativity
When your store starts getting into the rut of "same old, same old," that means it's time to breathe new life into the decor. Entrepreneur says refreshing your look doesn't have to mean starting all over from scratch. Their advice includes cleaning the clutter and maximizing space, adding new colors to the design scheme (and even carrying that through to your website), and adding new technology if it's relevant or helpful.
Bob Phibbs, the "Retail Doctor," goes a step further, with suggestions such as changing displays monthly, putting the newest, fanciest, most expensive, dream-worthy items in the most prominent place in your store, avoiding monochromatic displays, improving store lighting, making sure you incorporate opportunities for shoppers to pick up and touch the products and putting price tags on everything.
Don't forget the bags, wrap, pricing equipment and store supplies
When you're focused on the big picture, creating new looks for store displays, it's easy to lose sight of little things that function more in the background, but can also have a big impact on sales. Firefly can supply all of these needs as well. For example, shopping bags, perhaps with your store name imprinted on them, are a nice touch. And gift wrapping isn't just for the holidays – it's a year-round, personalized service that cements good customer relations. There are wrapping paper choices for all occasions, both simple and fancy. Price guns and price tags are obviously a necessity, especially during a reset. You can even order different sales tags, alteration tags and carpet tags in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes.
And lastly, store supplies can range from shopping baskets to dressing room supplies, anti-fatigue mats for sales staff behind the counter, crowd control stanchions, shipping and office supplies, store mirrors, easels and even retail security systems.
Is your retail store using space to its best advantage? The sales floor may be filled with merchandise, but making walls work for you is a different matter. Here are some ways to add dramatic new displays as well as obtain other selling tools to make your job easier.
Slatwall panels offer amazing versatility
Imagine remaking your plain, bare store walls, choosing from a large variety of different styles, colors and finishes, including textured, smooth and unfinished – delivering the distinctive decor you've always envisioned for your store. You'll have a customized look that makes your brand different from the competition.
Now picture the extreme functionality – Slatwalls, designed with equally spaced slots over their entire panel area, giving you the ability to hang display hooks, wire baskets, brackets, shelving, promotional signs and other accessories wherever they're needed. And when you're doing remodeling or a reset, that means you'll have the flexibility to change things around effortlessly. With the Slatwall system, there's no limit to the imaginative ways you can display merchandise to catch shoppers' attention.
With practicality and design like this, you'll be maximizing your store's square footage while boosting sales and driving profits.
Slatwalls' 3D Textured Decorative Walls and Panels offer an astounding array of unique finishes. Why settle for plain, when you can have realistic old painted wood, brick, driftwood, subway tile, diamond plate, tire treads, corrugated metal or any number of other special effects that make your retail vision come to life? The three-dimensional designs really put Slatwalls a step above the ordinary.
Plus tools for price tagging, message boards and more
Once you've decided on your decor, it's time to focus on details like other selling tools.
Pricing and tagging guns, for example, come in a wide range of models, allowing both single and double line tagging, and even tagging on fine fabrics. There are different colored fasteners available as well as needles, both standard and heavy duty. Plus, there are carpet-style hang tags of all sorts, in addition to repair, alteration and layaway tags.
Other store supplies include promotional materials like message boards and sale posters, along with other practical essentials.
Message boards range from free-standing slate, chalkboard and dry erase-type boards to two-sided, A-frame construction and sidewalk swinger styles with interchangeable lettering.
Promotional signs include sale signs, acrylic card holders, chrome finish sign holders, in both free-standing floor stands as well as individual frames that can be mounted on clothing racks; bulletin stands; and smaller-sized clip-mounting signs that can be attached to individual merchandise items.
There are also contest entry boxes, a large selection of open & close signs (some with space for writing in your store hours) and a variety of sale and discount cards for affixing to clothing or displays.
Firefly Store Solutions offers all these essentials, plus shopping baskets, display easels, office and shipping supplies, dressing room supplies, mirrors, security devices and systems and hanging supplies.
With the arrival of spring and summer, it's time to think about giving your store merchandising a refreshing, dramatic new look. Attracting customers' attention is easier than you imagine, with the help of designer racks, displays and accessories that lend a creative flair to any product. One particularly stylish approach, especially if you cater to younger generations, is capitalizing on hot trends like steampunk or retrofuturism that combine a vintage and industrial feel.
Using piping to display bracelets, handbags or necklaces – These are simple but eye-catching ways to shine the spotlight on your fashion merchandise. Featuring real industrial piping and dark wooden bases, display fixtures like these can truly complement your products. These are well-suited for faux vintage or antique creations.
Natural and dark wood shelving – Give a touch of character and authenticity to folded apparel or other sale items. Sturdy and durable, with a natural or reclaimed look, wood shelves work well with other piping fixtures, allowing you to build one-of-a-kind wall systems that are uniquely yours, whatever your space or particular display needs.
Put it in the basket – Using chrome look baskets combined with hanger and shelving units is another great example of how "old" can become stylishly "new." Strong but "see-through" in a different way, baskets invite shoppers to pick through loose merchandise items like gloves, flip flops, Koosh balls or a variety of other small products. Their casual, retro look hearkens back to days of bicycle baskets and supermarket shopping carts, connecting past with present and future.
Piping "hot" display tables – Not your average shop table! Constructed with industrial piping for legs and framing, these tables even boast natural weld marks on the metal. By using out-of-the-ordinary tables, you can give a modern urban or rustic feel to your tabletop displays. Square and rectangular styles are available, plus a showcase version that offers added 2-in-1 versatility, since the top detaches for use as a separate, secure display case that calls extra attention to special merchandise.
Spread the word with sign holders – Got racks? Add instant signs with an acrylic sign holder that features a raw steel finish metal channel, and is designed with a C clamp for use with round, square or rectangular tubing. You can also choose either a sign holder with a natural wood base or a small easel-type, tabletop sign holder. All of these easily complement industrial piping fixture displays. They're great for product details, sale signs, promotional signage or store information.
Bars, hang rails and wall hooks – If you're creating a distinctive store environment using industrial piping and other natural or eco-friendly materials, there are a wide range of connecting and accessory items to round out the decor theme. Whether it's a wall hook with authentic curved joints and flanges, or straight pipe lengths serving as outriggers, bars and hang rails, these display fixtures are both sturdy and stylish, giving the appearance of reclaimed, recycled plumbing hardware. When customers walk into your store, they'll immediately know by the look you've created that this is a place where they can truly feel "at home."
Great for home decor, too! Many of these vintage industrial piping and shelving units would make a fashionable addition to your home decor as well. Just picture them in your living room, closets, office or garage!
Retailers know that the shopping experience doesn't end with just choosing a product and going through checkout. If you're a smart store owner, add-ons like gift wrap can cement customer relationships while promoting pass-along brand awareness.
Consider this: bringing home a merchandise item intended as a gift could take one of two directions:
No further action by your sales clerk or cashier, with the customer simply walking away from the store with a generically bagged item that still requires gift paper and bows to be purchased, price tags to be removed and precious time spent fussing over carefully wrapping the newly-bought merchandise. Worse yet, if they have to purchase gift wrap, they'll probably go to another store, where they might spend money they could have spent at yours.
Or: Allowing your salespeople to shine by adding a thoughtful personal touch to the transaction. It begins with asking whether the item is intended as a gift, who it's for, what the occasion is, and whether the customer would like to take advantage of your free gift wrapping. Conversation can continue while the item is being wrapped. And when it finishes up, you'll have a happy, satisfied customer.
Take customer service to the next level with complimentary gift wrapping.
It's easy to see how the second approach will not only win you more friends (and repeat shoppers) but also encourage word-of-mouth and generate additional exposure to prospective new customers. The conversation between gift-giver and recipient could potentially mention the friendly, helpful service received at your store, as well as an appreciative remark about the beautiful, complimentary gift wrapping that your store provides.
Don't underestimate the power of a personal touch
While it's tempting to take things like gift wrap for granted, you can't underestimate the extra marketing mileage you'll get when salespeople not only engage customers in conversation but also go out of their way to provide special touches like easy, hassle-free gift wrapping. You can't put a price on it, but rest assured that you'll really make a customer's day. More than likely, they'll be back again and again.
Picture the many possibilities
When it comes to customer-pleasing gift wrapping, of course, there are a number of products and options to consider. Firefly Store Solutions offers decorative tissue and gift wrapping paper in a wide assortment of designs, patterns and colors – many of these featuring either special holiday themes or attractive, colorful motifs for everyday occasions. For smaller items, Jeweler's Rolls gift wrap is an ideal solution. There are also accessories like gift paper dispensers to make the job of wrapping even easier.
When your target market includes environmentally aware shoppers, having a store that reflects your commitment to the eco-friendly movement is a must. There are a variety of ways to attract attention, including display and merchandising materials that reflect your commitment to "go green." This helps your customers see you and your business through the lens of a quality-conscious, community-minded merchant whose values align with theirs.
Here are four ideas that can help you accomplish that goal – and even save you money in the long run:
1. Eco-friendly gift boxes, bags, gift wrap and tissue
Even hangers can be eco-friendly.
Packaging and presentation make a big difference. An eco-friendly gift box or bag solidifies the brand image you've carefully nurtured for your store, ending the customer's purchase experience on a very positive note. Not only that, it's a smart, practical way to expand the circulation of your brand, since boxes and shopping bags often get reused in unexpected ways beyond the original sale.
Whether it's a large box, small box, gift card box, shopping bags or eco-friendly tissue and wrapping paper, beautiful finishing touches like these will tell your customers you truly care about the environment and encourage them to return to your establishment.
Eco-friendly gift boxes, shopping bags, wrapping paper and tissue papers come in a wide range of colors, styles and designs (many of which are earth-themed) – so you can choose the right ones for your particular business.
3. Eco-friendly displays, mannequins and media forms
It's always more exciting and effective to show off clothing and fashion accessories employing mannequins and other dramatic display methods, compared to uniform stacks of neatly-folded merchandise sitting on shelves. This offers you another great opportunity to go green, with display materials that are as eco-friendly as the products they're showcasing.
Mannequins come in a number of styles, sized for both child and adult displays. The creative options for these classic abstract mannequins include sitting and standing models, male and female torsos, fabric and plastic media, and even an appealing, whimsical bulldog form available in different eye-catching colors (which can be used to show off smaller merchandise like hats, scarves, fashion accessories and jewelry, as well as holding placards and special promotional signage).
4. Eco-friendly anti-fatigue mats
Supporting store personnel with thoughtful measures like anti-fatigue mats may not be as visible or readily apparent to customers as store displays and gift boxes, but it can be another way to demonstrate environmental consciousness when those mats are eco-friendly!
Keeping your sales associates happy and healthy, especially when they're on their feet all day, means a cheerful, energetic, better-motivated workforce – which ultimately translates to more positive, productive and profitable interactions with customers, and increased sales as a result.
Eco-friendly anti-fatigue mats come in three sizes (20" x 32", 24" x 36", and 36" x 60") to fit your particular behind-the-counter needs, and are available in both black and taupe.
For more tips on making your retail more eco-friendly, visit our resource center today.
Jewelry of all kinds – from fancy to simple – really attracts shoppers' attention when presented on a background that accentuates its artful form and design. Burlap displays are excellent choices for this since their natural, homespun appearance serves to highlight rather than detract from the product.
As a rustic material once associated only with potato sacks and other humble objects, burlap has really come into its own as a popular ingredient in fashion merchandising. It's a hip and happening fabric that offers both beauty and practicality to savvy jewelry vendors everywhere.
Here are eight reasons why burlap works so well for jewelry marketing:
Burlap is a trendy, practical choice for jewelry displays.
Neutral background – Many beige, brown or unbleached burlap fabrics are neutral in nature, so they are a perfect complement to nearly any color scheme, from subtle, traditional gold and silver to vibrant, innovative designs blending traditional metals with bright insets of colorful jewels, appliques or other materials.
Eco-conscious – These days, burlap is not only trendy, but it's also earth-friendly. Ecologically-minded shoppers will be able to see at a glance that you share their tastes, values and sensitivity.
Theme approaches – Burlap fabrics are ideal for theme merchandising concepts like beach and barn, shabby chic, vintage, woodsy, old-fashioned country and other warm, homey settings.
Versatility – Whether the jewelry you're displaying is traditional in nature or more bold and trend-setting, burlap has an amazing ability to adapt to any style or design. From glamour to grunge, burlap backgrounds handle it all.
Practical advantages – Because of its rough, coarse weave, burlap doesn't show fingerprints and smudges, compared to other materials. Also, the texture serves as a great disguise, so pin holes from jewelry pins are barely noticeable. Best of all, the fabric itself is relatively wrinkle-free, inexpensive and easy to maintain. Both jewelry artisans and stores, large and small, appreciate burlap's incredible practicality and flexibility.
Different shapes, sizes and forms – Burlap jewelry displays are available in a wide variety of store fixtures and forms. These include stylized necklace busts in different sizes and shapes, which are wonderful for showing off long chains and large pendants; T-bars for displaying bracelets and watches; necklace easels; burlap pads and shapes; jewelry cases and trays; ring displays; earring trees and stands as well as creative tiered display bars.
Drama, depth and clarity – Burlap lends a sense of depth and clarity to whatever merchandise is being displayed. The artisan's exquisite craftsmanship really comes to the forefront, encouraging customers to focus on the fine detailing and the subtle nuances of color and shape, as well as the dramatic flair present in each piece.
Simple in nature – Last but not least, burlap fabric is simple, uncomplicated, humble and extremely down to earth. If jewelry design could be compared to musical composition, an unpretentious burlap background is the perfect counterpoint to the orchestrated elegance of jewelry creations.
Planning and strategic thinking can make a big difference when it comes to retail store design. How you utilize your shelves can impact customer satisfaction and store performance.
Managing your retail display strategy can be more of a challenge than it first appears. To maximize your shelf space and improve the customer experience, consider these tips:
Use the right type of shelving units
Each type of shelving unit serves a unique function. While gondola shelves allow many items to be displayed next to each other, boutique shelves can highlight specific items and bring them to eye level.
Retailers need to think about how their store is laid out and how customers will travel through it. For instance, arranging shelves in rows can make it easier for customers to find things, but they might not always make it to the back of the store. Utilizing shelves and rolling racks in tandem can encourage shoppers to move through the entire store. Retailers may find it more efficient to hang jackets and coats, but fold pants and shirts on shelves, for example.
Fold each item for visibility and volume
Recently, people across America have discovered the Japanese style of organization known as KonMari. This method encourages people to fold their clothes so that all items in a drawer or on a shelf can be viewed in a single glance. Retailers can benefit from these folding styles too, because customers will be less inclined to unfold and move merchandise to get a better look at it.
For example, the KonMari method recommends that people lay their socks flat and fold them in halves or thirds so the items can stand upright next to each other. This way, someone can see all of the available pairs of socks without moving any of them. Japanese retailers like Uniqlo use similar folding techniques effectively.
Leave a comfortable amount of space between shelves
Narrow aisles between shelving units can make people feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable. If there isn't enough space for two people to walk through the aisle without touching each other, the shelves are too close together and should be moved. Likewise, long aisles should be broken up so that shoppers can quickly enter and leave the aisle – otherwise, shoppers could feel trapped.
Use data to optimize product placement
Rather than guessing which pieces of merchandise are most likely to draw new customers to your store, consider using data to guide your decisions. You can analyze your sales data to see which items are selling the fastest, then move those items to shelves closer to the front of the store.
You may also want to experiment with rotating items from the back to see if it makes a difference. The more you can back up your decisions with observable data, the more likely you are to see success with your placement strategies.