Dress forms and mannequins are great for presenting clothing similarly to how they will look out in the wild. They can be used near merchandise to encourage shoppers to make more than one purchase – to show how a skirt matches perfectly with a blouse. Forms are also great for window displays – they can grab a passerby’s attention and lure him or her into the store.
By adding form covers, jersey forms become even more versatile. Some covers can mimic a patterned undershirt, or they can simply complement the piece adorning it. At times, a plain mannequin can look out of place in a busy display, or it can seem incomplete. Adding a cover ensures that the form coordinates with the rest of the display’s motif or theme.
Here are 11 fun ways to use your forms that you might not have considered before.
Displaying undergarments on a regular rack can make your establishment feel like one of the big box stores. It gives off a feeling of unimportance. Show off your brand’s personality by mixing things up a bit. Use a dress form with a patterned cover to display undergarments. The colors on the cover should compliment the product it is displaying. The result should be something fun and little quirky – definitely not boring or bland.
Scarf season is nigh! Whether that excites you or not is a matter of personal preference, but no matter what your opinion on the changing season, you need to cater to incoming temperature changes. Customers will be on the lookout for new scarves, and it’s much easier for them to find them if you display them on a dress form. You can drape the scarf as it’s meant to be worn, tie it on like belt, or layer them in interesting ways. No matter what you do with them, the customer will be able to examine the materials and patterns without a problem.
Dress forms aren’t just for dresses, and they might not even be just for clothes. Consider using them to display jewelry and other accessories. Necklaces are an easy choice. You can pair them with a top and make a more complete figure. Settle a hat on top of the form, tie belts around it, and pop on some shades! Place more traditional jewelry displays nearby if you have a large selection.
4. Be unique
Don’t copy the big box stores – that’s an experience your customers can get in any town across the country. Take some time to figure out what your brand is and what message you want to convey. Can you exhibit those qualities with your forms and mannequins? Seth Godin, author of several books on marketing, wrote in his blog that brands need to be more than just labels. He defines brand as the things you do to get people to pay extra for your product. Do your store’s displays add to your brand in Godin’s sense of the word?
5. Exude professionalism
Anyone can hang some clothes on a form. What are you doing with yours that shows customers that you know what you’re doing? Are you pinning the clothes so they look perfectly fitted? Does the merchandise on the form match the surrounding products? Form covers can go a long way to adding a sense of professionalism to your store fixtures.
6. Men’s clothing
This is also a money-saving tip. If you’re rotating merchandise and end up with more men’s clothing than women’s, consider using your dress forms in this unexpected way. Perhaps you want to show how a man’s girlfriend might wear his dress shirt. You could also use a bare form to display ties – this is less distracting than having a bunch of patterns competing for the customer’s attention.
7. Complete your theme
Forms and mannequins can add a feeling of movement and energy to your window displays. Posing them in active stances can add to a sports- or outdoors-themed window. The Maine Development Foundation suggested adding an element of entertainment to the shopping experience. This tip holds especially true if your products are aimed at children. Kids often dislike shopping, and it’s their No. 1 priority to go back home to their toys and games. What can you do make the shopping experience more enjoyable for them? Instead of creating a theme for your children’s section, try thinking of it as an environment. Make the forms fun and goofy.
8. Window displays
We’ve mentioned window displays already, but how can we center the display around jersey forms? The North Central Regional Center For Rural Development suggested using colored light racks to illuminate mannequins. The changing colors will attract attention to the forms and thus the merchandise they are displaying. The source noted that warm colors work best in this situation, and even added that covering the floor in straw will intensify the colors.
When changing displays it’s extremely important that customers are able to tell that you have actually changed things around. Subtlety is not the route to follow. Entrepreneur magazine advised retailers to change out their window displays every one or two months.
“The more often you change your windows, the more people will look at your store,” Linda Cahan, a retail design expert, told the source.
This is another area in which form covers are extremely useful. By changing them every so often, one window display will be that much different from the next.
“Use a cover to make a jersey form look like brand new.”
10. Cover damaged, scratched forms
If your form is damaged, it isn’t enough to cover it up with a pretty dress. If a customer is serious about buying the dress, they are going to inspect it closely and, in the process, uncover the unsightly damage. If the problem is merely cosmetic, use a form cover to make everything look like brand new.
11. Add more props
How many items do you display on each form? If the answer is only one, you may be underutilizing this retail tool. In her book “Fashion Retailing: A Multi-Channel Approach,” Ellen Diamond wrote that non-typical displays like ladders and tables can make products pop out at shoppers. But that shouldn’t be an incentive to skip the mannequins all together. Use these found props to add to a scene and then place the mannequin – dressed appropriately from head to toe – inside of it.