Monday, June 22, 2009

Buying Retail Store Displays and Fixtures Online

As a retailer, you are lucky to have a wide variety of store displays and store fixtures at your fingertips, online. Make sure that you choose a supplier that is also the manufacturer to ensure the best prices. It is also a good idea to go through a company that provides all of the items you will need to stock your retail store. This way, reorders, returns and customer service will all be consistently how you expect them to be and go as smoothly as you need them to.

You will need all sorts of store displays to design your store. You will sometimes need items on short notice, so consider who keeps a large inventory of in-stock items before you choose a supplier. You will be ordering retail packaging, tags and labels, signs and banners, clothing racks, hangers, security devices, mannequins and more, so be sure that you choose someone who can accommodate all of these needs.

Keeping with one company will simplify your books and help you keep everything organized. Don’t be fooled by price alone. Compare quality and customer reviews of companies that you are considering before you decide. After you determine which suppliers are top notch, another thing to look at is special deals or discounts. Many offer shipping deals, or percentages off of your order around holidays. Look for promotions and be sure to ask about special offers when you call to talk to them.

This brings up the next point, customer service. Can you call the company that you chose and speak to a real person? Is the person on the other end of the line friendly, eager to please and knowledgeable? The last thing you need is a problem order and an untrained person on the other end that does not know how to fix it. Or even worse, you have to wait days and days for an e-mail reply to your question that may or may not contain the answer you were looking for.

You need someone with a wide range of retail store fixtures and displays, a large inventory of in-stock items, helpful and knowledgeable customer service employees, occasional special deals and discounts, a proven track record of quality items in a variety of store items, and someone who is willing to stand behind their products.

Once you find that dream manufacturer that is also the supplier, you will not only get the most bang for your buck, but you will have a partner in running your store. Buying high quality store displays and fixtures can sometimes be a trial and error procedure. But, with these few steps that get you through the research, you are sure to find a supplier of retail store displays and display cases that will be an asset to your business.

About the Author: Ron Maier is the Vice President of S & L Store Fixtures, a leading online resource for retail display cases including mannequins, mannequin forms, gridwall and slatwall store fixtures. For more information, please visit http://www.slstoredisplays.com.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Retail Mannequins Attract Customers

The use of mannequins in a retail setting has long been recognized as a merchandising gold mine. Mannequins are notorious for boosting sales and drawing in customers. But why? Here we analyze what a mannequin really does for clothing and for retailers.

We know that people are unpredictable. We never know when and why they might decide to purchase an item. There are a lot of elements that go into determining what a person will buy and how much they are willing to pay. Of course, a lot of these things are out of our control. But, the things that we can control, we should.

People shop at malls looking for inspiration. They want to see the latest styles. They need to find clothing that helps them to establish who they are and what image they want to portray. Their choices can be influenced by lighting, music, signage, or promotions. You may be wondering what is going on inside of those heads as they pass your store and merely peer inside. You need to grab their attention. Not only that, but you need to make them feel something. They need to connect with you in a way that lures them inside. Give them the inspiration that they desire.

Mannequins are the most effective way to help passers-by quickly and effectively connect with you. They see what they want to look like. The freshest styles, combined with the hottest accessories, all beautifully displayed on a body that looks how they wish to look. Mannequins can make clothing look like it was meant to look when it was designed. This is much preferred to limply hanging on a rack.

Use your mannequins to get your customers to feel a connection. To do this, you need to position them in a way that conveys something that your target audience can identify with. If you are targeting teenagers, you will need to create beach or pool scenes in summer, school or sports scenes in fall, and boyfriend/girlfriend scenes at Christmas. Give them a scene that will allow them to envision themselves there, where they long to be, looking how they want to look, with the people that they want to be with.

Creating this ideal can have a swift and definite influence on your shoppers. Possibly without even knowing why, they will venture into your store with an open attitude and a curiosity about how they can achieve the social ideal that has been presented by your mannequins.

About the Author: Ron Maier is the Vice President of S & L Store Fixtures, a leading online resource for retail display cases including mannequins, mannequin forms, gridwall and slatwall store fixtures. For more information, please visit http://www.slstoredisplays.com.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Retail Mannequin Display Ideas

Customers that enter your store are sure to notice your mannequin displays. Mannequins help to promote your merchandise and keep things fresh and changing in your store. Mannequins can help customers see what outfits look like off of the hanger and can even attract new customers. Learn how to stock your retail store with the right mannequins for your needs.

Your front window display is probably the most important place to use mannequins. People passing by can quickly get a first impression of your store. Use your window display to market your best items or ones that accurately give an example of the quality and style of clothing that you offer. Use them to promote exciting new things, like swim suit season or back to school time.

You can use interesting scenarios here and help draw in the crowd. Moving mannequin displays are very exciting. Ones that evoke feelings of friendship, popularity or family are also very effective. You can simply use matching mannequins to line up a display of merchandise. Uniformity or creativity will catch the eye. Use spotlights, fans, special effects or even music to draw the eye to your mannequin display.

Some items need mannequins or body forms to help show their true shape. You can purchase inexpensive hanging forms to place on the end of your garment racks throughout your store. You can get black, metallic, clear or glossy white mannequin torso forms that hang on the end of the rack. This helps to show how clothes look on. Sometimes they may hang limp on a hanger or simply not show the detail or quality that you want them to. Putting them on a mannequin form will help customers visualize what they really would look like if they were being worn.

You can get mannequin forms to help display and promote your merchandise throughout the store. There are head forms for wigs, hats, sunglasses and other accessories. Infant and child forms and mannequins are useful for displaying children’s ensembles. There are foot forms, leg forms, underwear forms, dress forms, pants forms and more. Most are freestanding and some have hangers for garment rack displays.

Mannequin forms are probably most well known for encouraging customers to purchase more than they planned on. Not only do you make your outfits look better by displaying what they look like on, but you can also show that you have other items that go well with it. You can add shoes, belts, hats, sunglasses, purses and watches to the outfit to boost sales of the accessories in your store.

Keep things changing in your store. It is so easy with mannequins to move them around and freshen up your displays. They are one of the most effective marketing tools you can buy and they can be a lot less expensive than you think. Save money and ensure quality by buying directly from a manufacturer that is also the supplier. You will cut out the middle man and keep more of your money in your own pocket.

Investing in mannequins could be one of the smartest moves you have made in marketing your retail store.

About the Author: Ron Maier is the Vice President of S & L Store Fixtures, a leading online resource for retail display cases including mannequins, mannequin forms, gridwall and slatwall store fixtures. For more information, please visit http://www.slstoredisplays.com.

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The Art of Visual Marketing

Our society defines and quantifies products or services often through a visual expression. This is where the art of visual marketing is important in its various processes and techniques, whether it is used to promote, sell, or distribute a product or service. Visual marketing permeates almost all consumer and marketing activities.

Why is visual marketing so valuable? Vision is our primary human sense. At a very early age, we use pattern recognition to differentiate and learn the nature of everything around us. The words you're reading right now are a prime example of our unique ability to recognize patterns.

Where is one place our business has the greatest visual impact? How about our window displays? A window display gives others an impression about your company and what you provide. It also is a calling card in that it can draw your customer’s into your store, or help promote a slow-moving item, announce a sale, or welcome a season. Window displays are valuable visual marketing tools but without being set up correctly they can give all the wrong visual cues. What creates a quality display?

Balance: Asymmetrical rather than symmetrical balance with the display.

Size of Objects: Place the largest object into display first.
Color: Helps set mood and feelings.

Focal Point: Where product and props/signage and background come together.

Lighting: Should accent focal point, if possible.

Simplicity: Less is more so know when to stop and don't add too many items.

Like any other aspect of retailing, creating attractive display cases takes a little skill and lots of trial and error. As your store changes, so will your opportunities for visual displays. Keep working at designing eye-catching and innovative ways to make your retail store profitable through visual merchandising.

Visual marketing is also about branding. With branding you are able to build an identity in the minds of your audience. As with creating window displays, there is also an art to this. For one you must try and keep your company’s image clear and concise.

Secondly, look at keeping your company’s message consistent, whether it is in your logo or your storefront display. Brand category leaders are invariably the organizations who employ the best visual marketing. Memorable, appropriate, and consistent visual images are presented across these company’s communication channels. It is easy to see how visual messaging, along with positive customer experiences, drive brand awareness, loyalty and repeat sales.

Any visual cue is going to tell your audience who you are. If you are aiming to be seen as unique, consistent, professional, and persuasive, your visual marketing with your branding must follow. Visual marketing also reaches into nearly every aspect of your communications plan. Advertisements, brochures, sales and informational DVDs, Web sites--the opportunities for enhancing your marketing activities through good visual planning and strategy are endless. No message exists in a vacuum; every message is delivered through a medium. That medium can be well controlled and intelligently utilized, or it can be poorly handled and become a wasted opportunity. Visual marketing applies intelligent planning to all communications media. More than simply design, it's design that is supported by a cohesive strategy.

Yes visual marketing is many things but mainly it is that which defines everything your business is, so take the time to think through the identity of your company and what you would like to present before starting your visual marketing campaign.

About the Author: Ron Maier is the Vice President of S & L Store Fixtures, a leading online resource for retail display cases including mannequins, mannequin forms, gridwall and slatwall store fixtures. For more information, please visit http://www.slstoredisplays.com.

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