window mannequins in a Topshop store and floor mannequins in Anthropology

There are essentially two stages in converting a customer: 1) getting the customer into the store and 2) getting that customer to buy the product. Mannequins are great for both of these stages, however each stages requires its own unique approach.

Window mannequins, those commonly seen decorating store windows, are meant to attract passerby customers off the street and into the store. Floor mannequins, on the other hand, are meant for customers already in the store to attract their attention to the actual products. While both mannequins can be of the same exact type, the attention to their look and dress should be different.

Maureen Elliot, a merchandise manager at Urban Outfitters, put it to us very nicely “window mannequins and floor mannequins hold a different role in merchandising and customer impact. From my experience, I find it successful to treat the window mannequins as more a design element that reflects the company, seasonal direction, and ties in the window composition. Overall my window mannequins are much more fashion forward and usually highlight higher price/ speciality pieces. As for my floor mannequins I style them based on my store specific customer. Their outfits usually rotate more often and have higher sell off.”

The nicest and most fashionable items will be what attract the customers off the street, so window mannequins need to be dressed and styled with these items. People always have - and always will - like nice and fashionable products. If these items are displayed properly on mannequins in your window, the customers will follow. Once they are in the store and looking through the merchandise, then customers expect to see items they might actually want to buy - items in their style and price range. These floor mannequins are very powerful displays that, if done correctly, can sell your products significantly faster than other displays (a survey we recently ran pegged the number to be 75% quicker - see The Fiberglass Salesman).

Window mannequins are the first impression, floor mannequins seal the deal. Once mastered, these mannequins can become very powerful tools in the arsenal of the shopkeeper.