One of the challenges to merchandising projects is installing and updating graphics and printed branded marketing materials in stores.
Banners and posters are too often taped to walls and fixtures; they are generally done in a very unattractive way. The problem with shipping tape is it’s too tacky and hard to work with and will peel paint off walls and leave remnants of its self on fixtures. Traditional Christmas wrap tape is not sticky enough to do the job, especially if surfaces are not dust or oil free.
The good news is there are new solutions for hanging graphics and product signs and posters. Scotch brand makes an assortment of re-stickable mounting dots and removable poster tape, and from Velcro has removable adhesive Velcro tape. These products are all designed for ¼ lb-1 lb weights and will not damage painted surfaces. Some of the Scotch dots are also photo safe and can be used to update photos of customer’s bikes. I recommend that all dealers get themselves an assortment of these for their merchandising tool kits!
I am constantly asked about the use of mannequins and where to get them. Mannequins are important tools for apparel sales! They do a great job of showing customers what products really look like, and the use of mannequins can boost sales 30 percent or more on the product or brand being displayed. There are a variety of different mannequins, and you can easily find new or used models on the Internet.
FYI, you do not want to use traditional apparel retail store mannequins! They are designed to show everyday apparel and footwear. Traditional mannequins are very difficult to dress with riding apparel and footwear. Riding products are heavier and thicker and do not flex to fit the form. Also, these mannequins are not very stable. These mannequins do not support the weight, and the joints do not move. They are just too hard to work with overall, so please use them even if they only cost $1 used. Also, it’s not necessary to have the heads and hands. Yes, its nice to show a rider with a helmet and gloves, but there are other ways to bring those into a display. When using mannequins, keep them dressed with simple and focused new seasonal brands and products. Make sure you have generic jeans on hand for men (typically sizes 32/34) and women (sizes 7/8); I have seen too many mannequins with chaps and no pants! Really!
Some dealers have used the Bendy mannequins because they are flexible and can be posed in all kinds of ways. The problem is they’re covered in a material that makes them very hard to dress. They lack real physical human form; they look more like aliens (at least aliens portrayed in cheap movies); they’re really expensive, and they don’t hold up well to abuse. (On a side note, the maker of the Bendy has retired, and no one purchased the business, so Bendys are no longer available new.)
What should you use? I suggest the Duraplas full-round plastic form for men, women and plus sized women. They are easy to dress (it won’t take three people two hours to work with it like a traditional form), and they look like people without heads, hands, or feet. They hang from a floor stand (sold separately) or from a 6-inch peg on most slot walls (as long as they are not too weighted with apparel), and best of all they’re really affordable and easy to store if not in use. DO NOT buy the cheap half-round plastic forms that look like similar to the Duraplas (They run from $10-$30 on the Internet)! They are half and one-quarter forms, so they have shape on the front, but flat backs; they look poorly dressed with apparel on them. These half rounds are okay if your simply showing a large assortment of T-shirt designs on a wall setting, but they do a very poor job with riding gear, which is the kind of product we need to showcase. Keep in mind higher dollar riding gear and those loaded with features will seen better by shoppers if showcased on a mannequin.
So how do you get the Jennifer Robison-blessed mannequins? Visit altplusmfg.com, look for the catalog and call Lori; tell her I sent you! By the way, these are made in the U.S.A. Dress them to SELL!
Jennifer Robison’s career began in 1987 when she served as a service writer/parts sales for a high-end import auto dealer before becoming one of the first generation of Harley-Davidson Motorclothes managers at a Northwest dealership (1991-2000). From 2002 on, Jennifer has been with Tucker Rocky Distributing. Jennifer has educated the Tucker Rocky sales force and dealers about the powersports apparel business and powersports retailing. Jennifer’s expertise is in powersports retailing, merchandising and display, promotions and in-store marketing. She has lectured and written about powersports retailing and continues to perform dealer educational workshops and seminars across the United States.