What can I use instead of a mannequin?

Creating a great retail shopping experience for your customers is essential if you want to attract them through the door and keep them coming back. Many fashion retailers operate on a tight budget, especially small boutiques.

The good news is that using a little imagination can go a long way in creating an amazing visual display for your shop.

The time-honoured way of displaying those hot new fashion items would, of course, be to use a professional mannequin. Unfortunately, these can be quite costly especially if you want more than one in your shop to create something like a window display.

Here we look at some more affordable alternatives that you can use in your store. We suggest that you use a mix of display ideas, always looking at the world from your customers’ point of view. You’ll be surprised what can be achieved!

Displays don’t have to use traditional mannequins. There are plenty of options from dress forms and ghost mannequins to shopping baskets and dump bins that work. Combined or in isolation, they offer you the chance to build spaces that catch the eye and sell more items.

1. Partial mannequins

Depending on what you sell in your store, you might not want to invest everything you have in a whole mannequin. Not to worry, you can also get quality partial mannequins at a fraction of the price.

For example, if you deal in colourful socks to stockings, a foot and ankle form that you can display in your windows or on the counter is a great solution. If you sell bracelets or rings, a mannequin of the hand and wrist will suffice and will add dynamism to your store.

2. Professional dress forms

The most obvious and widely used alternative to the store mannequin is the dress form. You may well see these in businesses such as dressmakers and tailors. They’re usually a headless dummy which the tailor can use to create a jacket or dress.

These also tend to be set on wheels so can be moved to different parts of your store as and when needed. Another benefit is that you can get dress forms in different designs and colours to match your branding. They’re ideal for showing off dresses, blouses and shirts (you can even get some that are perfect for showing off pants).

These types of display can be used almost anywhere instore, even in window areas where passersby can see them. Because they’re mobile, you have plenty of different options that certainly match anything you can do with a traditional mannequin.

3. Ghost mannequins

Ghost mannequins are displays that fit inside the clothes giving you an almost ‘invisible man’ effect. If you’re searching for a more professional touch in-store, these give you a lot of different options. Ghost mannequins come with detachable body parts and are great if you’re also selling online and want to create images for your products.

You can see more of the item you’re displaying with a ghost mannequin, such as the collar labels. What many store owners like about this sort of display is that it gives them a clean look that easily aligns with their brand. There’s also more flexibility with the visuals than you get with a traditional mannequin.

4. Shopping baskets or dump bins

You shouldn’t underestimate the benefits of shopping baskets or dump bins in your store. The great thing about these is that they can be used to display a wide range of products and give you the chance to create several multi-level areas that drive interest.

Shopping baskets and dump bins are often used for sale items but they’re also perfect for new clothing products that you have in store. They can be branded or have colourful designs, encouraging people to step forward and take a much closer look.

Because you have items that are loose in the basket or bin, of course, customers are more likely to pick them up. People love to rummage, it’s in our DNA. Shopping baskets and dump bins also don’t have to be on the floor or a counter. They can be attached to the walls to create intriguing little areas for your store.

5. Coat hangers

Coat hangers when arranged properly can certainly drive interest and make an amazing display for your fashion store. There is a range of different coat hanger designs that you can use in-store. Costumers, for example, have more shape and add dimension to your clothing displays.

You can also use coat hangers practically anywhere in your shop. They don’t just have to hang from rails. A little imagination here can go a long, long way. What about hanging your new, amazing branded clothing from the ceiling?

The challenge with using coat hangers is how to make your display look dynamic and not cluttered. This can take a little time and effort but it’s certainly cheaper than many other options.

6. Clothes rails

The same challenge arises with clothes rails. Some business owners make the mistake of trying to get as many clothes as they can onto them. The customers then have to fight to see what an item is and get it out to have a closer look.

Clothes rails come in different shapes and sizes from circular to rectangular and everything in between. Our advice is to reduce the clutter on your rails and go for more eye-catching displays. Like coat hangers, clothes rails are a relatively cheap investment and, once organised in-store, they can be extremely engaging.

Why buy from Valentino’s?

If you are searching for alternatives to mannequins, we stock a wide variety of clothes rails, hangers, tailor’s dummies, baskets and drop bins. We have everything your retail store needs to help it stand out.

At Valentino’s Displays, we understand that many retailers operate to tight budgets. That’s why we work hard to supply high-quality products at a great price. We’re able to deliver anywhere in the UK all with a no-quibble 14-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.

What can I use instead of a mannequin? Valentino's Displays Blog
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