Along with highlighting its relatively low prices by putting the manufacturers’ RRP on their price tags, Penney’s strategy, spearheaded by their Chief Creative Officer Michael Fisher, is to ‘make Penney look like an upscale specialty store that still offers inexpensive wares, not a bazaar overflowing with ordinary merchandise and discount signs.’
The plan is to introduce 100 boutiques into their stores to help stem the sales slide. The boutiques will offer brand name fashion and home merchandise such as Levi’s and Martha Stewart. That’s where the mannequins come in.
“Customers don’t know what to buy. They love a mannequin that shows you how to put the outfit together,” said Fisher, 55, as he gave Reuters a tour of Penney’s Manhattan store last week.
“We find anything we put on a mannequin sells out.”
It may be Retail 101, but this shows how vital mannequins can be within your retail store. Customers can instantly see how an outfit is put together, and it encourages customer to purchase more than one item.
Using this same idea when merchandising your store will make it easier for your customers to mix and match themselves and this trick is something Penney’s is also looking to bring to their retail stores. Displaying tops and bottoms beside each other suggest the whole outfit to a customer.
This is a complete overhaul of the Penney shopping experience under CEO Ron Johnson. Ron joined the company from Apple Inc in late 2011 and he poached Fisher from Apple in February of this year.
If anyone knows how to create great store design and engage customers in a retail environment it’s these two. With annual sales of over $6,000 per square foot of retail space, Johnson & Fisher are widely admired.
This simple thinking could help our independent retailers. A simple change such as an additional few mannequins on the shop floor, or just shuffling around your merchandise to create outfit choices for your customers could really make an impact on your sales.