Friday, February 14, 2014

How To Set Up an Apparel Store Window Display

Setting up a window display in your apparel store is a simple yet highly effective way to attract potential customers. As people walk by your display, they will notice your product and hopefully want to check it out for themselves. Getting potential customers in the door is the first step to making a sell, and a window display is a pivotal tool that will help you achieve this and more. However, there are some things you should know before attempting to set one up.

Tell a Story

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the secret to creating an effective window display is to tell a story. This rule holds true for all retail establishments, but it's especially true in the apparel store industry. Pulling a large shelf filled with various shirts, pants and other apparel garments in front of your store's window isn't going to cut it. Customers will have little-to-no connection with lacking window displays such as this.

So, how do you tell a story in an apparel store window display? The most effective way to convey a story is by using a mannequin. Shoppers naturally relate to mannequins, envisioning themselves in place of the mannequin. You can use this to your advantage by setting up a theme or story that includes well-dressed mannequins displaying your store's product.

Tips on Setting Up Mannequins In a Window Display

  • Stick with a single type of mannequin. Filling your window display with several different styles and shapes of mannequins will create a cluttered, messy appearance that does your store no justice.
  • Don't limit yourself to only displaying traditional apparel item on your store's mannequins, but also include accessories like jewelry, handbags, caps, etc.
  • Play around with your mannequins' positions to accurately convey a story. For instance, you could raise the hands of your mannequins so it looks like they are playing volleyball.

Keep The Windows Clean!

I always cringe when I walk by a retail store's window display that has dirty windows. It only takes a couple minutes to go over the windows with a class cleaner, and doing so will drastically improve the display's aesthetics and overall appeal. Allowing your windows to gather dust and dirt will take away from its natural beauty, which ultimately reduces its effectiveness at attracting potential customers to your store.

End Cap Setup Tips

Just as their name suggests, end caps are shelving units which attach to the end of long gondolas Rather than allowing this space to go unused, retail stores and businesses can place end caps here to display product. Doing so opens up a whole new world of product display options, allowing business owners to move product more easily. But what types of products should you display on end caps? And how do you encourage customers to buy them? To learn the answers to these questions and more, keep reading.

Use a Banner

A typical end cap will feature a large banner or sign at the top to catch shoppers' attention. Some stores overlook the importance of end cap banners, which ultimately leads to a loss in sales. Sure, you may receive some sales here and there, but a visible banner or sign is necessary to really motivate shoppers to buy the products on an end cap. After all, most shoppers focus their attention on the actual aisles rather than the end caps, so it's up to you to get their attention.

Large Product First

Assuming you intend to display several different types of products on the end cap, it's recommended that you display the taller product first so it's easier for shoppers to see. Ideally, the tallest product should be displayed directly underneath the sign or banner. Following this method will maximize your end cap's visibility, which in turn should increase your sales.

Note: you'll probably need to adjust the shelf heights of your end cap according to your products' height. End caps are quick and easy to adjust, taking just a few minutes to raise and lower the shelves as you see fit.

Choosing The Right Products For an End Cap

Now, let's talk about which products to display on an end cap. The truth is that there's no single “best” type of product for and end cap, as every business has its own unique needs and demands. There are some general techniques, however, that will increase your chances of success when using an end cap. For starters, don't be afraid to try and push impulse buy products on the end caps. When a shopper is walking by and notices the product, they may feel inclined to purchase it even through they didn't intend to.

You can also move products on end caps that are nearing its experiment date. If you own or manage a grocery store, for instance, it would be a smart idea to sell bread or other perishables on end caps rather than counting it as shrink in a couple of weeks.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Green Retailing 101: Create a More Environmentally Friendly Business

“Green retailing” is the term used to describe environmentally friendly practices by companies and businesses. Far too many companies turn a blind eye to the footprint they are leaving behind. By incorporating green, environmentally friendly practices into your normal everyday business operations, you’ll gain a number of unique benefits. To learn more about the benefits of green retailing and where to start, keep reading.

More Companies are Going Green

A 2009 study performed by Retail Systems Research found that slightly less than half (49%) of U.S. retailers surveyed supported green, environmentally friendly initiatives. In the following year, however, this number rose dramatically to 61%. What’s even more impressive is that just 4% of retailers surveyed believe going green is a fad.

Benefits of Going Green

Still on the fence about going green with your business? Here are just a few of the top benefits of going green…

  • Reduces overhead costs (electricity, gas, water, etc.)
  • Possibility to receive federal and state tax credits
  • Attracts environmentally conscious consumers whom only want to purchase from green retailer
  • Creates a positive example for other retailers to follow
  • Gain additional press exposure for green practices
  • Better sustainability

How To Go Green With Your Business

After reading the green benefits above, you’re probably wondering where to start. The truth is that there are dozens of environmentally friendly changes business owners can make, one of the easiest being the use of recycled material. Most grocery stores and supermarkets have already made the switch to recycled paper materials.

Whether you operate a grocery store, apparel store, electronics store or any other type of retail establishment, you should look into recycled materials. There are several companies out there who specialize in recycled materials, and they oftentimes cost less and perform just as well as their non-eco-friendly counterpart.

Another step retailers can take to make their business greener is using energy-efficient lighting. Incandescent light bulbs are the worst in terms of energy-efficiency, but unfortunately they are the most commonly used. Business owners choose them due to their inexpensive price. It’s not uncommon to find incandescent bulbs available for sale for $.30 cents or less, making them the least expensive. However, you’ll end up paying more in the long run in the form of a higher electricity bill.

Instead of using incandescent bulbs in your store or business, try using compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, both of which are last longer and use less energy.

The Growing Trend of Mobile Payments In The Retail Industry

One reason why retailers should consider accepting mobile payments is because it offers a greater level of security and protection against fraud. Last year, Target, Michaels, Neiman Marcus and several other major retailer experiences a massive security breach where millions of customers’ credit card and debit card data was stolen – including pin numbers and contact information.

Ease of Use

There’s also a certain simplicity to paying for products on a mobile smartphone or device. Here’s a scenario to consider: you pick up a product and make your way to the checkout lane only to discover that 20-30 other shoppers are waiting in line. Depending on the store’s policy and setup, you may be able to pay for the product via your smartphone without standing in line.

Current State of Mobile Payments In The Retail Industry

You might be surprised to learn that some retailers have already begun to accept mobile payments. Google launched their mobile payment solution Google Wallet earlier this year, which allows customers to purchase products via their mobile smartphone from retailers which use PayPass or PayWeave. Google Wallet remains somewhat limited in terms of function due to the fact that retailers must use the two previously mentioned payment processors. However, we’ll likely see some improvements and modifications to this technology in the years to come.

Apple has also expressed interest in designing a mobile payment processor for iPhone users. Nordstorm Inc. and certain food delivery companies currently accept payments via the iPhone or iPad.

What’s Next?

Only time will tell what the future has in store for mobile payment processors in the retail industry, but all of the evidence suggests a growing trend in this direction. It’s highly unlikely that traditional point-of-sale cash registers will become obsolete, but mobile could very well overtake them in terms of popularity within the next few years.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

2014 Trends For The Retail Fashion Industry

With the new year upon us, retail fashion store owners across the country are preparing and strategizing for the 12 months ahead. In the world of retail fashion, trends play a pivotal role in the success of a business. Stores offering 'hot' garments that are popular and in high demand will ultimately trump stores offering dated, low-demand garments. This goes back to the basic economic principles of supply and demand. So, what are some retail fashion trends to look for in 2014?

Niche Stores

If you live in a highly populated city or suburban area, you're probably well aware of the growing number of niche apparel stores opening up. There are still plenty of national chain retailers which offer all types of apparel, but small businesses tend to have greater success when operating niche stores focused around a specific type or category of apparel. 

For instance, female teen clothing stores have become a popular niche, as they target a specific demographic. If a young girl wants to purchase an outfit, which store do you think she would choose: a general apparel store or one that specifically sells female teen apparel?

You read more about how to choose a niche for your retail apparel store in our previous blog post located here.

Go Mobile

If you aren't incorporating mobile into your retail apparel store's overall marketing strategy, you're missing out on a massive amount of untapped potential. According to a recent State of The Internet Webinar, mobile web traffic will trump desktop traffic in 2014. This means store owners with a web presence must cater to the unique needs of smartphone and mobile users; otherwise, all of this traffic will end up going to their competitors.

Even if you don't operate an e-commerce website for your retail apparel store business, you can still utilize mobile into your marketing strategy. Quick read (QR) codes have become a hot trend that's growing in the world of retail. These square-shaped bar codes allow businesses to market their products and services to mobile users. Users scan the QR codes with their smartphone or device to access to a webpage. This webpage may contain promotional codes, discounts, coupons, new products, or practically anything else the store owners chooses to display.

Fashion on a Budget

There's a growing consumer demand for inexpensive fashion garments as opposed to luxury, high-dollar items. Don't get me wrong, consumers are still buying the $1,000+ handbags, but not nearly as much as the lower-dollar items. If you operate a retail fashion store, consider offering more of the budget-friendly garments and accessories to your clients.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Full-Body vs Partial-Body Mannequin: Which One Should I Choose?

Mannequins have been used in retail apparel stores and businesses for centuries. While their construction and design has changed, their overall objective remains the same: to provide a realistic human form for displaying garments and accessories. If you plan to use them in your retail store or business, however, one of the decisions you'll have to make is whether to choose a full-body or partial-body mannequin. Both are fully capable of displaying garments on a human-like form, but there are some nuances between the two that shouldn't go unnoticed.

What's The Difference?

Full-body mannequins, as their name suggests, feature a complete human form. A typical full-body mannequin contains the body, head, legs, feet, arms and hands. partial-body mannequins, on the other hand, are more basic and consist of just a torso.


Let's first talk about the different functions of a full-body vs partial-body mannequin. The primary benefit of choosing a full-body mannequin is its ability to display garments and accessories anywhere on the body. Since full-body mannequins feature an entire body, you'll have more options when it comes to displaying garments and accessories.

Does your store sell accessories like handbags, hats and necklaces? If so, you'll probably want to choose a full-body mannequin for the simple fact that you can display these items and more. Thanks to its complete design, you can transform a full-body mannequin into the ultimate in-store product display.


Space is also something that retail store owners should consider when choosing between a full-body and partial-body mannequin. Full-body mannequins naturally take up a greater amount of space than their counterpart. Sure, they offer a more complete display of the human form, but their space requirements is a disadvantage that store owners should be fully aware of.

If you haven't done so already, use a measuring tape to determine exactly how much free space is available in your store. You might be able to free up some space by moving around and adjusting product, but it may still not be enough for a line of full-body mannequins.


The price of a mannequin varies depending on a number of factors, but full-body mannequins typically cost more than partial-body mannequins. If you're on a budget and looking to launch a new store without a large amount of capital, stick with partial-body mannequins. The cost-savings it offers allows store owners to display their garments without sending them into the financial red zone.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Understanding Point of Sale (POS) In Retail

Point of sale (POS) is a term that's frequently tossed around in the retail industry. Market analysts, retailers, accountants, and more use the term on a daily basis. Even with its widespread use, however, some people are completely clueless as to what exactly a point of sale system really is. In this blog post, we're going to take a closer look at POS and how it relates to the retail industry.

POS: The Basics

The short definition for POS is the location where a customer exchanges money (or credit) for a retail store's product (see image to the right). The most commonly used type of POS in the retail industry is a cash register. Here, an employee takes the customer's cash, credit card, debit card, etc. in exchange for the product. It's a simple process that plays a critical role in the overall function of a retail store.

Why POS Are Important In The Retail Industry

The bottom line is that retail stores and businesses can't operate with a POS. The entire purpose of a POS in the retail industry is to perform the exchange of goods for money. Without it, stores wouldn't be able to effectively sell their merchandise to customers.

However, point of sale systems serve an additional purpose in stores and retail businesses: they help manage inventory. Depending on the particular type of system used, some POS systems automatically subtract the purchased item from the store's inventory. This automation takes some of the burden of trying to manually count each and every item off the store's employees. Once a customer purchases an item at the POS, the system subtracts the item from the inventory, allowing the owner and manager to see exactly how many of which products are currently available.

Different Types of POS

While cash registers are the most commonly used type of POS system in the retail industry, there are several other types as well. Ever visit a grocery store or national department store and notice the self-checkout registers? These self-checkout registers fall under the category of a POS. Even though there's no employee present, they are still responsible for performing the exchange of goods for money.

Of course, POS systems don't necessarily have to be high-tech. A street vendor accepting cash for his or her goods is technically a POS.

Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of POS systems in the retail industry.