EuroShop 2017 - Display Mannequins: Real Mood Boosters!
By VJ Media Bureau | Vjmedia Works | September 30, 2016
In view of the e-Commerce competition, EuroShop believes that visual marketing and the resulting emotional, personalised appearance will become more and more important for bricks-and-mortar retailers. Also there is a shift towards semi-abstract mannequins with regional and genre differences, where proportion of customised mannequins is rising.
EuroShop is one of those trade fairs always teeming with visual highlights. Guaranteed to present a special treat here is, of course, the Visual Merchandising Hall, the exhibition place of display mannequins and store window decorations. March 2017 will see Hall 11 of Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre (instead of Hall 4 previously), become a POS experience guaranteed to attract plenty of attention. After all, in view of the e-Commerce competition, visual marketing and the resulting emotional, personalised appearance will become more and more important for bricks-and-mortar retailers. “Consumers’ emotional needs will become the overriding theme for EuroShop,” says Andreas Gesswein, CEO of Genesis Display from Auetal, with conviction.
Display mannequins hold special emotionalising potential. With their appearance, their posture, gestures and mimics they can really breathe life into shop windows and in-store decorations, serve as sales-promoting tools or arouse empathy, interest and curiosity. And if they are not just headless and very abstract they even give retail stores and brands a profile and signature style. The portfolio offered by the display mannequin industry is wide and varied: in addition to top-model lookalikes it features plus-size beauties, Europeans, Africans and Asians, the afore-mentioned super heroes and funny common people. Kissing couples feature alongside sumo wrestlers. In line with the motto "don't take yourself too seriously", vendors have long also included dogs and cats; and even chameleons since many mannequins prove to be true artists of disguise. “Cameleon”, for example, is a patented concept of Window France: Hundreds of eyes and lips are available to chose from, eye-lashes can be glued on, wigs attached/detached, different make-ups applied or the whole face can be replaced with the help of magnets – in brief, all it takes to ensure a constantly refreshed POS appearance. Add to this what is by now a huge range of colours and materials: surfaces from velvet and rubber are just as common these days as are metallic varnishes or concrete and copper coatings.
Faces are back again
The fact is: just like the fashion they are wearing, display mannequins follow trends. Triggered by a desire to cut a sharper profile and stronger expression, industry insiders have seen a trend towards semi-abstract mannequins. “A face is at least alluded to. Mannequins are less neutral and it becomes visible: Retailers want to make a statement again showing their true colours. There is a trend towards addressing target groups with a more high-profile message,” explains Cornel Klugmann, Country Manager for the D-A-CH region at Hans Boodt from the Dutch city of Zwijndrecht. Monica Ceruti, in charge of PR & Communication at Almax from Mariano Comense/Italy, agrees: “It is true that demand for abstract mannequins continues to be high but there is a clear trend towards more realistic facial characteristics. This includes such details as the application of eyelashes or wigs. And dynamic postures are also getting more popular again.” Andreas Gesswein (Genesis Display) remarks: “Especially in the luxury segment we are registering stronger demand for more realistic mannequins with faces and emotional facial expressions that brands are looking for to stand out from the rest.”
The days of faceless “eggheads” seem to be over. The look and feel is becoming more and more high-end. White and grey are replacing darker shades, glossy replaces matt and aspirational looks with more charisma are more in demand,” says Cornel Klugmann (Hans Boodt). Monica Ceruti (Almax) sees great potential in “handcrafted looks”. This means torsos with and without arms with different materials for the individual components – pedestal, torso and head – and wood as well as metallic surfaces all set the tone here. Sabrina Ciofi from Design Office La Rosa from Palazzolo Milanese/Italy summarises the “principal themes of tomorrow” as follows: “Customers demand high product quality, the right price, maximum after-sales service and high product flexibility and/or diversity.”
Customised becomes cheaper
Producers report that the percentage of customised mannequins is generally rising. These display mannequins are individually and exclusively manufactured to customers’ specifications. At Hans Boodt, for example, the proportion of customised mannequins is now said to be as high as 75%. And thanks to cost-cutting process optimisation it is expected to rise even further. Like Window France these Dutch vendors have now discovered 3D printing which can serve their purposes and their buyers. While in the past prototypes used to be elaborately modelled by sculptors in clay, these can now be “printed” in a time and cost-saving manner. Graphic designers create the desired mannequins with CAD systems where all the details can be freely configured. Then the files are uploaded to the printer that puts them into practice 1:1.
Alongside process optimisation sustainability remains important for the sector. “The fashion sector is now highly aware of this topic and attaches importance to its suppliers also complying with the relevant criteria,” explains Monica Ceruti (Almax). The other market players polled also share this view. For La Rosa, whose mannequins are exclusively designed and manufactured in Italy, sustainability is an integral part of quality. By their own accounts, the Italians have analysed the whole life cycle of their mannequins with a view to minimising their ecological footprint. Almost half of the polystyrene used, they say, is recycled which saves substantial amounts of crude oil and carbon dioxide emissions. On top of this, La Rosa takes back its products after use and re-introduces them into the material cycle.
EuroShop as an opportunity of the future
The display mannequin market is and will be in motion – both on the supply and demand sides. “There are customers who buy their mannequins cheaply online and others who are interested in top quality, professional consulting and holistic visual-merchandising concepts,” explain Andreas Gesswein (Genesis Display) and Cornel Klugmann (Hans Boodt). There should be no doubt about who they expect to be more successful. Andreas Gesswein: “The challenges are enormous. 2016 has been especially challenging for fashion retailers, also in Asia and the USA. Companies are faced with changed market and shopper behaviours. EuroShop 2017 will therefore probably be one of the most important ones since the fair's inception.”
EuroShop 2017 will be open to visitors daily from March 5, 2017 to March 9, 2015, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. For more info: www.euroshop.de