By: Mini Sindhu -- Research Analyst, Marketing services
14 September, 2017
Mannequins account for about 8-15 percent of the Visual Merchandising/Furniture and Fixture Spend, and are considered to be a vital visual merchandising element with the potential to drive customer walk-ins. They also reflect a brand’s identity and high end brands spend a significant amount in purchasing mannequins. Mannequins are no longer used for the sole purpose of displaying merchandise as they can operate as a key source of information by leveraging technological advancements such as facial recognition and beacon technology.
The growing significance and higher spend is a challenge in optimizing spend and procuring best quality mannequins. Apparel retailers in the U.S. consider global production locations such as China as a preferred sourcing destination as it facilitates sourcing at a cheaper cost. However, Shipping and duty can largely increase the total cost of ownership, in addition to other challenges such as longer lead time and higher probability of damage in transit.
This article focuses on key trends, innovation, and best practices in mannequin procurement for US apparel retailers. The parameters considered to compare global and regional production location includes labor cost, logistics cost, raw material cost and lead time impact.
Higher adoption of online shopping and pre-shopping online research have increased the significance of window displays as the most important element in driving walk-ins, in which mannequins play an inevitable role. A highly matured buyer landscape has driven established suppliers from other regions such as Europe and Asia to explore the demand potential in North America.
Apparel retailers engage with specialist mannequin suppliers due to bespoke solution requirements. Buyers are exploring opportunities to work only with their preferred list of suppliers who have regional production locations in North America, as it enables quicker turnaround time and reduced shipping cost.
The price of mannequins is generally negotiated based on the volume. However, having a preferred list of suppliers will enable lower maintenance fee and quicker delivery.
Sourcing Destination – Regional vs. Global Production location
The cost structure of mannequins can vary depending on various factors such as technology used for prototyping, raw material used (Polyurethane is costlier as compared to fiberglass), type of mannequin (Realistic, Abstract, Torso etc), manufacturing process (manual, automatic), etc.
Key Takeaways for apparel retailers in the U.S.
Suppliers who have production location in the U.S. will be able to offer high quality mannequins at a quicker turnaround time. European suppliers who are renowned for their design flexibility are expanding their production facilities in the U.S., which makes it easier for the US apparel retailers to utilize their expertise along with cost benefits. Apparel retailers who have stores across the globe can engage with suppliers who have regional production locations in key countries such as the U.S., China, and UK for global requirements. Choosing production locations closer to the retailer’s primary location will enable cost savings and also ensure higher accountability.
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