Flashy fashion leotards—the styles in the latest colors with the most eye-catching details—may almost seem to sell themselves. Many customers do come into your store to seek them out, but you can always improve their rate of sale with strategic merchandising throughout the selling floor. Here are the four top places to display fashion leotards for quick sales—and tips from retailers for showing them off to best effect.
ON TOP OF ROUND RACKS
Dancer’s Choice in San Diego tops round racks with body forms to display fashion leotards. “[This] draws your attention upward, and the beautiful styles pull you toward them,” says store manager Kalina Luckenbach. She likes to use round racks because they hold more styles and don’t take up too much space.
Customers who enter the store can scan the room and get a good overview of what the store carries and also what is new. (The leotards on the body forms are usually new styles from a variety of brands.) When a customer spots something interesting, she can head to that rack where she’ll find leotards organized by size and brand, with new styles accessibly placed at the front of each section.
Round Rack Tip: Mix in Basics.
Basic styles, which are mixed into the round racks at Dancer’s Choice, are also featured on body forms along with new fashion styles. For example, an all-black skirted leotard may be arranged with other black styles that feature trendy details like animal-print trim or rhinestone sleeves. “We like to keep all options available for dancers, whether they are about to have their first ballet class or are experienced and preparing for a performance,” adds Luckenbach.
ON FEATURE WALLS
Every store has a spot that customers look to immediately upon entering. That spot is typically one of the walls to the left or right of your front door. Displaying hot new arrivals in this strategic location will help to create a positive impression of the whole store. Plus, returning customers will know where to look for the cutting-edge styles they crave.
Sarah Camp, owner of Hannah’s Dancewear and Apparel in Denham Springs, LA, has an industrial-inspired built-in fixture that her husband made. It features galvanized steel pipes and raw wooden shelves that offer many unique ways to show off new fashions. Camp usually hangs basic black leotards and leggings on long racks that run lengthwise along the display. She groups new arrivals in bright colors on forward-facing hanging racks. “I use little signs with trendy phrases to help draw attention,” Camp adds. On small chalkboard signs she writes, “Add these cute new arrivals to your favs!” or “Smiles are always in fashion.”
Camp also designs a vignette on a feature shelf that includes a fashion style, which is typically cross-merchandised with seasonal accessories, such as dance bags during back-to-school or cosmetics during recital season.
Feature Wall Tip: Incorporate a Theme.
“I find that in our area, the girls have fun ‘dressing for the occasion’ no matter what it is—Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Christmas, Easter and, in Louisiana, even Mardi Gras,” says Camp. This past spring she featured a pink-skirted leotard along with an Easter basket of dance goodies, like pointe shoe accessories and plush bunnies. Be careful not to overdo it—glitter eggs and a small Easter sign helped to tie the theme together without taking the focus away from the merchandise.
IN STORE WINDOWS
Fashion leotards, in the brightest colors, are the perfect pick for your store windows. Even if you are not located on a busy street, customers approaching the store, drive-by traffic or passersby will easily spot the colorful hues. “We have a mannequin in the window that we use so people walking by the store can see some of our special leotards,” says Ruthena Fink, owner of Grand Jeté in St. Paul, MN, “and the back of it can be easily seen by customers right when they come in our front door.”
Bright pink/fuchsia and orange are the leotard colors that Fink selected for her most recent window display. A single mannequin in a large, eye-catching tutu was the focal point of the display, while two orange leotards and two white skirts were neatly hung in a way that made them appear to be floating on either side.
Store Window Tip: Shine a Light.
Lighting is key for your store window display. Fink aims bright stage lights at the leotards for a dramatic backlit effect. Remember to keep your window lights on even when the store is closed so your displays will continue to catch the attention of passing traffic.
NEAR THE DRESSING ROOMS
On the walls outside the dressing room, Fink has placed six hooks—two on top of each other—to hang three fashion leotards and three skirts. The
hooks are eye level so customers can more easily see the fine details they may have missed while cruising through the shop.
Fink also favors her shoe-fitting area when it comes to displaying new styles since most customers end up sitting there awhile. She hangs these items on a wire grid and mixes in coordinating skirts and other accessories.
Dressing Room Tip: Invite a Close-up Look.
The strength of these displays is their accessibility. “Be sure to have them where a customer can feel the fabric or personally check other features of the leotard, like the lining, snaps, etc.,” says Fink. “And refresh the displays often.”
When preparing for the back-to-school season, watch for upcoming trends and display them prominently in these key areas of your store.
Bright colors and floral prints, along with mesh, lace and crushed velvet fabrics are on Luckenbach’s radar at Dancer’s Choice, while Fink is leaning toward traditional earth tones for the fall displays at Grand Jeté. Either way, with these display tips, new arrivals will get the attention they deserve.
Photos courtesy of the retailers