When I did a work placement in John Lewis Head Office in London during the summer, one day I was asked to accompany a member of the buying team to a John Lewis store on Oxford Street to report back on where their product was placed, if it was selling and how sales could be increased. On approaching the ladies wear department, I noticed some terrible signs that could have a dramatic effect on the product selling.
Here there are 2 mannequins set up in a key sightline but when you look at what they are wearing it is quite shocking. Both have identical wigs, identical shoes and identical summer floral dresses on. Floral prints had been massive that season so I can understand why they would be displayed. But why do both have the same dress on?? Shouldn't John Lewis be maximising potential sales by having a different outfit? Furthermore, one had a heavy black PVC jacket on. I kid not. It made no sense what-so-ever. The idea of mannequin dressing is to put a credible outfit together that a customer could imagine wearing. This also encourages them to buy the whole outfit rather than just an individual item.
Even worse was when I walked along a bit and (I think it was in the Warehouse section) I saw the worst single outfit on a mannequin ever. The photo below does not do it justice but the mannequin on the right is actually wearing a ra-ra skirt, then the same one again but sitting higher up on the waist, then a top of a slightly different (but i think meant to be the same) colour and again a similarly coloured scarf wrapped round the neck! In the height of summer!
2 nights previously Gok Wan had shown on his Fashion Fix programme, how to make a boob tube ra-ra dress from 2 identical ra-ra skirts. I think whoever styled these got a bit carried away.
What really annoyed me was that this was John Lewis's Oxford Street store so should display the best styling of the best product available. When I commented on this to the design, buying and merchandising team I worked with (who I must add, were all absolutley fantastic at their jobs and helpful) they seemed to be aware of the problem that there was no Visual Merchandising team within the store! If they are looking for someone I'd gladly go down.