Visual Merchandising

Caitlin Finnerty

Role of a Visual Merchandiser

What does a Visual Merchandiser do?

Visual Merchandiser's are the people who design shop windows, making them as creative and eye catching as possible. When its holiday time, they use holiday décor to make the window stand out a lot more and fit with the season. [5]

Regular floor moves.

Fit new lines into packages.

Make sure the floor is looking amazing.

Replenish the floor and make sure staff keep the packages full of correct sizes all the time- every size is available, two of each size.

Mannequins and torsos to match packages.

Window displays, always current and attractive, windows bring customers in so this is very important.

Make sure all the new lines are out on the shop floor within an hour, ideally before the store opens.

Advice from store manager and staff, what do they think of new lines.

Shop floor needs to be appealing, not boring.

Some paperwork, best sellers and money mapping: this helps with floor moves, to know what is doing well and no so well.

Reports back to store manager for head office visits, what is selling, what they think isn't selling. [1]

Typical day of a Visual Merchandiser

Starts at 7am to do floor moves, new windows and get new lines from delivery before the store opens.

Freshen up the floor, move things around, put out new lines and make packages look amazing.

100% customer service from everyone (everyone can say hello) [1]

The effect of visual merchandising

The way products are displayed and promoted have a huge impact on the reaction achieved by the consumer and what is sold. If products are displayed to be aesthetically pleasing, shops can increase sales and improve profit margins. If you display the products in a repetitive style by making the window display, in store display and package style, you make the consumer remember and create message of the style of the store. In holiday seasons such as Christmas; Halloween and Easter, visual merchandisers take advantage of these holidays to make a sale. By using the colour orange and pumpkins for Easter, and red and green in a homely style for Christmas, customers are exposed to a familiarity of their own home and feel comfortable, perhaps visualising the products in their own homes. [2]

Difference between being a visual merchandiser for a chain store and for an independent store

When working for a popular chain store such as H&M and Zara, you're expected to work in a certain way as customers expect certain things. Chain stores have reputations to uphold and must always impress the customer as they would have a lot more to lose than an independent store. When visual merchandising for a chain store, the visual merchandisers have to follow a pattern similar to other branches of the store to create a sense of familiarity for the customer. This will help them feel more comfortable and if they find something they want to buy in one store, but decide to buy it in another, they won't have any trouble as all shops will be displayed similarly, so all they need to do is look for the package.

When working for an independent store, a visual merchandiser has to remember that people probably won't have heard of the store and therefore probably won't pay any attention to it. An independent store has to create a reputation and send out their own message, to try and make themselves a standing in the world of fashion. They can take advantage of seasonal holidays to try and get themselves custom, and create a usual crowd that visit their store regularly. In order to gain attention for the store, the visual merchandiser could create a display that is unusual, and inviting, or create something's similar to a popular high street store, to allow the customer to recognise the similarities in the display, and go in to see if there are similarities in the products.

Tip 5: Where's your WOW - Visual Merchandising Tips for Design Life Exhibitors

Qualifications needed to be a Visual Merchandiser

  • Level 2 or Level 3 Diploma in Fashion Retail.
  • Level 2 Award, Certificate and Diploma/SVQ in Retail Skills.
  • Level 3 Certificate and Diploma/SVQ in Retail (Visual Merchandising)
  • Foundation degrees in display or design.
  • Foundation degrees and degrees in marketing or retailing. [3]

Responsibilities of being a Visual Merchandiser

-Liaising with teams such as buying, design and marketing to create design themes and plans, often months in advance, including window and in-store displays, signage and pricing concepts

-Research into current and upcoming trends

-Visit store branches to teach in store Visual Merchandising

-Assembling and dismantling window displays

-Seek feedback on displays from colleagues on what is done well and how to improve [4]

Skills required

  • a talent for design, colour and style;
  • creative flair and imagination;
  • strong interest in current and future design trends;
  • visual/spatial awareness and manual dexterity;
  • effective communication and negotiation skills;
  • engaging and working well with a range of teams;
  • able to work with constructive criticism. [4]

What to expect as a Visual Merchandiser

-The job can be very physical with lots of lifting and carrying of heavy items, also the use of power tools.

-Driving licence may be required.

-If you're bases on HQ, you may have to visit stores which means spending time away from home.

-80% of Visual Merchandisers are female. [4]

Where can you get a degree relevant to being a Visual Merchandiser?

-Fashion Buying and Merchandising at London College of Fashion.

-Visual Merchandising and promotional design at Hugh Baird College in Liverpool

-Visual merchandising at Hertford Regional College. [4]