Visual Merchandising

Everything you need to know about Visual Merchandising

What is Visual Merchandising?

A Visual Merchandiser's key role is to create aesthetically pleasing displays in order to enhance sales. This would include designing the shop windows, in-store layout and counters in a way which will attract customers.

What are the responsibilities of a Visual Merchandiser?

It is a visual merchandiser's responsibility to maximise sales and customer loyalty by creating an atmosphere and store appearance which attracts buyers. In order to do this, a team will regularly change displays in relation to themes, seasons or in promotion of new stock.

A few key responsibilities are:

  • research and understanding trends, both current and in advance, so that the store layout reflects the target market.
  • meeting with the management team to review and confer sales strategies
  • organising which props, fabrics. hardware and lighting is needed and where it will be collected from.
  • controlling the budget by negotiating prices of visual materials
  • boosting store space by using the architectural features to your advantage.
  • lead or work within a team to create and take down displays
  • constantly be aware of competitors visual merchandising
Asante · Visual Merchandiser Zara

What opportunities does Visual Merchandising offer?

Visual Merchandising is a job which allows you to develop and progress as you work. More often then not, in-house training is provided which may sometimes lead to a visual merchandising qualification. Such qualifications may be Level 4 Diploma in merchandising or a foundation degree/degree in fashion and Visual Merchandising.

What can Visual Merchandising lead to?

Once you have a settled, well rooted career it can be hard to move from positions or to progress into head office so it always best to decide exactly what your goal is from very early. However, Visual Merchandising can often go from being part of a team in-store, to moving into retail design and working to create the interiors and layouts of shops rather than assembling them.

It is also possible to move to interior or exhibition design or becoming a freelance VM once the right experience has been attained.

What qualifications and (interpersonal) skills are needed?

Qualifications:


  • It is not required to be a graduate but higher education do offer specific courses in this field.
  • A degree is available as a 2 year foundation degree or 3 years for a full bachelors degree, but again this is not necessary in order to gain a job in visual merchandising.
  • Graduate schemes are sometimes available at retailers.
  • The majority of people work their way up from shop floor.
  • A few retailers do now welcome apprentices.


(Interpersonal) Skills:


  • To be creative and imaginative
  • to be stylish and well presented
  • to be able to communicate and negotiate confidently and adequately
  • to be a team player
  • to be able to receive constructive criticism and improve from it
  • to be aware of trends
  • to be patient
  • to be organised

What is the general salary and working hours for a Visual Merchandiser?

Salaries

High street store

Starting Salary: £12,000+

Average Salary: £27,000

Highest salary: £37,500

Luxury Brand

£30,000 - £40,000


Senior VM's with a lot of experience are likely to earn the higher salaries and are more likely to work in the luxury stores. Managers can earn anything up to around £65,000 plus benefits and bonuses.


Working Hours

Concepts and designs are usually made at head office and is done within the regular working hours. However in-store instalments are usually completed before or after the shop is open to the public. This means that early mornings and late evenings, sometimes through the night work is very common.

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