Visual merchandising

What is visual merchandising?

A visual merchandiser is someone one who is creative, current and can think outside the box. A worker who, with a team creates displays and floor-plans to invite and engage customers in their store.

The business dictionary defines Visual Merchandising as

" The use and manipulation of attractive sales displays and retail floor plans to engage customers and boost sales activity. In visual merchandising, the products being sold are typically displayed in such as way as to attract consumers from the intended market by drawing attention to the product's best features and benefits."

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Skills and Qualifications


  • Able to meet deadlines.
  • Creative flair.
  • Imaginative.
  • Work well in a range of teams.
  • Organised.


When visual merchandising jobs are advertised, different company's look for different mix of academic, vocational and relevant industry experience. Listed below are the different academic and vocation qualification that may help when are applying for a position in this area:

  • Level 2/3 diploma in Fashion retail.
  • Level 4 visual merchandising.
  • Art or Design Qualification.

Qualifications are typically valued to a higher degree in junior positions and as the individual gains more experience, this experience becomes of greater value to employers and eventually surpasses the value of qualifications.

Julia · Regional Visual Merchandiser Zara

Career development and prospects

Usually a VM will start on the shop floor as an assistant visual merchandiser, in this job role they will be expected to help organise window displays and the displays within the store. The salary for this position is around £12,000-£18,000.

A VM will then typically move on to a area team leader or VM manager in this position you will be in charge of a number of VM's, you will liaise with head office and buyers and merchandisers for you store, typically you will manage more than one store in this position. You will also train new VM staff in your stores. The salary for this position is around £20,000-£30,000.

You can then be expect to progress to a senior or directive role. In this position you will typically work from head office and make frequent store visits. You will also be in charge of developing new designs campaigns and graphics to enrol throughout your stores. The salary for this position is around £30,000-£60,000 .

Talented VM's who are looking for a career change could transfer into a career of styling, interior design or work within tv and film.

Working hours

A full time visual merchandiser will see themselves working 35-40 hours a week. Typically shifts for a VM include working overnight and early morning shifts as they will need to get a store ready before opening and trading hours.

A VM can also expect to travel around various locations if they are a manager or senior visual merchandiser in-charge of more than one store.

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Visual merchandising and store operations

Store atmosphere- Visual merchandising has a major effect on the atmosphere of the store, how the store is presented and seen by customers which inevitably has an effect on the sales of the store.

Staff recruitment- Visual merchandising managers generally train a new VM who is coming into their team. This gives the manager time to understand their strengths and weaknesses and how they can benefit the team the most.

Interpersonal skills

A visual merchandiser should have...

  • Good verbal communication skills.
  • Organisation skills for themselves and others.
  • Good time keeping skills.
  • Self motivation.