Visual merchandisers work predominantly in retail and department stores, shopping and outlet centres, wholesalers and for online retailers and use creative seasonal trend ideas and marketing solutions to display products, so they catch the attention of customers and generate and maximise sales.
Visual merchandisers often work as part of a team to create new window and store displays, using props, graphics and signage while following product layout plans and brand guidelines. Working environments are often fast paced, to keep up to date with trends and customer demands. They work closely with sales assistants and managers to ensure product details are understood. Travel may be required to different locations if the retailer has multiple outlets.
Experience working in a retail environment can be useful to build customer service and sales experience and brand knowledge.
Duties may include:
- designing and developing product displays
- following brand guidelines and store layouts to maximise product visibility
- sourcing and ordering props, signage and graphics for display use
- dressing mannequins in upcoming trends
- work to set budgets, deadlines and targets
- teamworking with buying, marketing and sales teams to manage new seasonal trends and promotions.
Personal Qualities and Skills
Key skills for visual merchandisers
- creative and passionate
- strong design skills
- excellent IT skills, CAD design software knowledge can be an advantage
- customer focused
- commercial awareness, good understanding of the industry and competitors
- good team player
- ability to communicate confidently and effectively
- highly organised, with the ability to manage deadlines and costs
- follow brand guidelines and store layout plans.
Pay And Opportunities
Typical employers of visual merchandisers
- high street retailers
- department stores
- shopping centres
- outlet centres
- online retailers
- brand and marketing consultancies.
Qualifications and training
Creativity is a key requirement to become a visual merchandiser and previous work experience in a retail environment can be helpful.
Apprenticeships may be offered by some retailers. Some specialist retail/ fashion academies offer visual merchandising courses. A level 2 or 3 course and/ or degree in art and design based subjects, fashion, textiles, business, marketing and retail may be required for some job roles.
In Scotland Art and Design related courses are available at college and at university. Higher National Certificate/Diploma courses are likely to require 1 to 2 Highers to include Art and Design. Degree courses are likely to require a minimum of 4 Highers to include English and Art and Design. It is also possible to train on the job, whilst studying for a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Retail (Visual Merchandising).