What is Visual Merchandising?


If you love making things look good and like being creative, this could be perfect for you. Visual merchandisers (also known as window dressers or display assistants). 

The role of Visual Merchandiser is creative and fast-paced. Visual merchandisers do much more than simply dress mannequins. They’re often the masterminds behind the intriguing window displays, elaborate holiday decorations and in-store displays in department stores, boutiques and other retail establishments. Visual Merchandising is a practice that supports retailers in presenting their retail space in the best possible way to maximize sales.

Research has shown that the majority of consumers make their purchase decisions while they are in the store.  As a result, retailers often devote a large amount of time, effort and money every year on props and promotional display material. It is the job of the visual merchandiser to bring the displays to life, make an impact on the consumer, draw shoppers into the store and set the overall mood.

You would normally become a visual merchandiser or display designer in one of two ways: by completing a retail design qualification at college or by moving from an in-store sales assistant role to a trainee visual merchandiser post.  You may also be able to get into this career if you have more general art and design qualifications, and can show a flair and enthusiasm for retail.

A visual merchandiser needs to have a high level of attention to detail. They also need to be able to work to deadlines. The ability to work well as part of a team is also important.  As a visual merchandiser in a large retail company, you would work as part of a display team. You would follow design plans created at head office by a visual merchandising manager or senior display designer.

Depending on your responsibilities, your day-to-day work might include:

  • producing design ideas for displays and developing floor plans, or following a company plan
  • creating special displays to promote a specific product or offer
  • deciding how to use space and lighting creatively
  • making best use of a store's space and layout
  • creating branded visual merchandising packs to send to each branch of a store
  • giving feedback to head office and buying teams
  • setting up displays, dressing dummies and arranging screens, fabric and posters
  • sourcing display materials and hiring, borrowing or making props
  • making sure that prices and other required details can be seen
  • teaching sales staff how goods should be displayed
  • taking down old displays.
Senior visual merchandisers are usually responsible for planning the store display for the year, creating visual plans and buying the appropriate models, props, equipment and signage.  Head office visual merchandiser coordinators often prepare a visual merchandising pack to send to other stores, so that all stores have the same company look and feel.

Most visual merchandising jobs are in fashion and homeware departments and stores. You can also find some opportunities for display work at museums, tourist attractions, airports and hotels.

Visual merchandising can be physically demanding at times; however, the excitement and opportunity to utilize creativity in the workplace are well worth the effort.  Could this be a job for you?? 

You Might Also Like





* indicates required