Career Wise: What is Visual Merchandising? A Career Guide to Becoming One

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Revamping something is exciting, whether it’s clothing, a store, or a house where ideas can come true. Has this ever happened to you? Then you should try to pursue a career in visual merchandising. Visual merchandising is the practise of designing and showcasing products in a retail outlet to attract customers and increase sales. It emphasises the promotion and depiction of specific products to draw in buyers.

With the proliferation of malls, retail shops, and boutiques across the country, the profession has become more appealing. Visual merchandising acts as a silent seller by enticing customers to enter the store guiding them through directional signage, helping them find the correct size and style through customized visuals and graphics, and supporting the store to achieve desired sales.

Visual merchandising is about enhancing the shopping experience by focusing on the display and promotion of merchandise with the primary objective to boost sales. Brands have installed huge windows and invested a lot in lighting and mannequins so that they can grab the attention of customers and convert passers-by into shoppers.

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Eligibility Criteria

You can go for a bachelor’s degree in any form of arts, space, interior, and communication designing to be specific or you can go for short-time visual merchandising courses. There are numerous degrees and diploma courses. The duration of a diploma course is six months to one year, and degree courses in design range from three to four years. There are numerous post-graduation courses with two years duration.

If you don’t have a design degree, don’t be disheartened. There are specific courses on visual merchandising too. One can opt for courses such as fashion business management which emphasises practical learning on various subjects required for surviving in a creative retail environment such as understanding fashion, retail, and economics. Once you complete such courses you can directly start working with brands.

Initially, you might work as a visual merchandiser for a specific retail store or cluster of stores but as you gain experience you can work at a regional level or work directly with a brand’s international team or might work as a freelancer.

Job Role and Responsibilities

A visual merchandiser is responsible for making the store look presentable at all times. They should have a keen eye for detail with a strong sense of fashion and design. They are not only responsible for the beautification of the store but to make the shopping experience more convenient.

Some broad responsibilities of visual merchandisers are –

— To maintain the look and feel of the retail store.

— Planning and execution of store-specific visual content such as product launches or to reflect a festive season or theme.

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— Train store team members on brand display guidelines.

— Communicate and coordinate with other team members and stakeholders for a better understanding of business and to formulate visual merchandising strategy accordingly.

— To manage in-house/third-party vendors for getting timely execution and installation of posters, banners, and fabrication of props, mannequins, and other brand communication for stores.

Skills Required

If you are planning to become a visual merchandiser, there are certain things that you should understand. For becoming a visual merchandiser, creative flair is a must. If you consider yourself creative, you can do great in this field.

Another consideration could be a love for fashion and a fast-paced retail environment. If you like the fashion industry and are inclined more toward the business and management part of fashion, visual merchandising could be a great career choice for you.

One important thing to consider is that the retail environment is very competitive and versatile, If you are someone who loves innovation and is willing to multitask most of the time, You will do great as a Visual Merchandiser.

Visual merchandisers typically develop a strategy using their creative talents for showcasing fashion items through the use of visual presentation, marketing, and also establishing various promotional activities to interact and advertise to the target customers.

A visual merchandiser’s job is to capture customers’ imaginations both inside and outside of a store. The best visual merchandisers may transform the window area of their store into a captivating art display or cleverly arrange a shelf to increase the likelihood that its contents will be purchased.

Salary expectations

Visual merchandising is in high demand. The course’s cost is moderate. Students will have to spend between three and four lakhs on this course. Those that work in visual merchandise get very high wages. For students, the median annual salary is higher than five lakhs. It takes students a year to prepare for the entrance exam for visual merchandisers due to the moderate level of preparation for this field.

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— Written by Anshuman Srivastava – Assistant Professor, Fashion Business Management, IIAD

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