Visual Merchandising is the process of promoting the sale of products by producing mental images that urge potential customers to make purchases (Silent Selling, 2012). It is important that visual merchandisers can communicate the overall mission and vision of a brand that is consistent with a company's overall promotional mix and brand strategy.
A visual merchandiser needs to create relationships with their customers with the value of a brand image in mind. Customers give feedback by purchasing a displayed product at a certain price and that they like how an organization is doing business.
In determining the characteristics of a visual merchandisers and a career in visual merchandising I have looked at a Visual Merchandising job at H&M, Triumph International, and Chanel. All of the companies are in the fashion industry but serve different markets at a different degree of scale.
Key attributes employers look for are the following:
- A sense of style, and creativity
- Work with other business units including Store Managers, Marketing and Management and have the ability to build relationships within a company
- Training sales associates, to ensure the brand, product and selling is well understood
- Planning floor plans, budgets, and forecasting of visual merchandising with 3D rendering and drawing packages
The potential career paths related to visual merchandising would be marketing, sales and management. Having to work across functional areas of business allow for an opportunity to move vertically throughout an organization from the marketing communications team, buying teams or even sales managers. Typical salaries of a visual merchandiser are between $25K - $35K, managers, similar to junior fashion designers, Visual Merchandisers would be working with Visual Merchandising Managers, Selling Managers and Marketing Managers who make between $60K - $70K.
It is important for a visual merchandiser to have skills in trend forecasting, communications, relationship building, retail sales, adobe creative suite, AutoCAD and Microsoft Office Suite.
A career in visual merchandising is dynamic, an incredibly important in the selling aspect of products and the building a brand through the atmospheric elements within the lease lines, the boundaries where a store space begins and a mall's common area ends, of a store. Visual Merchandisers need to understand the larger picture and depict a certain image that a specific segment can relate to and feel the urge to buy presented merchandise. Visual merchandising is different for various businesses, small independent retailers (formally known as mom-and-pop shops) may not have the same volume of new products on a regular basis that a large retailer in a strip mall may have.