Visual merchandising is an art of creatively presenting a product or a service to prospective clients to boost sales. The concept is now extensively used as a marketing tool in the retail sector. Visual merchandising puts the merchandise in focus in an appealing and stimulating manner, creates desire and attracts customers, thus augmenting the selling process and maximising sales.
Visual merchandising plays an important role in the business- generation of retail-industry. The field include all activities which helps increase the sale of products in a retail store, such as creativity- through an effective and sensible display of merchandise; marketing - focusing on the consumers attention to understand the product design and educating the consumers about the products.
People behind visual merchandising are known as Visual Merchandisers. Visual Merchandisers are professionals who are responsible for granting any brand, a face. They conceptualise, design and implement window and in store displays for both online shoppers and retail stores. They plan the store theme, arrange props for displays, arrange display fixtures and lighting, set up the stores before opening, work with floor plans and store requirements and train personnel on the sales floor to create displays. The main objective of a visual merchandiser is to create displays that are in line with the image of the store and to bring more customers into the store. Visual merchandisers use various elements in creating displays including color, lighting, space, product information, sensory inputs such as smell, touch, and sound; as well as technologies such as digital three dimensional displays and interactive installations.
With the increase in the number of shopping malls, five star hotels, boutiques and retail outlets, there is a demand for Visual Merchandisers. It is a field for those with creative and artistic flair. Visual merchandising can be pursued as a part-time/ freelance career option by people having a talent in designing with aesthetic sense and imagination.
Visual Merchandisers can find employment with fashion boutiques, shopping malls, emporia, design company, architecture firm, theme party organizing companies etc. They can do freelancing on contract basis for window displays in exhibitions, fairs, beauty contests, award ceremonies, malls, retail stores and so on. They can also find jobs as shop floor managers.
The career choices in the field of visual merchandising, are that of a store visual merchandiser, visual merchandising manager, visual merchandising coordinator, freelance visual display person, visual manager, filed visual coordinator, retail visual merchandiser and so on. One can Work as an apprentice/assistant with an established visual merchandiser, learn the business tricks and later work on their own. Big companies like Shopper’s Stop, Lifestyle, Titan, Pantaloon, Wills Sports, Tanishq and various other international brands provide job opportunities.
There are number of institutions which provide certificate and diploma programs in visual merchandising. Minimum eligibility for visual merchandising course is a pass in plus two examination from a recognized Institution in any discipline. In most cases, visual merchandising is taught as one of the major papers in fashion design or technology courses.
A course in visual merchandising trains the students on various aspects related to visual merchandising such as layout and design of retail stores, interior decoration, installation and arrangement of furniture and fixtures inside the store, store display and presentation of products, use of various communication tools to attract customers to certain products and so on. National institute of Design (NID), Bangalore conducts a Post graduate diploma program in Design (PGDPD) a program on design for retail experience.
Main attribute required in this field is an aptitude towards designing and a brilliant sense of creativity. Visual merchandisers must possess excellent organizational skills, as well as planning, project management, and time management expertise. Apart from this, communication and interpersonal skills, effective problem solving abilities and computer knowledge is also required. They should know the psychology of the consumer and be good at forecasting the trends.
With the mushrooming of retail industry across the world, visual merchandising has become a lucrative career field. At the Initial stage a trainee earns 10,000-15,000 per month depending on qualification and skills. With experience one can join big brand retail outlets, where they can earn handsome packages. The advantage is that one can even work and earn money as a freelancer from the convenience of his/her home without taking up a regular job.