What Is Visual Merchandising?

Visual merchandising is a profession that involves displaying merchandise and décor in a store in a way that elicits a positive image of the store, gets customers' attention and entices them to buy. Read on for more details about virtual merchandising, and get an overview of education options and the career outlook. Schools offering Communication Design & Interactive Media degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Visual Merchandising Defined

Visual merchandising refers to anything that can be seen by the customer inside and outside a store, including displays, decorations, signs and layout of space. The overall purpose of visual merchandising is to get customers to come into the store and spend money. Visual merchandising includes how merchandise is presented as well as the store's total atmosphere.

Visual merchandising starts on the outside of the store or its exterior presentation and carries on to the interior presentation. It may involve the ability to create window displays in fashionable colors and patterns that make customers think the store has what they're looking for and the art of creating other types of displays or dressing mannequins. Keeping up with trends and fashions in the design industry can be useful for these purposes. Visual merchandising also includes determining in-store traffic flow patterns to calculate the best places to put displays so the greatest number of people will see them.

Important Facts About Visual Merchandising

Median Salary (2019)* $43,475
Similar Occupations Retail Manager, Retail Sales Associate
Key Skills Customer-service, design, and sales skills
Professional Certification Retail Management Certification is available

Source: *Payscale.com

Materials and Methods

Multiple considerations go into effective visual merchandising. Visual merchandising involves using the following elements appropriately:

  • Flooring, such as carpet, tile or marble, which can affect what the customer buys
  • Lighting (types and brightness), which can affect how displays appear to customers
  • Décor (colors, wallpapers and shelving), which affect the overall atmosphere of the store
  • Mannequins' clothes and body language that help to convey an overall impression
  • Display design, which must be done properly, taking into consideration harmony, lighting, color, emphasis, rhythm, proportion and balance - design principles
  • Exterior signage along with marquees, banners and awnings, which tell the customer what the business is about and provide a first impression
  • Walkways and entries that should blend into the building's overall design
  • Landscaping that can aid in attracting a customer's eye to a sign
  • Window displays that get the shopper's attention and welcome them into the store

Education Options and Career Outlook

Visual merchandising training programs are available at the certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree levels. Coursework may cover retailing, display graphics, styling, color theory, interior design, fashion analysis, finance and marketing communication. Internships, co-ops and other work experiences are often included in the curriculum.

Employers prefer applicants with previous experience, usually equivalent to two to three years. Completing practical training during a degree program could help one get a job. A degree in fashion merchandising, fashion design or industrial design can also prepare individuals to enter a career in visual merchandising.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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