Is Visual Merchandising a Good Career?

Is Visual Merchandising a Good Career?

Just a few years ago, Visual Merchandising was not a career that was considered to be of value. The job of a visual merchandiser was often clubbed with other design and creative duties, leaving no need for a separate job position. However, as businesses and people grew more aware and as the competition significantly increased in most industries, hiring an individual who could catch the attention of the target audience through innovation and decoration became very important. Commercial awareness clubbed with an eye for creativity and staying up to date with trends is a perfect combination for a visual merchandiser in any industry. Today, we’ll know ‘Is Visual Merchandising a Good Career?’

Many people who have an idea about design or have studied design are often confused with the countless number of professions they can get into. Since this job role has recently gained value and importance, many wonder if it is worth turning this hobby into a career. To give clarity, this job role is often confused with retail merchandisers. However, the retail merchandisers are just concerned with the stock and sales aspect of the business, unlike visual merchandisers who have the sole responsibility of the visuals. While we cannot make the decision for you, we can help you understand the positives of Virtual Merchandising. Listed below are the top reasons that make people take up this career path and as a result, flourish and thrive – 

  1. Vast Range of Opportunities 

Almost all areas and industries need a visual merchandiser these days. The best part is that you can just handpick a kind of market that intrigues you or interests you and start your career there. Even if you are just an intern, you will create so many connections in various industries that getting a good job will not be an issue. Jewelry Stores, Print Media, Department Stores, Museums, Retail Establishments, Various Outlets, Theatre Companies, Marketing Agencies and Books and Publishing Houses are some examples of the opportunity this profession opens you to.

  1. High Demand 

As discussed earlier, each company these days is in need of a visual merchandiser. Increasing sales and earning profits has now become the primary goal of organizations in most industries. Moreover, the board of directors is also looking for individuals who can communicate with both buyers and sellers, understand the needs of the customers and convey them to the company. Only when the needs of the target audience are well understood, can the visual merchandisers do their work? 

  1. Eligibility 

This is one of the basic requirements for an individual to pursue this field. As compared to other professions, it takes fewer years and is extremely interesting. Graduation with a degree in design and an undergraduate degree from a reputed university is a must. People who have only done a diploma course in visual merchandising are also employed. Internships are also an added advantage in this profession and can be easily found with some research and networking. 

  1. Flexibility 

Both the working environment and the number of hours/days you are required to work are extremely flexible. Apart from some requirements by the company you work in, you have the liberty and freedom to decide whether you want to work on the weekends and if sometimes, you want to take leave early. In this profession, your boss will not care much about the hours that you put in but just make sure that your work is completed and deadlines met. Till the time the company witnesses you driving traffic and increasing sales, there will be no kind of added stress for you at work. 

  1. Traveling 

This is an added advantage for people who love traveling from time to time. Most major firms that require a visual merchandiser have branches and franchisees in different countries. There may be times when you will be required to travel to other countries to help out with the design part of the branch there. However, this advantage solely depends on your skills and how well you climb up the ladder in whichever organization you work.

How should you Build a Perfect CV for a Visual Merchandiser Career?

Be it any profession, the first impression that the interviewers and the board get about you is through your application which has your resume attached. Many feel that while applying for a post of visual merchandiser, CV does not play that big of a role and all importance is given to the practical aspect of design and the profession. However, before calling you in as a candidate for interviewing and going ahead with your application, the only document that the board has of your qualifications and experience is your resume. Here are a few tips and suggestions that you can implement for building a better CV – 

  • Mention even every minor field project or campaign that you have led or been a part of in detail. Include the venue, the agenda, and its outcome. 
  • Talk about any software or design-related applications that you can use. It can be Photoshop, Canva, InDesign, etc.
  • Your key achievements, development of strengths, polishing of skills in your previous job roles. 
  • Find out qualities or skills that set you apart from other candidates applying for the same job. This will give you an advantage during the selection process. 
  • Include your degrees and education. Mention all the internships, part-time jobs, and other roles that you have carried out to date. Talk about your core duties during your tenure and if possible, get letters of recommendation from your ex-employers.
  • Your love and passion for art, fashion, and design should be reflected on your resume.
  • Maintain a balance between showcasing that your innovative but also commercial. You not only know about design but also the business aspect of things.

What are the skills needed to be a good Visual Merchandiser?

Visual Merchandisers are mainly responsible for setting up and designing the product sales in a way that attracts the customers and increases the overall profits of the organization. It can be said that you acquire skills for this career throughout your profession. From design school to working in a company, you discover new skills and learn about them in all aspects of your career. Most companies while interviewing and having a look at your resume will have a certain skill set in mind to determine whether you are the right person for the job or not. Here is a list of a few top and basic skills that are needed in a visual merchandiser universally – 

  • Communication – You will have to develop this skill to effectively communicate with both buyers and sellers. For each product, you will have to understand what key message the company is trying to convey and accordingly get to work. You will daily indulge in conversation and meetings with the retail store staff to understand their requirements. 
  • Creativity – This is the sole reason that will help you in your work and result in attracting the target audience and increasing sales. You need to think out of the box and come up with unique ideas for the products and services offered by the company you work in. Make sure you can visualize well as this will help you understand the needs of the retail store. Your end goal will be to create fancy and eye-catching displays and store layouts.
  • Understanding of Brands – Be aware of brands, their own branding strategies, and the ongoing trends in each industry. Only when you know what has and what has not worked for a particular brand in the past, is when you will be able to design layouts, presentations, and concepts that best reflect it. This will also help you to get creative and combine various aspects correctly like shapes, colors, sizes, texture, contrasts, etc.
  • Design – You need this skill to help your company enhance and increase the quality of the customer experience that they provide. This also requires you to familiarize yourself with design software. Adobe Creative Suite and Computer-Aided Design are top applications that will help you get creative to the fullest. This is a skill that you need to keep learning more from time to time. 
  • Customer Service – This is a must since, in this profession, you need to understand the needs of customers and what triggers them to purchase a certain product. Moreover, you will be receiving feedback about your work from customers from time to time. You need to be open to their preferences and sometimes also interact with them to better understand what they are looking for.

To sum it up, areas and markets where visual merchandisers can get hired and recruited are diverse. There are no businesses today that do not need the sales of their products or services increased through the use of creative and innovative thinking. Since most of the staff is busy focusing on the business aspect of the company, a visual merchandiser is unique because he/she plans to structure the sales of products in a way that instantly catches the attention of all customers. From store layouts to product displays, the individual is responsible for all kinds of designs. As and when your experience increases, so does your pay. The feeling is satisfactory. In other words, a career in this field is without a doubt booming and is a great opportunity for anyone who has a flair for design. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is some of the most important study material that I should familiarize myself with?

One of the biggest assumptions most students pursuing this field make is not studying theory and just focusing on the practical design part of the curriculum. However, theory comes first and there is a need to maintain a balance between both. Before you kick start your career and when you start applying for jobs, here are a few easy books that you can read for a better understanding and preparation of the industry you plan to become a part of – 

  • “Silent Selling: Best Practices and Effective Strategies in Visual Merchandising” – Kate Ternus and Judy Bell 
  • “Visual Merchandising and Display” – Martin M Pegler
  • “Visual Merchandising, Third Edition: Windows and In store displays for Retail” – Tony Morgan 
  • Store Design and Visual Merchandising: Creating Store Space That Encourages Buying – Elster 
  1. Does the dress code matter when I go for an interview? 

Yes, the dress code matters for any kind of interview you attend. Depending on the kind of brand or retail company you have applied for, you have to dress accordingly. Research about their work culture and ethics. Even though you do not have to devote all your time to the kind of outfit you will be wearing, you need to reflect respect, attention to detail, and eagerness to work. 

  1. Does this profession offer any incentives and benefits?

Yes. Apart from a high salary, there are a few common benefits that all Visual Merchandisers in the United States enjoy. Paid sick leave, employee discount, store discount, paid time off, flexible spending account, life insurance, and vision insurance are some of the benefits enjoyed. Apart from this, it is worth mentioning that this profession has one of the most flexible schedules and working hours. 

  1. Is the Visual Merchandising Industry competitive? 

Yes, this industry is one of the most competitive ones in today’s times. It has become so competitive that the Visual Merchandisers are also finding it tough to get into big companies. To fight the competition, each individual has to constantly come up with more creative and out-of-the-box ideas. 

  1. What are some tips for a telephonic interview? 

Telephonic Interviews have now become common and are in many ways, different from a face to face interviews. Firstly, you need to make sure you balance between your formal and informal tone since it is easy to sound informal and not prepared on call. Your tone needs to be monitored because that is the primary feature that interviewers notice when on call. Finally, be in a quiet place and make sure there are no distractions. 

  1. Are Visual Merchandisers paid well? 

There are conflicting opinions on this topic. While most say they are paid well, others are not completely satisfied. In the United States, Visual Merchandisers are mainly paid on an hourly basis. On average, the salary of a Visual Merchandiser is $15.40 per hour. 

  1. What are some disadvantages/cons of choosing this as a career?

Without a doubt, each career has its own pros and cons. This profession requires you to be patient in terms of pay. If you are a fresher, you have to gradually move your way up to a satisfactory salary. Sometimes, you have extremely hectic hours and have to meet unreasonable deadlines. 

Is Visual Merchandising a Good Career?

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