We all know the power that a well-designed shop window can hold over us; in one glance, you can be transported into a different world. Behind the glass, the season’s “must-buy” products come alive through a visual story that compels you to enter the store and part with your cash.
It’s visual merchandisers who decide how a store and its products are presented, covering everything from designing and creating layouts and window displays to ensuring a consistent visual style in-store that maximises sales.
A mix of creative flair and commercial awareness is vital, but the role also requires excellent teamworking and communication skills, because promoting new stock and managing brand standards requires regular liaison with other departments.
Make no mistake, this is not just about dressing mannequins. It requires intelligence, creativity and the innovative use of themes, props, light, music and colour to establish an environment that triggers the impulse to buy. At the heart of visual merchandising is the fact that consumers want to be entertained, and demand inspiration and excitement as part of their shopping experience. Retailers who achieve this are rewarded with loyal customers and better-performing stores. Those that get it wrong invariably lose out.
Skillsmart Retail runs a national competition, skillVM, which gives the UK’s professional and student visual merchandisers the chance to shine on a national stage. Winners may showcase their talents at EuroSkills and take part in WorldSkills, the largest international skills competition in the world, to be held in London in 2011. For more information on skillVM, visit skillvm.com.