A mega festive season (Dusshera & Diwali) has just gone, and the other (Christmas & New Year) is already knocking the door; which means the
A mega festive season (Dusshera & Diwali) has just gone, and the other (Christmas & New Year) is already knocking the door; which means the shopaholics again get to see malls and stores decorated accordingly (in red & white) displaying mannequins adorning their finery and welcoming customers and thereby luring them to the store’s latest collection, which is again in tandem with the season and occasion. Visual Merchandising is the art of displaying merchandise in a manner that is appealing to the eyes of the customer. Window dressing in a way that is both creative and representational of the shop’s variety will attract, engage and convert the window shoppers into prospects and ultimately buyers of the product. And the person behind this execution is the Visual Merchandiser. This is an offbeat and a niche career option which is getting strongly propelled by the booming retail sector for which sky only appears to be the limit.
Various factors like: Fatter pay-packets, easy availability of Credit cards, presence of umpteen number of domestic and international brands (not to forget the cut-throat competition between them), development of mall culture(shop, eat, entertain),are only adding fuel to the already spreading “Retail therapy” fire. A mega festive season (Dusshera & Diwali) has just gone, and the other (Christmas & New Year) is already knocking the door; which means the shopaholics again get to see malls and stores decorated accordingly (in red & white) displaying mannequins adorning their finery and welcoming customers and thereby luring them to the store’s latest collection, which is again in tandem with the season and occasion.
Restaurants, grocery stores, and convenience stores use visual merchandising as a tool to differentiate themselves in a saturated market. Visual merchandising builds upon or augments the retail design of a store. It is one of the final stages in setting out a store in a way customers find attractive and appealing.
Many elements can be used by visual merchandisers in creating displays including color, lighting, space, product information, sensory inputs (such as smell, touch, and sound), as well as technologies such as digital displays and interactive installations.
The main functions of a Visual Merchandiser are as follows:
- Designing and developing innovative plans and three-dimensional displays to attract and engage customers and thereby increase sales.
- Developing a Planogram
- Display conceptualisation and designing for existing stores (sometimes for brand revival)
- Designing eye-catching window display as per the impending season and/or festive theme
- Ensuring the store’s best stuff is presented so that it immediately strikes with the customer’s wish-list
- Responsible for creating and maintaining not just the window display, but the overall look-and-feel of the store.
- Weaving the display with offers: like Discounts, freebies, etc.
- Study the effects of various ideas of Visual Merchandising on Sales, analysis and maintenance of such data for future use by the brand/store.
- Understanding customers flow and feedback.
The role and work of a Visual Merchandiser increases manifolds when a new store/mall is being launched; he/she has to play with the following:
- Architecture and Facades
- Digital Media and Technology
- Decoratives and Props
- Mannequins and Forms
- Signage and Graphics
In the process, it is important for a Visual Merchandiser to remember the following:
- Merchandise should be the focal point and not get lost in the overly designed display
- Right choice of colors and lights
- Display themes should support the product aptly.
Among the institutions that offer certificate and diploma courses in visual merchandising, the National Institute of Fashion Technology is a sought after one. You can also pursue an undergraduate or post graduate level course in fashion designing which covers fashion merchandising in its course syllabi. It has its branches all over India including New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Gandhinagar and Hyderabad. Other institutes are listed below:
1. Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad
2. National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFD), Chandigarh
3. JD Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi
Few of the potential employers are: Shopper’s Stop, Lifestyle, Pantaloons, Westside, Titan, Stellar Furnishings, Nakshatra and Tanishq, innumerable international brands, etc. Also, it can be pursued as a part-time/ freelance career option by people having some background in design/retail and have a knack of designing with great aesthetic sense and imagination.