Let's start with a fundamental assumption: you cannot improvise Visual Merchandiser. This particular and specific design profession combined with visual communication requires well-structured skills. That is why participating in a Visual Merchandising course often represents the first indispensable step to start a career in this direction.
But who is the Visual Merchandiser?
The Visual merchandiser is a professional who is in charge of all operations that place the product within a point of sale, assisting with sales choices and taking care of every detail:
- the exhibition system
- the setting
Whether a freelancer or part of a team within the company, the figure of the Visual Merchandiser is responsible for maintaining the high aesthetic standards of a brand, both for the shop window and for the entire shop.
The main objective of this professional is to better communicate a brand through many different activities:
- setting up merchandise in the shop by creating a pleasant and welcoming environment
- communicating emotions
- facilitate customer choice
- stimulate purchase
- create an emotional and sensory shopping experience (through the use of colours, music, light, scents and even flavours)
Visual Merchandising: the professions
That of the Visual Merchandising is a sector that breaks down into many specialisations:
- Showroom manager
- Visual merchandiser
- Store manager
- Window dresser
- Retail manager
- Retail designer
The skills of a Visual Merchandiser
Many wonder what the skills that a Visual Merchandiser must prove to possess in order to perform their role to the best of their ability both as a freelancer and within an organisation.
These competencies can be summarised as follows:
1. Creativity and sensitivity
Setting up a specific physical space often involves not only and not so much having material at hand, but possessing the right amount of inventiveness, imagination, inspiration and creative madness to be able to create a pleasant and effective shopping scene. Creativity, moreover, rhymes with sensitivity and culture, in the sense that the professional must have a sound knowledge of general culture and customs and an ever-curious approach to the world.
2. Set-up technique and problem solving
These two competencies go hand in hand: because, while it is necessary for the visual merchandiser know all the techniques of setting up, the positioning of lights, the combination of colours, the positioning of accessories and details of various kinds, all with the aim of conveying a very precise message to the client. On the other hand, the professional must also be capable of intuiting and proposing an alternative solution, where space, materials or circumstances do not allow him to implement the solution initially planned.
3. Strategic and commercial capacity
It should not be forgotten that thehe ultimate goal of the Visual Merchandiser's activity is the sale, promotion of the brand and its products or services.
The professional, therefore, must be familiar with the sector in question and the specific sales techniques and strategies that are part of it. In the area of, for example, visual perception and sales psychology, the visual merchandiser must know how to construct a display strategy that stimulates the consumer to buy and facilitates the purchase path. Much, in this sense, will have to work on the sensations and emotions linked to the customer experience.
4. Good organisation
This is one of the soft skills of the Visual Merchandiser is that of being able to organise and manage work phases, which often take place in a team, and this means that these two characteristics are accompanied by empathy, flexibility and good planning of activities, optimising results and respecting deadlines.
5. Communication skills
It is called Visual Communication and is the set of skills related to display techniques and window and interior designthe ability to create and manage a new visual communication project, also involving new information technologies and new media.
How to become a Visual Merchandiser: the Italian Design Institute Course
Training is the first step to become a Visual Merchandiser. Beyond what may in fact be innate talents or a particularly strong approach to the subject, it is essential to learning specific technical skillswhich only a specially designed training course can guarantee.
Italian Design Institute, body of design training, organises a Visual Merchandising Course designed to concentrate, in a full immersion course lasting 6 days, the professional preparation of complete figures in the visual and fashion design sectorcapable of designing exhibition spaces, shop windows and concept stores, with the aim of guiding the purchasing behaviour of the end customer.