Visual Merchandising as a Career

Visual Merchandising as a Career

Dwijendra Kumar

No more windows but overall ambience of a shopping mall undergoes changes from time to time  to entice customers! Below,inside view of a hip shopping mall at festive times!

No wonder then, Visual Merchandising has emerged as a promising career for creative minds!It  involves work such as layout designing, floor planning and how each and every item in the store are to be displayed.

Concept of Retailing is the latest phenomenon entering domestic market with big retailing companies coming up in the metros and state capitals.

According to a research conducted by Forrester last year, India’s retail industry was estimated to be worth 883 billion US dollars. The Researchers further projected its size to reach a whopping 1.3 trillion by 2024.

Sourcing their inspiration from European countries where retailing is an established medium of communication between buyer and the seller, these retailing houses not only cater to consumer durables, fashion products but also food items and vegetables. The stress being on providing variety to the customers as also the comfort.

While few multinationals and domestic giants have got their stores in the metros, at local level too retailers are investing to give their stores a new and attractive look. Reason for this change is the shift in the consumers preferences. Today, they hold the key to the business with competition growing in the market.

Further, there are a number of brands available in a particular category and thus competition among them to entice customers. Customers, on the other hand, want to go through each product before picking up their choices.

As their disposable income has risen, consumers don’t mind paying extra money provided their shopping experience is good and worth enjoying. And so nice and attractive looking ambience of retailing houses matters a lot in overall scheme of things.But, setting up nice looking big stores is not enough.

Good strategy incorporating various aspects of marketing is the need of the hour for survival of the retailers in this highly competitive field.

What is Visual Merchandising?

A technique employed by retailers to enliven overall ambience of the retail stores by employing various strategies so as to ensure better  display of  merchandise and services which ultimately result in  increasing their  footfall and sale. 

The strategies involve striking attractive colour combinations, using decorative items and blending lights to provide an aura to  the stores . The principal idea is to lure prospective customers into buying their products. 

Roles and Responsiblities of a Visual Merchandiser

A visual merchandiser has the following responsibilities

1. To improve the look of Shop Windows by using mannequines, signages, images, sketches and pictures.2. To make the interiors of retail houses visually soothing and attractive3. Proper use of lighting and colours to enhance presentation of products and services4. Using music and perfumes to please the cutomers and enhance their mood5. Display of products as per latest fashion trends.

Professional Courses and Training in the field:

National Institute of Fashion Technology, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India offers an Under Graduate Course in Fashion Communication which traines aspirants in the field on various means of communicating fashion products to customers including through visual merchandising.According to the NIFT, ” Numerous Pret and luxury brands keep appearing in the Indian retail scenario, and it has become essential for each of them to develop a unique brand identity for maximum impact and visibility. Fashion Communication has made it feasible for these brands to communicate their products, identity and strategy. The Fashion Communication programme primarily focuses on four major domains i.e. Graphic Design, Space Design, Fashion Media and Thinking and related genres of these major areas, using hand and digital skills through knowledge, application and practice based approach. The eligibility to the course is +2 qualification.

While NIFT has incorporated Visual Merchandising in its course on Fashion Communication, there are many private institutions too which  offer courses  focusing specifically on  Visual Merchandising.

Prospective Employers:

While each big retail store needs  Visual Merchandisers to enhance its look by using their services on full-time and part-time basis, some of the leading employers in the field include such big names as Marks & Spensor, Big Bazaar, Shoppers’ Stop, Reliance  Lifestyle, West Side, Tanishq, Aditya Birla Group ec.

Skills Required:

To gain success in this highly competitive field, an aspirant needs to be highly creative, should have design sense, keen interest in fashion trends and forecasts and also knowledge of various festivals, seasons and also various tools techniques involved.

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