Visual merchandiser

Visual merchandiser article illustration


Visual merchandisers are specialised in promoting the sale of goods, especially their presentation in retail outlets.

Visual merchandisers typically do the following duties:

  • liaise with teams about buying, design, and marketing to create design themes and plans, often months in advance, including window and in-store displays, signage, and pricing concepts
  • conduct research on current and future trends in design and lifestyle, and associated target market features
  • meet with business, sales managers and retail managers to discuss sales strategies
  • identify and source props, fabrics, hardware, and lighting
  • maintain a budget and negotiate with suppliers of visual materials
  • work with architectural features of stores to maximise the available space
  • use artistic skills or computer-aided design (CAD) packages, such as AutoCAD, Mockshop or Adobe Creative Suite, to create visuals and plans
  • create visual merchandising packs to communicate visual guidelines, including layout principles, visual dressings, and signage – usually applies to those based in a head office
  • visit branches and train sales teams in-store visual merchandising techniques and concepts
  • assemble or dismantle visual displays in windows or in-store
  • carry out ‘comp (comparison) shops’ to maintain awareness of other retailers’ visual merchandising concepts
  • lead and motivate teams to complete displays to tight deadlines
  • seek feedback from colleagues and customers on the visual impact of displays and of the changes implemented.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to visual merchandiser:

visual merchandising supervisor
window display assistant
assistant visual merchandiser
senior visual merchandiser
retail visual strategy manager
graduate visual merchandiser
display assistant
visual merchandising manager
visual merchandising controller
image controller
display designer
visual merchandising associate
window dresser

Minimum qualifications

While the educational requirements for a visual merchandiser vary by organization, having a degree or diploma in a visual communications field is helpful, such as graphic design or interior design. Any type of in-depth understanding of consumer behaviour or customer psychology can also be useful in this role. Some businesses prioritize past work experience and portfolio over educational pursuits, as a visual design work can showcase your abilities effectively.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Visual merchandiser is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Visual merchandiser career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to visual merchandiser.

interior planner
retail department manager
trade regional manager

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of visual merchandiser. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of visual merchandiser with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

packaging production manager
railway station manager
product and services manager
licensing manager
rail project engineer

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of visual merchandiser.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of visual merchandiser.

  • Assess visual impact of displays: Analyse feedback from customers and co-workers on the visual impact of displays and showcases; implement changes where needed.
  • Negotiate with suppliers for visual material: Negotiate with suppliers on the delivery of visual equipment; stay within the budget at all times.
  • Coach team on visual merchandising: Coach sales team on in-store visual merchandising; help employees to interpret guidelines; train employees in effective execution of visual concept.
  • Maintain relationship with customers: Build a lasting and meaningful relationship with customers in order to ensure satisfaction and fidelity by providing accurate and friendly advice and support, by delivering quality products and services and by supplying after-sales information and service.
  • Liaise with appropriate staff for visual display: Communicate with appropriate staff in order to determine which types of merchandise should be featured on display.
  • Maintain relationship with suppliers: Build a lasting and meaningful relationship with suppliers and service providers in order to establish a positive, profitable and enduring collaboration, co-operation and contract negotiation.
  • Change window displays: Change or rearrange window displays. Reflect changes in the shop inventory. Emphasise new promotional actions.
  • Develop store design: Develop visual concepts and strategies to promote retail brands, products and services, for in-store design, catalogue design and web shop design.
  • Assemble visual displays: Assemble and rearrange visual displays in showcase or in-store.
  • Conduct research on trends in design: Conduct research on present and future evolutions and trends in design, and associated target market features.
  • Execute visual presentation changes: Prepare and execute visual presentation changes by moving items, changing shelving and fixtures, changing signs, adding and removing decorative accessories, etc.
  • Have computer literacy: Utilise computers, IT equipment and modern day technology in an efficient way.
  • Interpret floor plans: Be able to think three-dimensionally; understand the results of moving the position of objects and patterns on floor plans.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of visual merchandiser. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Trends in fashion: New developments and trends in the world of fashion.
  • Teamwork principles: The cooperation between people characterised by a unified commitment to achieving a given goal, participating equally, maintaining open communication, facilitating effective usage of ideas etc.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of visual merchandiser. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

ISCO group and title

3432 – Interior designers and decorators

  1. Visual merchandiser – ESCO
  2. Visual merchandiser job profile |
  3. What Is a Visual Merchandiser | Canada
  4. Featured image: Image by Heike Georg from Pixabay
Last updated on March 31, 2023

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