The Visual Merchandiser is responsible for setting up the store and displaying the products, planning all details in order to capture the attention of customers and facilitate the purchasing process. This means that they are in charge of multiple activities, concerning both the store’s organisation (for example, the paths that the customer follows after going in) and the way to present the garments, such as clothes, shoes, bags and accessories. They not only define the layout of the goods, but they also define (and exploit) all the tools (such as background music or perfume) that can have an emotional impact on the customer and influence their purchase. Everything must be consistent with the brand image. The focus is not only on increasing sales but also communicating the essence of the brand, especially in the luxury industry. Among their duties there is the monitoring of the results progress and the timely introduction, in the case of non-optimal performance, of the improvements necessary to achieve the set objectives.
The Visual Merchandiser gains specific training, which combines solid technical skills – related for example, to colour theory and lighting engineering – with an in-depth visual culture, which ranges from history of art to the study of photography. At the same time, they have knowledge of consumer psychology and marketing, which allows them to understand consumer behaviour and, consequently, to better plan each element.
To be a good Visual Merchandiser you need to have strong communication skills. This professional will interact with different stakeholders in terms of culture, training and language. In the space of a few hours one can go from a meeting with the commercial management to one with the suppliers of furniture and equipment for a new flagship store. Moreover, an aptitude for problem solving is key: this person must know how to overcome obstacles that can arise in setting up and managing a store, seeking the most effective solution each time. This person must always be updated on new and emerging market trends. Last but not least, flexibility in terms of hours is essential, as they will often be required to work early in the morning or in the evening/night hours, when the shops are closed to the public.
The visual merchandiser mainly uses two types of softwares: for the virtual design of the stores and for monitoring the progress and performance of the individual stores.
This professional can make a career within a company with its own distribution network or can work as a freelancer. In the first case, they would manage a certain number of shops, which can increase as the expertise grows, whereas, in the second case, they can work for various businesses, which could be large companies with an important distribution network, or smaller companies with few boutiques.
The Visual Merchandiser can develop their skills within the Master in Fashion Styling and Visual Merchandising at Domus Academy. The Programme is designed for candidates who have a first-level degree and/or professional experience in fashion design, fashion styling, visual merchandising, design, photography, architecture, or communication. It is also open to those with a background in industrial design, journalism, media, or related fields, if they are motivated by interest in the programme’s topics and possess a strong portfolio.
There are two types of Master in Fashion Styling and Visual Merchandising from Domus Academy. The Academic Master (60 ECTS credits) is developed over 5 modules, a curricular internship and a final project workshop and it allows to gain an Academic Master’s Degree accredited by the Ministry of University and Research (MUR), a qualification recognised in Europe and worldwide, as well as a Domus Academy Master Diploma. With the Double Award Master (90 ECTS credits), students have the opportunity to integrate the course of study consisting of 5 modules, a curricular internship and final project workshop, with additional lessons and a more in-depth individual project thesis. With the Double Award Master, students can obtain an Academic Master recognized by the MUR and, in addition, a Master of Arts officially recognized by the British system (Privy Council) and issued by Regent’s University London.
The Domus Academy’s Master in Fashion Styling and Visual Merchandising includes theoretical courses in Fashion Culture, Integrated Communication Strategy, Fashion Marketing & Management, Professional Accelerator Activities, and the workshops in Fashion Styling and Retail & Visual Merchandising. Students have to attend also an elective workshop to be chosen among Fashion Buying, Entrepreneurship through Design and Identity Design.
PORTFOLIO CHALLENGE | FEB ’24