Visual Merchandising Industry Overview

Success in the fashion industry requires more than just designing and manufacturing quality apparel and accessories. Fashion marketing connects products with customers and is critical to the business of fashion. A specific aspect of fashion marketing, visual merchandising, centers around the placement and presentation of products, often in retail stores.


What is Visual Merchandising?

Mannequins, window installations, and wall displays are all examples of ways visual merchandising is used to get a customer’s attention and guide their purchase decisions. If you’ve ever walked past or inside a retail store, then you have seen visual merchandising at work. Visual merchandising is a marketing technique that employs the use of floor plans and three-dimensional displays to entice customers, project a positive store image, and maximize sales.

Visual merchandising begins on the outside of the store, often with attractive window displays, to entice the customer to come inside. Visual marketing in the store, such as interactive displays or seasonal decor, can be used to set a mood and introduce customers to new or featured products. The visual merchandiser will also consider in-store traffic flow patterns to identify the optimal placement of displays and new products.


What Does A Visual Merchandiser Do?

A visual merchandiser oversees and coordinates the display exhibits and decor in a retail store. This begins by deciding on a theme for the store and then evoking that concept visually through design techniques.

A visual merchandiser may choose a color theme, tell a story, present a lifestyle, or evoke a particular emotion. Corporate messaging and product branding will also be taken into account. The visual merchandiser will then execute their strategy, relying on their knowledge of fashion marketing and design theory.

A visual merchandiser may develop and manage:
  • Window installations
  • Shelving layouts
  • Interactive displays
  • In-store displays
  • Point-of-sale displays
  • Mannequin styling
  • Graphic design and placement
  • Seasonal decorations


How to Become a Visual Merchandiser

The best way to start on the path to a career in this field is by earning a degree in visual merchandising or a related field. Employers will expect applicants to have experience in design theory and be savvy in retail business practices. A degree in visual merchandising will equip you with the skills required for success on the job. In a visual merchandising program you’ll learn a range of skills specific to this profession, such as designing store layouts, conducting market research, and budgeting display creation.

Employers may hire a visual merchandiser without this education, but a visual merchandising degree means you have the most directly-applicable preparation for being a successful visual merchandiser. Additionally, all courses at LIM College mix class studies with hands-on experience to provide real-life exposure.

Who is a Good Fit?

Visual merchandising calls for a hands-on, creative person. If you’re innovative,design-oriented, and thrilled at the possibility of making a store look amazing, this career might be right for you. This is an attractive career to many because it unites an eye for design and style with business strategy. In addition to being creative and business-minded, visual merchandisers must also stay aware of current fashion trends and customer preferences.

Sample Coursework

Below are some of the required courses to receive a visual merchandising degree from LIM College:

  • Introduction to the Fashion Business
  • Color and Design
  • Display Graphics
  • Visual Presentation
  • Store Design
  • Product Presentation
  • Visual Merchandising: History, Theory and Practice
  • Applied Concepts in Merchandising
  • Finance



Visual Merchandising Degree at LIM College

Interested in starting down the path to a career in visual merchandising? LIM College offers a specialized visual merchandising degree program that will give you a competitive edge in the professional world.

Undergraduate Programs

Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) / 4-Year Degree
The Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Visual Merchandising degree program provides an in-depth analysis of the retail store environment. You're introduced to the principles, philosophies and technologies of visual merchandising through first-hand exploration and hands-on classroom experimentation.

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Want to Learn More?

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More About Visual Merchandising

Continue to explore this industry and learn more about your career in the business of fashion.

Visual Merchandising Careers & Job Descriptions
Visual Merchandising Salary Guide