Visual merchandiser

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Window dresser, display assistant

Visual merchandisers design eye-catching product displays and store layouts to encourage sales.

Salary range: £12,000 to £55,000

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How to become a visual merchandiser

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
  • a specialised distance learning course
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College

You could do a college course before looking for a trainee job with a retailer. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Fashion Retail
  • Level 3 Diploma in Retail Skills Visual Merchandising

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

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Apprenticeship

You can get into this job through an advanced apprenticeship in retail visual merchandising.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

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Work

You could start as a retail worker and take on more responsibility for displays and merchandising as your experience grows.

Direct application

You may be able to apply directly for jobs if you have retail experience and can show enthusiasm and a flair for display design.

Other routes

You can do a Certificate in Display and Visual Merchandising through the British Display Society. This is a distance learning course and could help whether you’re working in retail or looking for your first job.

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Professional and industry bodies

You could become a member of the British Display Society for professional development and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about working in visual merchandising from Creative Choices and the Fashion Retail Academy.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks will include:

  • designing product displays and floor plans, or following plans from head office
  • drawing designs and plans by hand or computer
  • using space and lighting creatively
  • sourcing materials like models, props, signs and equipment
  • arranging displays and dressing dummies
  • teaching sales staff how to display goods
  • producing brand guidelines so all stores have the same look and feel

Working environment

You could work at a store.

Your working environment may be physically demanding, hot and cramped.

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Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to team leader, then visual merchandising manager.

You could also move into retail, exhibition or interior design, or set up your own business creating one-off displays.