Visual merchandiser

window dresser display assistant
Support

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would create eye-catching displays and store layouts to help bring in more customers.

As a visual merchandiser in a large retail company, you would work as part of a display team. You would follow design plans created at head office by a visual merchandising manager or senior display designer.

Your role may sometimes overlap with that of a display designer. Display designers create things like display stands, stock containers and sales posters.

Tasks vary, but in general you would:

  • Produce design ideas for displays and develop floor plans, or follow a company plan
  • Create special displays to promote a specific product or offer
  • Decide how to use space and lighting creatively
  • Make best use of a store's space and layout
  • Give feedback to head office and buying teams
  • Set up displays, dress dummies and arrange screens, fabric and posters
  • Source display materials and hire, borrow or make props
  • Make sure that prices and other required details can be seen
  • Teach sales staff how goods should be displayed
  • Take down old displays

As a senior visual merchandiser, you would also plan the store display for the year, draw design plans and buy the right models, props, equipment and signs.

As a head office visual merchandiser coordinator, you may have to prepare visual merchandising packs to send to other stores, so that all stores have the same look and feel.

Working conditions

Hours

In a full-time job you would work 37 to 40 hours a week, often including late evenings in order to set up displays when stores are closed. Part-time work may be available.

Environment

You could be based at head office or at a store. Putting up displays would mean spending a lot of time on your feet as well as lifting, carrying and climbing ladders. Working in shop windows can be hot and cramped.

Travel

If you work for a chain store, you might travel to different branches to set up displays and give instructions to sales staff.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Working on your own
  • Using computers
  • Designing
  • Being creative
  • Time management
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

There are no set qualifications for this role, but entry is competitive. An education that demonstrates design skills and an understanding of retail would be valuable.

You could gain entry with one of the following: 

  • An HNC/HND in design or retail studies (SCQF Level 7/8). The entry requirements include National 5 qualifications and two Highers. You may get in without the necessary Highers if you have a good portfolio.
  • A degree in design or retail studies (SCQF Level 9/10). The entry requirements usually include National 5 qualifications and a minimum of three Highers or a relevant HNC/HND. You may need to have a portfolio and have completed your Highers in one sitting.
  • A Modern Apprenticeship in Retail (SCQF Level 5/6). You could gain experience and build your skills through an apprenticeship. 

Useful subjects

Most courses and employers require:

  • Art and design
  • English  

You will also need

You will usually need a portfolio and retail experience to enter this job.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show creative, display and sales skills such as:

  • Skills for Work: Retailing (SCQF level 5)
  • Creative Industries (SCFQ level 5)
  • Higher National Diploma in Display Design for Retail (SCQF level 8)

Relevant work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Retail: Visual Merchandising (SVQ level 3), or be willing to work towards qualifications once in a job.