How to Become a

Visual Merchandiser

The complete career guide to be a Visual Merchandiser: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $29,790
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 2.7%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute

Visual merchandisers are in charge of designing and creating attention-grabbing visual displays at retail stores to pull in customer traffic and increase sales. In this role, you consider several strategic elements with regard to visual design to bring an aesthetic appeal for customers.

Recommended Schools

What is a Visual Merchandiser?


Here are some of the responsibilities undertaken by visual merchandisers:

  • Create an overarching marketing strategy and brand guidelines for consistency and uniformity throughout all stores
  • Produce a wide range of displays like signs, window displays, floor plans and special promotions
  • Perform research regarding key messages and establish a clear idea of the end goal
  • Track new product launches and alter the store displays in accordance with ongoing seasonal themes
  • Liaise with retail professionals like marketing executives and retail merchandizers for optimal visual appeal and sale value

Day In The Life

Visual merchandising is an important part of every retail strategy today as it spreads the values and aspirations behind a brand name. Your day will start with checking your emails for updates from the head office on brands and the different labels being stocked at stores. Based on this input and other financial reports, your role involves mapping the storefront and ensuring that fixtures are placed in the right style and position to maximise product sales. The physical store is a vital tool for communicating a brand to customers for long-lasting relationships.

A big part of a visual merchandiser’s work is to strategize on the store layout (i.e. on ledges, shelves, and fashion panels) for coming weeks, based on how much profit each mannequin at windows made and what were the bestselling styles. Working with the store manager, you have to coordinate efforts based on her concerns and discuss them with the regional VM via weekly conferences. New updates to the store must be recorded and shared with the VM manager and other senior staff for feedbacks and requests.

Work Schedule And Typical Hours

One typically works regular working hours (37-40 hours per week) in this role. Part-time work and freelance work is also available. However, while the designing and planning takes place at regular hours, installation of store displays takes place at irregular times. For this reason, working late evening and on the weekend is not uncommon. The job itself can be physically strenuous since you might have to climb ladders, stand for long hours and lift heavy goods. Working in a shop window can be exhausting and hot, but you will be based at an office or store.

Growth Of The Job

Looking ahead, careers in this job sector are expected to grow by 10.1% through 2023. Project employment opportunities due to a growing industry and turnover rates is averaged at 36,100. Retailers are increasingly looking at physical stores as more than just a space to sell merchandise.

Storytelling about the brand and connecting with consumers on a personal level, will bring about more jobs in this line of work as a visual merchandizer. During seasonal occasions and festivals like Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. one can find a wide range of jobs that require technical know-how and artistic skill to pull sales.

Typical Employers

Careers can differ dramatically based on where you choose to work. You have the opportunity to work for small and big retailers such as H&M, GUCCI, Topshop, Burberry, Crate and Barrel, Adidas, Estee Lauder Companies, Zara, L’Oreal, Target, Shiseido Cosmetics, Liz Clairborne, Fifth & Pacific, MSG Entertainment, Coach, Amazon, Macy’s, Barnes and Noble, IKEA, etc.

Alternatively, some visual merchandizers work for agencies that provide such services to a variety of clients in retail or other clients like events coordinators and companies that work with the design and manufacture of products.

Recommended Schools

How To Become a Visual Merchandiser

Most professionals on this career path hold an undergraduate degree in relevant areas of study like fine arts, spatial design, business studies, retail management, interior design and so on. Besides obtaining a degree, many learn the tricks of the trade with apprenticeships and gain shop-floor experience. Often, some retailers also have graduate schemes for visual merchandising roles although these are hard to track down.

To succeed at the work, you must be inclined to creative and artistic designing for arranging as well as maintaining visual presentations. Collaboration with other staff is another important aspect so excelling at teamwork and communication is a must. With new brands and labels released on short notice, work can be intense and on tight deadlines.

Visual Merchandiser Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Visual Merchandiser salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Visual Merchandiser's can make an average annual salary of $29,790, or $14 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $21,760 or $10 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #705 Nationally for All Careers

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Visual Merchandiser. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Visual Merchandisers

  • 1.4%   Doctorate
  • 8.7%   Masters
  • 47.4%   Bachelors
  • 12.7%   Associates
  • 17.6%   College
  • 9.8%   High School
  • 2.3%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Visual Merchandiser job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 3,300 jobs for a total of 124,100 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 2.7% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #527 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Visual Merchandisers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Self-employed workers 28,100 700 1%
Department stores 12,500 -2,600 -3%
Advertising, public relations, and related services 12,300 400 0%

Want To Be a Visual Merchandiser? Get Started!

Generate your free SmartPlan™ to identify colleges you like, and potential ways to save on a degree or certification program toward your career with courses, offers, and much more!

Enroll Now and Get Started

or Learn More →