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Becoming a Retail Designer

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Retail designers are also referred to as visual merchandisers. They are, in true sense of the word make-up artists for retail stores. They do the window dressing of retail stores and try to woo customers. They look after the display and arrangement of clothes and accessories in the display window, on the mannequins etc. They often use different props to create interesting overall views to catch the customer's attention.

A lot of stores change their displays as the season changes, or according to festivals round the corner to promote the celebratory mood. They put up different displays for each occasion to make it look appealing and thus the need for a retail designer is ever on the increase. Stores compete to attract the consumer market and take up all possible steps to lure customers. They do not want to leave any stone unturned for increasing their retail sales to maximize profits. And window display is the direct method for inviting prospective customers into the store.

Retail designing engulfs a large territory of work. A retail designer is responsible for everything right from planning to execution stage of their job. Their job includes getting their idea approved and then putting it up for display in the given time. All materials required for display have to be chosen well in advance along with the theme that can either revolve around the new collection or the new season, a particular sport, or anything else. The job of a retail designer, is to create designs 3D in the store for attracting the attention of the customer, who is practically wooed by the visual appeal of the window. The retail designer should see to it that the mannequins, clothing materials, accessories and props are orderly arranged for maintaining the look of the store. The displays are not restricted to the display windows alone. They can be put up in any other part of the store premises too. Retail designers also take up assignments of doing the interiors of trade exhibitions.



There is no skill requirement specified to be a retail designer, as it varies from organization to organization. Though having a qualification gives an edge over other candidates, the basic requirement is that you need a high school diploma or its equivalent. Some big business houses emphasize on having degrees on fashion merchandising. Associate degrees are also mandatory for certain businesses. You can be a graduate in interior or fashion designing.

Whether one has a degree or not is secondary; there are a few basic skills that are a perquisite to be a retail designer. These include:
  • Capability to visualize and create
  • Having the art of time management
  • Ability to manage personnel and entrust them with work
  • Alternative designing skills
  • Capability to understand consumer needs and requirements
  • Knowing basic retail marketing and sales strategies
  • Capability to convey ideas in the right way
  • Having a positive attitude with a zeal to do new things
  • Good communication skills
While some of these needs can be met by undertaking a learning program others are inborn - like the ability to visualize and create, and need to be application-oriented. Retail designing is coming up as a new job option for people with a creative bent of mind.

Although you really don't need to be trained in retail designing, a little bit of formal coaching is always an advantage. An internship program is helpful as it provides candidates with a competitive streak. Post secondary programs like fashion merchandising and applied design come of help too. Prior experience along with a relevant degree in the field does help as well.

Retail designers are in demand in various fields. While they are responsible for doing up a retail space to attract customers, their jobs also include designing and managing public places like malls, department stores, clothing stores, bookstores, electronic markets etc, travel agencies, health and rejuvenation centers, salons, spas for promoting their sales.

Retail design needs planning and perfect execution. While a maximum portion of the work is done indoors, there may be some events that are performed outdoors, like sidewalk sales or trade shows. Some tasks also involve a lot of traveling. Designing spaces can be a physically challenging job. One needs to be physically fit to execute the plans in the appropriate manner.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean hourly wage of a retail designer comes to around $14. The areas of employment vary from departmental stores, public relations and related services, clothing stores, grocery and related products, travel and reservation, drugs, healthcare and personal care stores etc. The higher the post the better the salary involved. The annual mean remuneration varies from $30000- $40000 and goes up to more than $100,000 for experienced designers.

Retail designers charge a large sum of money, and the bill amounts can go up to thousands of dollars per year. The designers need to discuss their plans and budget estimations with the financial department while fulfilling the needs of the designing and merchandising department too. Like all other retail jobs, they too need to move in tandem to achieve the goals collectively.
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Popular tags:

 organizations  exhibits  senses  architects  clothing  department stores  sales  profits  consumer needs  Bureau of Labor Statistics


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