Photo Gallery 045: Visual Merchandisers Are Playing Increasingly Important Role In Offline Fashion Stores

摘要: Lots of brands have already noticed the important impact of visual merchandising over consumers’ shopping experience. Therefore, Visual Merchandiser (VM), as the "commander-in-chief" in fashion clothes shops, has become a popular profession. In Photo Gallery 045, we followed a VM who's worked for some leading fashion brands and asked him to introduce to our readers what VM do and why VMs' work is important.

(Chinese Version)

Editor’s Note:

How can offline stores attract consumers facing the challenge from e-commerce platforms? As more global high-end brands open shops in China, an increasing number of high-end shops can be seen in first-tier cities in China. At the same time, lots of brands have already noticed the important impact of visual merchandising over consumers’ shopping experience. Therefore, Visual Merchandiser (VM), as the “commander-in-chief” in fashion clothes shops, has become a popular profession.

In Photo Gallery 045, we followed a VM who’s worked for some leading fashion brands and asked him to introduce to our readers what VM do and why VMs’ work is important.

Xi Yulin worked as a visual merchandiser for several leading brands such as Adidas, GUCCI, LOTTO, I DO, etc. From a visual merchandiser’s assistant to a visual director, Chen has accumulated twenty years of experience and established her own training schools in 2015. He majored in Fashion Design in college and applied for Visual Merchandiser (VM) for a jeans brand after graduation, noticing that graduates who majored in Fashion Design and were experienced in painting are preferred. Yet, he didn’t know clearly what did VM do at that time.

Xi was delivering a course for students. “Visual merchandisers give a second life to products by predicting the selling points and figuring out designers’ intention,” he said. According to him, VM is still a new profession in China and emerged only fifty or sixty years ago. There’s still a lack of awareness of VM’s role and the importance of necessary training, so VR talents are still scarce. Since he majored in Fashion Design, he was at an advantage when adapting to the profession. Most of his students were college students, shop owners and fashion fans. “Many people take for granted that since offline shops are challenged by online shops, VMs also find it hard to make a living. However, this is far from the fact, since online shops also need VMs. Many online shop owners told me that after the training, they knew better how to take pictures for their products in a more advanced and attractive manner, and their visit times also improved a lot,” he told TMTpost.

Xi was merchandising a brand’s offline shop. He chose to dress the doll in the latest model. “The basic work of a VM is to divide the shop into different areas based on colors and styles. Otherwise, the shop won’t be orderly enough,” he explained. For outsiders, VMs’ work seem to be quite simple, just like sorting out clothes. However, lots of techniques are involved in the entire process, from folding clothes to preparing the merchandising area.

Xi was teaching students how to display a silk scarf. “Scarves are sometimes made of silk, but can also be made of drapery and cotton, etc. Since they are made of different materials, they may look quite different in colors and lines on display. Therefore, a qualified VM must be able to display a scarf based on its materials and hide unnecessary details,” he told students.

Xi was examining if the merchandising style works well at a shop. He demanded that all the hanger be hanged in the same direction and separated by the same distance, believing that such details can reflect a VM’s work attitude and give consumers a sense of order.

After merchandising the shop, Xi also had to adjust the light. “Lights must be adjusted based on how clothes are displayed, so as to let lights, products and props better tell the brand’s story together. For example, different lights should be used to match jewelry, watch, clothes and bags. While lights should be brighter when displaying smoother and smaller products such as jewelry, lights should be softer when displaying larger products such as clothes,” he explained.

Xi was showing students how to display a pair of jeans. “A qualified VM must be able to design the display style of shop windows in different seasons independently. Besides, a qualified VM should work like a craftsman and be patient and steadfast enough in work, so as to perfect every detail just like visual artist Dali,” he taught students.

“If you display products simply in rows, then they would look like as if from supermarkets or roadside stands. For example, if a VM can display a set of accessories based on the area of the display plate and features of different accessories, then these accessories and jewelry may look higher-end. The best VM should be able to display products worthy of half a hundred yuan in a way that they seem to be worthy of a couple or several thousand yuan,” he explained.

“Sometimes, a millimeter matters when displaying a product. However, such difference can only be detected by a qualified VM. Therefore, a VM has to decide to let consumers see which part of the product first, which color first and which product first based on the product’s feature as well as consumers’ mentality. A lot of factors have to be taken into consideration when display products,” he added.

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[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @Zhu Lingyu, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]

Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.

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