The creative side of retail...

Presentation is the key to grabbing customers' attention - you need to be able to stop the customer and entice them into the store by telling a story through the visual displays in order for the sales staff to make a sale.

Depending upon company size, marketing functions may be centralised in one department, divided into different departments (like advertising, sales promotion, visual merchandising, and public relations), or grouped in various combinations. Marketing also conducts focus groups and statistical analysis of customer buying patterns to develop strategies and plans that guide marketing components like ads, websites and store signage, sale displays, and floor plans and layouts.

female dressing mannequin in suit lots of various mannequin pieces hands Visual merchandisers design the merchandising plan for a store or group of stores, in order to maximize sales opportunities by attracting the attention of customers. They may develop individual displays such as window, wall or point of These can range from simple product stands at cash registers to more elaborate and creative window displays. As well as attracting customers, displays can also project the image of the store and target specific groups of customers.

Some visual merchandisers may also be involved in developing a merchandising plan for a group of stores, including a schedule of displays and promotions, with instructions for others to implement the merchandising plan. They may also work on the practical elements such as making props and organising lighting. Visual merchandisers usually work in consultation with others within an organisation, such as store staff and managers, marketing and promotions staff.

There are other roles related to presenting goods such as shelf fillers and housekeeping.
Tasks may include:

  • Filling shelves so earliest 'use-by' dates are at the front
  • Noting what has been sold and collecting goods from the stockroom
  • Maintaining shelf order by replacing goods that are in the wrong place
  • Ensuring display areas are clean and tidy.

"If you show flair, have a creative streak and the ability to think laterally then a career in the presentation side of retail may suit you."

Dennis Karis

DennisName: Dennis Karis
Place of Work: Shades
Role: Buyer
Estimated salary range for this job role: $70K +

Retail came as an opportunity after visiting an eyewear store in Sydney in the early 80s, and I saw a gap in the market place for fashionable sunglasses. For me, working on the relationships with the suppliers and their range comes first - it's about the direction and the store. You cannot be everything to everybody with buying it's about the right product and the range according to your market. As a buyer I have to research and always be prepared to travel - I love it!

Shades is a unique retail concept, catering from middle to high end eyewear, with a focus on fashion. We carefully select each range including deciding on every style and colour of sunglasses and only stock the worlds best and most exciting brands.

Buying for your market is the critical factor. If I need to travel overseas to discuss the brands with the suppliers then I do it! Every year I travel to Milan, the mecca for those who want to read the future in fashion.

It's not about negotiating it's about the look - the price and the margins. Importantly I try to look five years ahead to keep on top of the market because retail is forever changing. Shade is all about self expression, so as a buyer I am committed to finding new stock to reflect the imagination and personality of or customers. I aim to take the customer out of a narrow conservative past and into a new dimension of style, offering an essential blend of practicality, fashion and individuality.