Visual Manager Job Description
Visual managers are responsible for the aesthetic ambiance of a retail store. They develop and arrange the floor plan of a store and make changes based on sales data, seasons, and inventory. They may work for a single store location or be in control of a few stores within their area. Every retail niche that has brick and mortar locations employ visual managers. The biggest employer of visual managers is the fashion retail industry. Fashion brands use the arrangement of their space to create an aesthetic that matches their brand’s values. Grocery stores and home improvement stores also rely on visual managers to strategically arrange their sales floor. In-store visual managers work retail hours, which means nights and weekends. Visual managers who work out of the home office and have multiple stores under their control usually do store visits during the morning and on weekdays.
n some companies, a team of visual merchandisers is employed. Those who work in-store for fashion retail brands may also have to manage sales employees. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for “Retail Workers,” which includes visual managers, is set to rise 2 percent through 2026.
Visual Manager Duties and Responsibilities
Arranging a retail store in a way that maximizes profitability involves several tasks. We perused a handful of visual manager job descriptions to come up with the following list of core duties:
Monitor Visual Merchandising Strategies of Competing Brands
Visual managers have to constantly monitor what their employer’s competition is doing visually. This involves visiting their store locations and experiencing their floor layout through the eyes of the customer.
Strategize with Operations Team
Visual managers develop their merchandising strategies off of the physical inventory of their stores. They alter the floor plan based on what is selling well, what is on sale, and what is in season.
Develop Designs for Merchandising Signage
“Signage” is a key part of the visual merchandising process. Visual managers work with the design team to create marketing materials that are most likely to influence customer behavior.
Develop Training Programs
One component of any visual merchandising plan is developing a training program that helps store employees maintain the visual standards set forth in the visual manager’s strategy.
Implement Visual Merchandising Strategies
Visual managers who are responsible for more than one store visit each location to help staff rearrange their store to the latest visual standards. They also guide sales associates through a training program that goes over the company’s visual standards. Visual managers who work in-store tweak their strategy based on available inventory.
Visual Manager Skills
Developing and implementing a visual merchandising strategy takes an interesting blend of knowledge, skills, and abilities. Visual managers know the products their employer sells inside and out. They consider each product’s size, profit margins, and sales success as they create their merchandising strategies. Visual managers also know how to conduct competitive analysis. A big part of their job is paying attention to how the competition is using visual merchandising to drive sales. When it comes to character traits, visual managers are strategic thinkers with a strong eye for detail. They possess strong spatial awareness to design merchandise floor plans. In addition to these traits and areas of knowledge, the following skills are needed to be a successful visual manager:
- Conducting competitive analysis on rival brands to learn from their visual merchandising strategy
- Developing visual merchandising strategies based on season, current promotions, and inventory in stock
- Communicating and collaborating effectively with operations team to make sure all stores have enough inventory to maintain the company’s visual standards
- Innovation in creating signage for visual merchandising campaigns
- Strategic in designing and implementing training programs to teach employees how to keep merchandise at company visual standard
Visual Manager Tools of the Trade
If your goal is to become a visual manager, you should be skilled in using the following:
- Plan-o-gram – The plan-o-gram is like the blueprint that shows where each piece of merchandise should be placed on the sales floor
Visual Manager Education and Training
Although education that exceeds a high school diploma is not technically a requirement, most employers want candidates who have at least an associate’s degree in visual merchandising or business administration. Coursework includes topics like marketing, business organization, retail management, and economics.
Visual Manager Salary
According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for visual managers is $53,654. Those in the lower percentile make $38,000, while those in the higher percentile make $78,000.
Visual Manager Resources
If you work in visual merchandising and are looking to take the next step as a visual manager, then check out the list of resources below:
Retail Design Blog – The Retail Design Blog gets over 20,000 visitors a day. They have been around since 2011 and post new articles regularly on the latest visual merchandising news and trends.
Visual Merchandising Blog – This blog is filled with tons of pictures of visual displays and short blurbs about why they work so well. It is a great place for visual managers to draw inspiration. They also have some helpful articles in their archive.
Visual Merchandising, Third Edition: Windows and in-store displays for retail by Tony Morgan – This book was written with visual merchandising students in mind. It is written in a way that’s easy to digest and covers everything visual managers need to know to successfully do their jobs.
Visual Merchandising for Fashion by Sarah Bailey and Jonathan Baker – This is the perfect read for visual managers who work in the fashion industry.
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