The Retail stores are more of digital visualization and descriptive information. These designs are the visual store graphics that help the customers to know the brands and their products through displayed information.

A Signage is a key to Visual presentation and to get business by providing information about store, brands, customer services, help desk, new arrivals, price range and features of the products. It also guides the customers in right direction to reach their desired location or destination by simply following the displayed information.

Signs are any kind of visual graphics created to display information for targeted audience. They are designed in attractive and symbolic way to deliver clear message and be eye-catchy. They help the customers to recognize and identify the brands in most effective way.

Role of Signage in Store:

  • Signages helps the customer to locate the store easily and within no time when provided with proper informative.
  • It provides all necessary information about the store, from entrance to inside available products, to the products they are looking for in the absence of the respective staff, to price value and so on.
  • It also helps us to know the brands as per gender and categories available in store.
  • From entrance, it’s the sign board or the creative Brand board that attracts the customers into the store. As the retailer can’t afford to loose a single customer, the sign board helps the brand to pull in the customers into store.
  • A single glance at the sign board, let the customer decide if they have stepped into right store or not.
  • A sign board is an effective medium of communication between the retailers and the customers.
  • A sign board leaves a long impact by creating its unique identity and also by influencing customers buying decision.
  • It also helps you promote the products and offers displayed on signage helps you convert customer into purchasing it.
  • It’s time-consuming and convenient for customers to locate their destination
  • The Store exterior needs to be all the time eye-catching, fresh and upto-date as oppose to a direct competitor on the streets. Also it helps to lead your targeted customers in store and gets in the foot traffic through the door.
  • When someone stops at any particular brand to read a signage or shares it with a friend , you have got a better chance of them trying the product and making the sale.

There are 5 major elements in Visual merchandising that help the brands and Retail companies to create a long lasting influence on the customers:

  • Store Exterior/ Façade
  • Store Entrance/ Front
  • Store Interior
  • Interior Display/ Visual Merchandising
  • Informational Sign Boards

Importance of Safety Signage installation in Store:

All Companies are well planned with all secured and safety measures to be taken of their employees and the customers visiting the store. Safety signages in all the business represent an essential element for their health and the company safety policies.

Safety signages are very valuable at the workplace to ensure they are always being used properly and are known to it. Implementation of safety signages often require lot of reading, instructions to follow and learning on the part of the employees.

The value of safety signs depends on the ability to communicate most important safety messages in such a way that’s visually expressible, seeking attention and precise.

Signs can be used to highlight safe exit routes and the location of first aid kits, fire extinguishers and other equipment’s, to provide guidelines about hazardous situations and prohibited actions in certain area.

Lastly, Safety signs are designed offering more than just a warning, by ensuring the workers are working at the safest place and in effective way.

Not all the time will the trained staffs be immediate present or accessible to workers at the store who are seeking any help for safety purpose.

Legal Requirements of Sign Boards:

The sign boards are the legal requirements at any workplace to avoid any unsafety, hazardous & dangerous situations. They are mandatory at workplace for the safety of workers and walk in customers for guiding them with exit routes, first kid & fire extinguisher location.

These sign boards need to be visibly placed, clear, legal, informative and well maintained and to be used during the following circumstances:

  • To warn against dangerous and prohibited actions in a certain area
  • To highlight safeguards and procedures that must be followed, or equipment that must be worn
  • To direct people towards essential safety gear and fire safety exits.

While Installing, to be taken care of:

  • The Sign board should not block the entrance or the store interior for that matter.
  • It should be clearly visible from long distance as well, from the entrance of the store.
  • The sign board must have all the important information required to convey to the customers.
  • Do not provide too much information as it would mislead or confuse the customers and also not lead them in the right direction.
  • The sign board material like the printing & fabric quality should be high or premium as per budget too, to avoid creating bad image at the entrance.
  • The sign board should be clearly visible and attractive from distance and informative, like a word “Discount” plays a trick in inviting the customers at store.
  • The sign board should be designed in most unique and innovative way as per brand image for customers to way at store
  • It should have bold fonts where ever required keeping in mind the standards of the brand to be maintained.
  • Without fail, mentioning the applied terms and conditions with a “*” mark, applicable on the products at store level.
  • The information provided should be applicable and valid after checking with the on-going offers in the store, or else it could end with disputes between customers and the store.
  • The hygiene of the signages displayed should be taken care of on daily basis and to be well maintained knowing its not torn or damaged from anywhere, or even there is no dust visible to create bad image of the brand.
  • From perspective of a retailer the aspects like attention grabbing signage display, premium quality material used and cost-effective without exceeding the budget are aligned properly for an upcoming event to lead successful.
  • We also need to keep in mind, the brand requirements and standard guidelines to be followed without misleading the customer.

           

“Signage Design plays vital role in growing Business”

Retail is a very vast industry, there are several categories to explore & learn about. They allow to present the most effective way of managing the products and create ease for the shoppers.

If you think about this categorization in retail as the business revolves around sustaining life and goods that provide a lifestyle.

Retailers began to realize that giving customers different experiences and offerings a great way to increase profits. This gave rise to different types of retail establishments that we see today that depend on consumer behavior and manufacturer abilities. Each of them differentiates themselves from the rest based on the products they offer and the how the manner in which it is offered.

Classification of Retail Stores:

1.Department Stores: Department stores are set up by offering customers everything under one roof. They present all types of options to consumers and end up fulfilling their shopping needs. They are well-known for offering products at different pricing levels and for the variety of products that they offer.

Range of products:

  • Apparels
  • Non-Apparels (Watch, Foot-wears, Perfumes…)
  • Electronic Appliances
  • Books
  • CDs/DVDs
  • Toys
  • Home Furnishings
  • Cosmetics
  • Sportswear/Swimwear

Example- Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Pantaloons, etc.

2.Specialty Stores: As the name “Specialty”, says these stores are into one particular product and would not sell anything rather than a specific product range. They are more on high customer satisfaction. They are known for having a very narrow product line. The customers purchasing from these are less price-driven. These outlets are specialized in given merchandise like men’s clothing or women’s clothing only.

Example –You will find only Van Heusen merchandise at Van Heusen store and nothing else, thus making it a specialty store. You can never find Blackberrys merchandise at a Van Heusen outlet.

3.Discount Stores: These stores give a maximum discount to the consumers on the products they sell. They believe in competing based on low prices, high turnover, and high volume. The discount stores generally offer a limited range and the quality in certain cases might be a little inferior as compared to the department stores.

Example – Walmart is a fine example, also Mega mart.

4.Hyper/Supermarkets: Supermarkets are one of the most common types of retail outlets. They are large, departmentalized, self-service stores that specialize in food and some non-food items. FMCG products are the main focus in such stores when compared to consumer durables.

The product assortment is given great importance in supermarkets as the products need to be displayed in a manner such that customers get attracted to them, and they sell faster.

Range of Products:

Bakery products

 Cereals

 Meat Products, Fish products

 Breads

 Medicines

 Vegetables

 Fruits

 Soft drinks

 Frozen Food

 Canned Juices

Example- Big Bazar, Reliance Fresh, D-mart

5.Convenience Stores: Usually located in residential areas. They offer limited products with the added value of convenience it. They are generally small establishments with fast service and a focused approach.

6.Warehouse Stores: Retail format stores are not much bothering with their interiors and product displays. They have limited stock, supply in bulk at a huge discounted price.

7.Malls: Under one roof, you get several brands of retail stores operating. Several retail formats selling their brand merchandise at a common platform.

8.E Trailers: This type of format works for people who have a hectic schedule. Nowadays, it’s easy to sit at home and book on online apps by bearing the shipping charges. The products can be ordered through credit/debit cards or even cash on delivery option can be opted and the products will be delivered at their homes only. 

But there is a disadvantage to it as the product ordered may not reach in the same condition. Many retailers are also tying up with these services to gain business.

Example- Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra.

9.Off-Price Retailers: They are commonly termed as “Factory Outlet”, as in-store you will find varieties of mix merchandises – brands, private labels, fashion brands, etc. They are mostly slightly defective, offseason, old season, and not moving fast and out of fashion colors.

They are away from the regular market and fashion shopping zones inside the city. Generally, they don’t prefer to spend on the store interior much and also on the services in the store. Manufacturers also prefer to have few outlets in each city to push excess or dead stock and reduce the cost of operations. In India, most of the brands that have these outlets at various outlets in the city. 

Example: Reebok, Nike, Arrow, Levis use this extensively.

10.Value Retailers: Non-traditional retailers, categories into gift items, craft items, home décor items at an affordable price – low to the mid-price point. They are based in areas where the purchase isn’t high and have a very small store of about 5000 sq.ft 

They are fast-growing segments in the market. They also specialize in selling items in lower units, which may not be available in the market otherwise.

Example: In India, 49/99 stores have just made a mark in the segment. They sell products within a strict price point to attract customers.

11. Services Retailing: It is a very large subject and as important and wide as store retailing. It can be a childcare center, financial planning center, dry cleaning center, weight loss center, internet parlor, telephone booths, entertainment parks, hotels, etc.

The difference between service retailing and store/merchandise retailing is that products to be sold in service retailing are intangible (for example, healthcare services), perishable (for example, hotel rooms), suffers from inconsistency (financial investment advice), and has to produced instantly (for example Restaurants) for instant consumption.

Visual Merchandising (VM) is a part of Retail that helps to beautify and enhance the Categories & Brands.VM is a mind tool that helps us to an amazing ambiance in-store or to a particular display. It can be done anywhere with any product or merchandise. It is spread all over Retail, in any category from Apparels to Non-Apparels.

It is fun to do VM, where we keep on playing with elements of designs like colors, forms – 2d & 3d, shape, harmony, balance, proportion & repetition. The Elements of design help us to understand the products or merchandise more in detail.

VM is a business derived concept designed for all categories like Apparels – innerwear, lingerie, menswear, women’s wear & kids wear, also in Non-Apparels – accessories, luggage, footwear, handbags, cosmetics & perfumes, a home category in Retail. 

6 Categories of Indian Retail Sector: 

1.Food Retailers: Traditional types of retailers, who operate small single-outlet businesses mainly using family labor. There are a large number of and variety of retailers in the food-retailing sector. Supermarkets account for a small proportion of food sales in India. Consumers prefer to shop at supermarkets due to higher standards of hygiene and attractive ambiance.

2.Health & Beauty Products:

With the growth in income levels, customers have started spending more on health and beauty products. Single-outlet retailers domi­nate the market. This business is ex­pected to grow significantly in the future due to the growing quality con­sciousness of buyers for these products.

3. Clothing & Footwear:

There are numerous clothing and footwear shops at the shopping centers and markets operating all over India. Modern clothing and footwear stores have modern products and attractive displays to lure customers. With rapid urbanization, and changing patterns of consumer tastes and prefer­ences

 4. Home Furniture & Household Goods: Despite the large size of the market, very few large and modern retailers have established specialized stores of these products. 

5.Durable Goods: A great variety of consumer electronic items and household appliances became available to the Indian customer. Intense competition among companies to sell their brands provide strong growth to retailers doing busi­ness in this sector.

6.Leisure & Personal Goods: The need for lifestyle due to better economic opportunities have encouraged consumer expenses on leisure and personal goods in the country. There are specialized retailers for each category of products-books, music products, etc in this sector. 

It is done in-store using basic terms like Current season, Color blocking, Folding types, ongoing Campaign, Planogram implementation with the help of brand standards & Norms.

When working with a particular Brand or Company, provide yourself with the standard Brand norms to get a unique display in the world of Retail. Organizing & managing things as per the standard norms lead to a “Beautiful Display” is the work of a Visual Merchandiser. 

Visual Merchandising acts as “A Silent Seller” to help the brands perform best & lead to their Targets. It also helps customers to get their requirements conveniently.

“Design is thinking made Visual

A Visual Merchandiser is a person hired by every Brand to help in-store brand categories to perform & get the sale through value. Visual Merchandiser is full of knowledge about colors, aesthetics & ideas to perform best to their abilities. They also help in getting very unique ideas to manipulate with customer’s mind & lead the customer to buy the product.

A visual merchandiser is responsible for putting together the visual presentation and arrangements for items that are on sale. Their main job is to creating something alluring while being a good representation of the product. They use their design skills to help in promoting the products, image, and services of retail businesses and other organizations.

Every person has a unique way of thinking & displaying the products. They use their designing skills to promote the product and services of retail for businesses and other organizations. They create eye– catching merchandise displays and Store lay-outs. 

Depending on your responsibilities, your day-to-day work might include:

  1. Producing design ideas for displays and developing floor plans, or following a company plan
  2. Creating special displays to promote a specific product or offer
  3. Drawing designs and plans by hand or computer
  4. Deciding how to use space and lighting creatively
  5. Making the best use of a store’s space and layout
  6. Creating branded visual merchandising packs to send to each branch of a store
  7. Giving feedback to head office and buying teams
  8. setting up displays, dressing dummies, and arranging screens, fabric, and posters
  9. Sourcing display materials and hiring, borrowing or making props
  10. Teaching sales staff how goods should be displayed
  11. Taking down old displays

Senior visual merchandisers are usually responsible for planning the store display for the year, creating visual plans, and buying the appropriate models, props, equipment, and signage.

Head office visual merchandiser coordinators often prepare a visual merchandising pack to send to other stores, so that all stores have the same company look and feel.

Being a visual merchandiser could involve traveling between stores, working from head office, or taking responsibility for one particular store, depending on your level of responsibility and which retailer you work for. 

Some Visual merchandisers, usually seniors create the designs themselves either by hand or using customer software, whereas others in store responsible for implementing the designs physically. Implementing designs usually direct as lifting heavy equipment, dressing mannequins, or revamping store layouts.

The job of a visual merchandiser requires them to be highly creative and innovative. They have to come up with new ideas to place their product in the market and grab the attention of customers.

You will find Visual merchandisers in Retail as there is direct contact with customers & can encourage them to buy the products. The main goal of doing VM is to attract, engage, and motivate the customer towards making a purchase. There are key elements that we need to follow while doing display are color, landscape, communication, texture, and décor for an effective display.

Image Credits – Mannequin Madness
Image Credits – Mannequin Madness
Image Credits – Parkson Malaysia
Image Credits – Drapers

It has benefits to retail business with increase customer entry and increases sales. With effective visual merchandising, the amount of customers enters the brand and notice most of it, also have a clear and positive perspective towards it.

Eligibility to become A Visual Merchandiser:

It is required to meet the eligibility criteria of a visual merchandiser should be the primary objective that must be fulfilled by the candidate who wishes to pursue a career in this profession.

  • The candidate must have completed his/ her graduation with a degree in design.
  • The aspirant must obtain his/ her undergraduate degree from a recognized university.
  • Candidates who have done a diploma course in Visual Merchandising are also recruited at certain posts.
  • Having some experience during an internship etc. will make the candidature of the student more solid and he/ she will be given preference over others who have no experience.
  • Proficiency in design tools and software like Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. is mandatory.
  • Moving from an in-store sales assistant role to a trainee visual merchandiser post.

A Good Visual Merchandiser makes a store stand out with their creative skills and attract shoppers. They do not only help the store look attractive but also help within increasing customers & sales to their Retail businesses which in return gives a good reason for customers to come back again.

Skills required to be a Visual Merchandiser:

  • Understanding of the Brand
  • Creative and Innovative Mind
  • Commercial Awareness
  • Sharp Analytics
  • Keeps updates about Trends
  • Decision Maker
  • Computer Literacy
  • Strong Communication 
  • Leadership Skills 

A Career in Visual Merchandising:

Advantage:

  • It is a job that will allow you to make the most of your creativity and see your designs on full display. Added to that, if you work for a company with branches abroad, you may have the chance to travel internationally, except at the beginning stages of your career.
  • The job of a visual merchandiser is very creative and innovative, so the individual doesn’t find the job to be uninteresting.
  • Interacting with the customers directly through their designs allowed them an opportunity to get honest feedback.

Disadvantage:

  • Like several times a year, the displays have to be updated in-line with sales promotions and seasonal changes. During busier times, you may have to work for long hours.
  • At times, visual merchandisers have to work extra to meet the deadlines and have all the work completed by then. Some urgent requirements may lead them to pull off extra hectic hours to deliver within tight deadlines.
  • The pay scale of visual merchandisers increases gradually. Freshers are not given huge salary packages unless they are working for leading international brands.
  • The competition in terms of visual merchandising is quite tough. Therefore, visual merchandisers have to constantly provide better and more creative work

Top Recruiting Companies for a Visual Merchandiser:

  • H&M
  • Shoppers Stop
  • Reliance Industries
  • Aditya Birla Group
  • Landmark Group
  • Puma
  • Marks and Spencer
  • Big Bazaar
  • Forrest Essentials

Employment Opportunities for a Visual Merchandiser

The sectors and industries in which visual merchandisers are recruited consist of a vast range. Some of the leading industries that hire visual merchandisers have been listed below. Candidates can look for a job as a visual merchandiser in any of these areas.

  • Retail Establishments
  • Museums
  • Department Stores
  • Galleries
  • Various Outlets
  • Theatre Companies
  • Fashion Stores
  • Marketing Agencies
  • Jewelry Stores
  • Accessory Lines
  • Print Media
  • Books and Publishing Houses

Pay Scale of Visual Merchandiser:

The Salary of a Visual Merchandiser depends on several factors, qualification of the candidate, previous work experience, last worked company, etc. that are responsible for determining the salary. On average, the beginning salary of a visual merchandiser is around Rs.4 lakh per annum at the organizations of the basic level. The package can go up to Rs.9-10 lakh per annum if the company is well known and internationally acknowledged.

VM is more about “Expect more, pay less”, promising to fulfill all the customer requirements today, tomorrow, or in the coming Retail future. It is a practice in the industry to carry forward with the ideas of floor plan development and three–dimensional displays to maximize sales.

“Sell The Problem You Solve, Not Just The Product”

What’s Visual Merchandising, never heard of this term, how it exists in Retail?? What Courses people are opting for it? So many questions arise when we come across the important word in Retail, “VM”.

“Visual Merchandising is a term used for creative and innovative displays in Retail….!!!”

Visual Merchandising is all about “Detail in Retail”, the look & feel of the store which gives the best ambiance to customers. The Customer is given all together everything under one umbrella, from a basic apparel requirement to all the accessories used for styling oneself. The customer convinces is seen while placing each merchandise on the floor and during styling the mannequins too. 

Store visual merchandising has a huge impact on customers. Visual merchandising is a marketing practice that uses floor layouts, color blocking, lighting, creative and innovative displays, advanced technologies, and other store related elements to attract customer attention. Its ultimate purpose is to use the retail space to generate more sales. A Visual Merchandiser is the one behind all the magic you see inside the store in form of creative displays.

Visual merchandising is a time-tested retail concept that focuses on enhancing the aesthetic appeal of a product or store to attract customers and increase sales. We customers can’t simply afford to settle for unappealing and ineffective store displays. Its timeless design principles impact shopper’s psychology and drive traffic and sales both in stores and online, it’s to fuel the Retail purchases.

While visual merchandising is an art, it needs an artist to create visually appealing displays. The progression in visual merchandising has also changed the role of a visual merchandiser. The role of the visual merchandiser is to create a story. Visual merchandising is no longer limited to just pure visual display, it encompasses a wide range of techniques that are used across all the sectors but also play a more strategic role from a point of selling.

Coaching the in-store team on brand expectation, maintaining the in-store visual displays including mannequin styling, props, and product. The visual merchandiser also plays a key role in the commercial evaluation of the store and its space mix. Getting presentation right, and making sure stock is optimized and tempting to the consumer’s eye is crucial in any retail environment. The modern merchandiser has to be updated about the trends and adapting to the changing display mediums. 

Visual merchandising is a competitive field and progressing. The new age designer has a lot of scope in the field especially with technology and access to data. No longer is the role of visual merchandisers limited only to just decorating but gather data to create informed strategies to obtain optimum sales value. It blends artistry and data science, helping retailers get their message across faster and with greater impact.

Visual Merchandisers combine marketing principles, retail merchandising knowledge, and creativity to use the space and layout of the store to present the store’s inventory positively. They are professionally trained and may be tasked to manage the following:

  • Window installations
  • In-store displays
  • Interactive displays
  • Shelving
  • Point-of-sale displays
  • Posters
  • Price tickets
  • Promotional/seasonal displays
  • Mannequin styling
   Image Credits : Wowsville

Window displays play a vital role in retail stores. As windows are seen at the entrance of the stores, Customers get ideas about products available in-store, new season trends, upcoming campaigns & much more to add…! Styling of the mannequins in the windows of the stores is done in such a way that attracts more customers, the placement of the mannequins is very important as to highlight the merchandise & to mannequins to become eye-catchy.

Image Credits – Topshop

Mannequin clusters are designed at the store entrance, to give overall a good experience of Categories, New-season trends & Offers reflecting all over the stores. The fixtures are planned in such a way that all customers visiting stores should be able to access all required products & get attracted to the new products too.

Image Credits – Nike

Benefits of Visual Merchandising:

 Reflects your brand: Good visual merchandising helps you to align the in-store displays in-line with the company’s overall brand. 

e.g. – A brand is willing to have a promotional display in all its exclusive stores. It helps to maintain the Brand image and consistency.

·Engages the shoppers: Visual merchandising helps to create first impression displays. It gives customers good and positive vibes for future visits. It invites customers to the store and helps to find the right product as per their needs.

·Increase Sales: The displays in-store, a mannequin styled properly may help the customers know the fashion and trends in the market and the customer ends up buying it. It can also help them discover new products in-store. 

Visual merchandising displays can help your retail business get the results your looking for. 

“Visual Merchandiser can be an Asset to your Team”

Every inch of your store costs your money. However, there are many areas in your store that have the potential to make you money. Additionally, there are ways to ensure you’re making the most money per square footage. Understanding how much product comes along with its value, cost, and how it’s displayed is key in determining your merchandising margins.

5 major elements in Retail can create a huge impact on customer experience to grow in Business:

  1. Color is king: Color is powerful, and it can make or break your visual displays. A retailer might create an erratic display, but if the colors coordinate well, the display can still be a success. Consider using contrasting colors, like black and white, and monochromatic colors–both create intriguing, eye-catching displays. Using too many colors or even more than 3colors than we lose sight of the power of color and its ability to attract the eye.
  • Create a focal point: This visual marketing strategy to create a focal point at the entrance or the prime locations of the stores helps you grab the customer’s attention. It gives the customer knowledge about new products, on-going fashion, and trends and helps the customers to opt for it. The focal point includes a hero, a collection of bold new items to create high impact and pull shoppers towards purchase.  
  • Merchandising tells a story: Use powerful, sales-enabling signage to display the advantages of buying the product. By telling a story, you help the customer better understand the product and enable the buying decision. As long as there’s still a story, the sign can speak for itself. For example, lifestyle graphics are very popular in telling the story. No words, but the image speaks volumes. The merchandiser decides on the theme, the look, and the feel of a store, then evokes a desired effect through the visual displays. 
  • The maximum amount of Merchandise: The brand should expose the customers to the maximum amount of merchandise on display. As much as merchandise the customers see, as many as they end up buying. Consider using a circular store layout, which many retailers use. It’s powerful because it exposes customers to more merchandise than traditional aisles. Where your store does use aisles, place a display in the dead center, so customers are forced to stop and look at the products. But keep displays clean and sharp, and ensure aisles are spacious and barrier-free to prevent deterring customers from products.
  • Use space wisely: There’s a space in all retail stores that is the most underutilized. It’s the section between the displayed merchandise and the ceiling, use it wisely. The open space can help the customers relax and enjoy shopping, as it gives space to breathe in-store. 

Here’s an end to my knowledge about Retail in brief. You must be thinking 

Why I took this topic as my Best to start with is because I have started my career in Retail.

All about me, I am Riya Gupta, was working as Area Visual Merchandiser at BlackBerrys Brand – Men’s Wear with an experience of 4 years & looking forward to many more to come in Retail.

“Creativity is Contagious, Pass it on”

As I was in the last semester of my Fashion Apparel Designing degree, I got an opportunity to work with a renowned company ‘Shoppers Stop’ – a campus placement. I was preparing for the interview aligned with the company.

As I heard the news from my college about my placement in the company, it was going to be the start of my journey in the Retail world. Last semester still had a month to go, was very excited to experience my first job. The days were passing so slow & excitement was at the peak.      

     

As the day had approached, I had given an option between two major cities – Ahmedabad & Mumbai. Well, I was not aware of the profile they were hiring me for but was willing to work at Mumbai – The City of Dreams.

( Image Credits – Shoppers Stop )

My first day, 6th June 2016 at Malad, Mumbai – A Retail Girl Journey had begun.  I was hired as an Intern on an experimental project as an “Expert Visual Merchandiser”. It was a concept designed to grow business by focusing majorly on in-house brands. All metro-cities stores had hired EVMs – Expert Visual Merchandiser to grow in business and focus on in-house brands in store.

As I come from a business family, no one much into jobs. I got an opportunity to experience the job atmosphere in Retail, which was all-together a new experience waiting to challenge me.

(Image Credits – Mumbai Skyline by Riteshsaini)

 Adventure life fun began when the search for stay, location, nearby markets, and safety was a major concern. As I was staying out for the first time, away from family – was finding the outer world difficult. I started visiting Head office – Malad, the training sessions were an amazing start to the unknown journey. I was staying at my relative’s place and after a week, I got a stay nearby my office and my training sessions also were about to end. So the traveling issue was not a big task anymore.

As I was working as an Expert VM, the job profile had to visit three major growing business stores – SS Malad, SS Bandra & SS Juhu all over Mumbai. The Shoppers Stop In-house brands like Stop, Life, Vetterio Fratini, Kashish, Haute Curry were to be in more highlight – more of creativity and innovative sections. The exposure was very vast, each day new ideas with new challenges at different stores and sales tracking performance for a week on the visual displays done.

“EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY”

I was enjoying my work – visiting different stores, working in different brands, coming up with new ideas as per space and resources provided, tracking performance on weekly basis, coming across new people, and exploring the city.

(Image Credits – Shoppers Stop, Malad)

                                   

The journey of being an Expert Visual Merchandiser continued for long 6months, where-in, I was allowed to work for SS Head Office renovation project – coming up with innovative and creative ideas to enhance VM beauty in the new office.

Shoppers Stop – Kolhapur

After viewing my over-all performance I was allowed to work for Shoppers Stop at D.Y.Patil Mall, Kolhapur. An upcoming challenge was lack of resources, very few vendors work in this field, cost management still was able to deliver the work on time within VM budget given. An experience of 7months was again a remarkable journey in my retail career at Kolhapur. No doubt even the stay was very comforting and the food was too good (very homely feeling).

Shoppers Stop – Kalyan Store

As I had asked for a transfer to Mumbai, was given to handle SS Kalyan Store. As the culture was very familiar to me till now, it was easy to work further in any given store to handle. I was very fortunate to get a good Boss and good Team to work with, very supportive and open to all VM challenges. Again a new challenge, very less budget store but a lot more to explore at store entrance windows, interior displays- cluster formations and planning an upcoming event. Due to the location of the mall in that area, there was less customer entry affecting the sales too. The windows planning and budget constrain used to be a tough challenge to face. No doubt, SS Kalyan store has big enough windows to get the best of window executions done.

All together Shoppers Stop was a roller-coaster start to my journey of Visual Merchandising in the Retail Industry. I have enjoyed and learned a lot, exploring many places, knowing the brands and their strategies to grow in the industry came across many people, and lastly vendor management. I worked with Shoppers Stop Company for almost 2years and now in Pune.

Shoppers Stop is an Indian department store chain, owned by the K Raheja Corp. There are 86 stores across 40 cities in India, with clothing, accessories, handbags, shoes, jewelry, fragrances, cosmetics, health and beauty products, home furnishing, and decor products. The first store was opened in Andheri, Mumbai on 27th Oct 1991.

 Shoppers Stop Ltd has been awarded “the Hall of Fame” and won “the Emerging Market Retailer of the Year Award”, by the World Retail Congress at Barcelona, in April 2008.

Shoppers Stop, as a Retail industry is very strong with its SOPs – Standard Operating Procedures, very organized to start your career with and excel in many ways. Being part of VM Team, I was given a lot of opportunities to explore in my creative-innovative way, visit as many stores as possible, explore different brand spaces, and grow overall in the company.

Visual merchandising itself is a destination made valuable to me by an Opportunity.

“Success Is A Journey, Not A Destination”