How Visual Merchandisers are Transitioning to Walking Ambassadors

Author
Kylie Quirke

By Kylie Quirke, Head of Retail, ReStore for Retail

We know them as visual merchandisers. But I’ve come to think of them as walking ambassadors.

No longer do visual merchandisers sit behind closed doors planning a pretty palette of colors or creating floor plans to attract the attention of customers.

Many of the visual merchandisers I know spend a great deal of time on the retailing floor, physically placing products on shelves or perhaps sharing their knowledge with teams and other company representatives. At other times, you’ll see them on the floor, tablet in hand, doing the traditional work of designing a store’s interior.

Because they are visibly and energetically out there on the floor, selling, teaching, and revealing product news, they look like someone who knows what they are doing and who has valuable information that customers can use. (And they do on both counts.).

That’s why I call them walking ambassadors; they are the eyes and ears of the business.

While visual merchandisers have had to take on this “ambassadorial” role externally, they’ve also had to become diplomats internally as they are being called upon to take on additional responsibilities. In addition to working with products in stores, they are often called upon to work closely with district managers and operations managers. They are equipped with data and reports and have the commercial knowledge to make informed decisions to support the brand and financial goals.

At other times, because of rostering shifts unable to be filled or quick turn of product, visual merchandisers may be processing stock, entering customer orders, handling backroom operations, or moving merchandise and props between stores. No task is too large or too small.

I’ve worked with visual merchandisers opening stores and on walk throughs with the property team as we’ve imagined how a store will come to life. Visual merchandisers, these days, also can be involved with marketing and implementing events to ensure the highest standard in execution.  

Visual merchandisers, aka walking ambassadors, must be hands on and strategic, key players in brand execution and presentation. With the right tools, I’ve seen, they can successfully execute storytelling and support the financial goals of the business.

To achieve higher standards in execution, our customers use ReStore for Retail. ReStore for Retail is a web-enabled, mobile retail management platform that empowers ‘walking ambassadors’ to collaborate and deliver a consistent visual merchandising experience across all stores. It combines real-time ‘photo galleries' linked to purpose-built surveys and tasks to deliver a consistent customer experience that drives operational effectiveness, enables better decision making, and results in higher profitability. The feedback loop through commenting on photos has streamlined their communication and provided a vehicle for training and improvement.  ReStore for Retail has become a game changer for visual merchandisers, I am loving that there is a tool to support them in everything they do for a retail business.

About the author

Kylie Quirke is a veteran retail executive with experience in retail teams, buying, planning, marketing, logistics, store experience and e-commerce. She is Head of Retail, Asia Pacific, Hilco Merchant Resources and ReStore for Retail.

Contact her at kquirke@restoreforretail.comto find out how ReStore for Retail can improve your store’s operations.

ReStore for Retail enables people in retail to get back to the business of retailing