It will be my great pleasure to speak at the International Display Conference this week. The 2-day event in Dublin, promises to bring together some of the brightest lights in the visual merchandising industry from all corners of the world.

My subject?
“12 questions that will shape your visual merchandising career!”

I have been presenting on VM for many years. For a large part of that time, it would have been difficult to come up with 12 significant opportunities for visual display professionals.

The traditional role of visual merchandising in the commercial world was sadly undervalued and misunderstood by those who ruled the retail boardrooms. It was in many instances a repetitive job, more aligned to store operations than product creativity.

The fact is, if you look at a globe of the world always from the same viewpoint you will only ever see the same perspective, and that is your own. Sadly, when the CEOs of yesterday’s retailers looked at the retail world they were surrounded by the empires of buyers and merchandisers, sales, and operations. The only people and places that mattered to make the commercial retail word turn smoothly.

The land of customer facing product creativity was often to be found, or more precisely lost, on the dark side of the globe. Out of sight and out of view.

But this is why I am so optimistic for the future of visual merchandising and product creatives. Because our saturated markets, our over-supplied customers, can no longer be won by those retailers whose perspective still only sees the fading world of  volume buying models and high initial margins.

The retail world, the consumer world, has now pivoted to shine a light on a world where customer loyalty and sales must be won, through brand and product inspiration.

We are increasingly seeing a world where commercial success is emerging from the shadow of buying power, to a new era of authority, inspiration, and the intimacy of selling.

We are seeing a return to selling. Success through selling!

Visual merchandising has always held a unique position within a retail business. It is an area that borders so many other retail functions.

It is the glue that brings together the boardroom and the stockroom, the cutting room floor and the shop floor, the buying and the selling of products, the pragmatism of operations with the dreams of marketers, the worlds of data analysis and customer personalisation with the personal touch of sales colleagues and shopkeepers.

The complexities of our new retail age, the diversity of channels, the individuality of customers, the fluidity of assortments means we have more need that ever now for this unique creative and commercial glue.

And as more broken pieces of the buying model require imagination, creativity, and commercial appreciation to make them whole again, then the role of visual merchandising can embrace not only creative display, but stylist, product designer, digital advocate, video guru, personal shopper, fashion influencer, visual assistant, marketer, photographer, content developer, art director and the creative and inspirational thinker that all retailers need.

I have never met a visual merchandiser that wasn’t also an amazing product designer in waiting, or a potential customer service expert, or personal shopping guru, to be discovered.

Your time has come.

And this week my presentation –“12 Questions that will shape your Visual Merchandising Career!” will I hope, help you to believe that, and make you equally optimistic for your futures.

A dozen ways at least, where this unprecedented, dynamic, and fluid retail world, can now give choices and opportunities to all visual merchandisers and retail creatives, who are able to see where the world is turning next, and can learn to enjoy the ride.

See you in Dublin. The sun is shining.

In the meantime…

Intelligent ‘Retail Intelligence’ is featured in the new book – ‘Meaning in the Retail Madness – How to be an Essential Retailer’

If you’d like to read my book for many more retailer insights and best practice. And to here my thoughts on retail’s future, then that’s an excellent idea.

'Meaning in the Retail Madness: How to be an Essential Retailer' Out now. Available worldwide across amazon and popular online booksellers

I hope that the sections on how to flourish in the ‘The life and times of the Essential Retailer’ how to evolve ‘Agile Organisations’ and excel in ‘Astute Strategies’ may be a source of inspiration and guidance. You will also find 70 action plans and 90 retail best practice insights that may help you to assess your current weaknesses and opportunities.

Enjoy your read.