Visual Merchandising has been around since the dawn of civilisation, since humans started selling merchandise to a customer. When a vendor arranged his goods to be more attractive for a customer, or when a farmer put the biggest and ripest apples on top of the basket for consumers to see and touch, that is visual merchandising.
When the giant nineteenth century dry goods establishments like Marshall Field & Co. shifted their business from wholesale to retail, the visual display of goods became necessary to attract the general consumers. The store windows were often used to attractively display the store’s merchandise. Over time, the design aesthetic used in window displays moved indoors and became part of the overall interior store design, eventually reducing the use of display windows in many suburban malls. In the twentieth century, well-known artists such as Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol created window displays.
As the 20th century ended, and the new millennium was entered, retailers were concerned with competition more than ever before. One of the ways in which merchants of every product classification, both large and small, helped to distinguish themselves from the others in the field, was through creative visual presentations. The challenges that confront these specialists run the gamut from the display installations in their stores to the development of designs for the environments. Today, Visual Merchandising has become more sophisticated and more encompassing than arranging merchandise for easy access to customers. Visual Merchandising elements are put into practice from designing the floor plan of the store to the beautiful mannequins that grace the store floor. With the specialty marketing of the 1990s, visual merchandising is a necessity to the retail industry.