A window dresser, or visual merchandiser, displays products in store windows. Visual merchandising in windows is an important marketing strategy as interesting window displays can catch the attention of passers by. Once their attention is caught by a product displayed in the window, these potential customers are more likely to enter the store to take a look around than to pass by it. A window dresser usually has an art or design education as well as marketing training.
Window dressers must think of the target audience and how best to attract them. For example, the windows of a budget-friendly kitchen supply shop could include brightly colored signage along with the displayed dishware that advertises the low prices in order to entice shoppers into the store. Of course, the items displayed must be attractive to the target market as no one wants to buy unattractive products. Well-coordinated colors and designs help make the products look even better; this is an area in which a talented window dresser can really improve sales.
The materials a window dresser uses to enhance the displayed products, such as fabric, signs, painted backdrops and other accessories, must stay within the business' marketing budget. The cost of these materials and the window merchandiser's fee are considered advertising expenses for the store. Spending too much money on window displays isn't usually worth risking, since other types of advertising are needed to reach more potential customers than only passers by. The salary for window dressers varies widely and must be negotiated with store managers.
Creating seasonal displays is a common task for a window dresser. He or she will use colors and symbols associated with the season, such as a pastel color scheme and a bunny motif for an Easter window. Experienced window dressers know how to persuasively display store products in a beautiful or whimsical backdrop. Window dressers must consider how the display looks from the street and decorate the sides and bottoms rather than just the center areas of store windows.
Window dressers who work for clothing stores often use mannequins to model the clothes. Mannequins, or dummies, are look-alikes of the human form. Unlike dressmaker's dummies that feature only the torso or midsection, mannequins have a head, torso, and limbs. The limbs of store mannequins are usually made with metal or plastic pieces that act as joints so that the arms and legs can be posed into different positions. Flexible mannequins allow the window dresser to use them for many different types of displays.