The History of Visual Merchandising in Retail Industry
Being a visual merchandiser, I am sure that you also become curious about the history of visual merchandising started, when it become popular, who initiated to use the term or when the term “visual merchandising” was first used; that is why perhaps you are reading this article. As curios as you about this topic, I search for some quick reference online to answer these questions and here is what I have found.
Top in Google search is A History of Visual Merchandising in Retail Stores from Hubpages and the notable dates I have found are before 18th Century, during 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century.
Prior to the late 18th century, when the contemporary methods of visual merchandising began to evolve, store owners and managers cared little for the appearance of their stores and the presentation of merchandise.
As early as the 18th century, merchandise was staged in interesting and unique arrangements to attract consumers.
The second step in the evolution process occurred in Europe during the beginning of the 19th century with the development of arcades.
The establishment of the Grand Expositions marked the next advance in the evolution of store design. The Grand Expositions, which began in London in 1851 with the Crystal Palace Exposition, were originally meant to present and demonstrate new technology.
Next is The History of Visual Merchandising – Department Stores from I Do Windows. It is mentioned in this article that the reason Visual Merchandisers exists today has to do with the “invention” of the Department Store in 1838.
Aristide Boucicaut came up with the idea of creating a store that sold all sorts of merchandise, attracted crowds, and would allow people to wander freely about; “a town within a town”. In 1838 he opened Le Bon Marché, in Paris – but it became the world’s first department store because of his innovation with distribution of goods in 1852.
It wasn’t long before this idea caught on over seas and others followed suit:
- Macy’s, New York in 1858
- Marshall Fields, Chicago in 1865
- Bloomingdale’s, New York in 1872
- Wanamaker, Philadelphia in 1876
- Other stores such as Sears, Barney’s and Saks didn’t open until the 1920s
Thought I am a little bit frustrated of not finding when exactly the term “visual merchandising” was first used and who created the term, perhaps it is enough for now to know that visual merchandising become very popular since 2004 base on the timeline results for history of visual merchandising table provided by Google.
The above screenshot was captured on March 11, 2011.
Feature image from Wikimedia (Original uploader was Coolcaesar)