Sales Designer Career Guide (2023)

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Sales designers are creative professionals who design merchandise displays to entice customers. Learn about the diverse and exciting world of sales design, sales designer duties, earning potential, and whether this might be the right career fit for you.

[Featured image] Sales design team discussing strategies for the latest product line.

A sales designer creates visually appealing displays to draw consumers to stores. This role uses creativity, adaptability, psychology, and marketing expertise to present products in an appealing and eye-catching way. Learn about the world of sales design, including what sales designers do, what they earn, and what you need to know to determine if this is the right career for you.

What does a sales designer do?

Sales designers find new and innovative ways to display merchandise, like furniture arrangements, product displays, storefront designs, and more. Common objectives and duties for sales designers may include:

  • Getting the customers' attention and convincing them to buy the product because of its display 

  • Working with brands to create and design displays that reflect their goals

  • Shadow existing designers or review style guidelines set up by an organization's administration

  • Attending on-the-job training to learn about brands you’re working for

Sales designers need to understand how consumers think and what they’ll be most drawn to. When mixed with quality products and marketing knowledge, this can create the basis for a high-quality display. 

Example

For example, a new kitchen sink may look pretty on its own, but people may rarely get excited about kitchen sinks. A sales designer would be responsible for positioning the sink in a display with attractive countertops, colorful decor, and design touches that show how it would look in a home, to hopefully spark interest and eventually a purchase.

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How much does a sales designer make?

Sales designers in the US  make an average salary of $49,108 per year, according to Glassdoor [1]. However, your salary will depend on your role, experience level, the company you work for, and location. The average salary range reported by Glassdoor is $50,000 to $86,000 based on experience. 

Who does a sales designer work with? 

Depending on the specific position and job, sales designers may work side-by-side with:

To effectively work across multiple areas of expertise, sales designers will need strong communication and collaborative skills. 

Types of sales designers 

A sales designer’s job depends on the product, which means that the day-to-day responsibilities will vary depending on the type of industry. In sales design, some popular roles include the following:

Visual merchandiser 

Average annual salary (US): $68,896[2]

 

Visual merchandising is a broad industry focusing on improving sales, employing strategy, and using visual persuasion. This role requires a mix of strategic and artistic skills, for example, researching lifestyle trends and regional habits to create floor plans. As a visual merchandiser, you’re responsible for making your area and products stand out amongst the competition. Some tasks may include:

  • Finding locations to advertise new deals

  • Determining where to keep the sale items

  • Designing the floor layout

  • Figuring out how to keep people coming back 

Fashion merchandising

Average annual salary (US): $50,153 [3]

A fashion merchandiser will often focus on predicting trends, determining the demand of different products, and finding ways to promote the newest fashion. Fashion merchandisers perform key sales design tasks like:

  • Deciding how to display new clothes

  • Putting together outfits

  • Determining ways to attract the target demographic

  • Negotiating with suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers

If you have a passion for the fashion industry and a savvy sense of how to attract customers, this could be the right role for you.

Display designer

Average annual salary (US): $47,601 [4]

Display designers display products and find creative ways to attract consumers. They often specialize in a type of display based on the company’s needs and size. Depending on the product and brand, display designers can have various tasks, such as:

  • Putting together full exhibits or simple corner displays 

  • Creating displayed that add to the ambiance

  • Coordinating with corporate offices and teams to design larger productions

  • Managing installations of supporting equipment

  • Purchasing needed materials

Window display designers

Average annual salary (US):$62,046 [5]

Window display designers are specialized display designers focusing on bringing people into the store. They create enticing designs that showcase the products in a window display to encourage people to come and explore inside the store. This is a great career for those who love brainstorming new designs and marketing strategies, as window displays need to be rotated often.

Factors that affect a sales designer salary

A sales designer’s earning potential is affected by location, industry, training, and experience. 

Location

Your company's location will likely affect your salary, so it’s important to consider where you’re most interested in working. Typically, the highest salaries for sales designers are on the East and West Coasts, including states like New York, California, and Washington, to name a few. However, it’s important to note that the cost of living is typically higher in these states. 

Industry

Since sales design is broad, the type of industry will also have an effect on salary. While location and training still play a part, different industries will have different expected salary ranges based on the job responsibilities. Some of the higher-paying industries include:

  • Manufacturing

  • Construction

  • Hospitality

  • Retail

Experience

As you build experience and skills, your salary will likely reflect your abilities. According to Glassdoor, first-year sales designers earn an average of $49,108 [1]. The following are possible salaries as you gain more experience:

  • 1-3 years of experience:  $47,733 

  • 7-10 years of experience: $55,023

  • 15+ years of experience:  $71,502 

Training

The level of training required for the position will also likely affect your earning potential. If you’re working at a corporation that requires extensive training and advanced marketing knowledge, the salary may be higher than if you are working on smaller projects that require less training.

If you’re just starting, taking on smaller projects is a great way to build your resume and boost your portfolio to work toward larger-scale projects. Networking is a great way to gain traction in any field, and smaller projects often provide the opportunity to work closely with more experienced designers to learn about the field.

How can I boost my salary as a sales designer?

While experience is an important part of sales design, having a degree in marketing or a similar field can strengthen your resume and boost your earning potential. Employers typically want to see a background in customer service, advertising, design, and a demonstrated ability to anticipate and respond to consumer needs. If you can show that you have qualifications that demonstrate these abilities, you may be able to leverage a higher starting pay. 

Taking courses in relevant areas, such An Introduction to Consumer Neuroscience and Neuromarketing offered on Coursera by the Copenhagen Business School, can expand your knowledge and demonstrate your skills to take on more complex and exciting projects with bigger salaries.

Demonstrating your ability with successful projects can provide you with a platform to leverage your salary. Putting together a portfolio to showcase your skills can help you outshine your competition. You can use your portfolio to negotiate for more job responsibilities and open new higher earning opportunities. 

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Career outlook for a sales designer

Many companies rely on sales designers as an integral part of their teams. As companies expand and new brands emerge, you can expect sales designers to stay in demand. However, the creative nature of the job and high earning potential also open the job for competition. If you’re looking to go into this field, you’ll want to build your resume with experience, qualifications, and examples of why you’re passionate about your job. 

Next steps

Sales design can be an exciting and collaborative career that combines marketing, psychology, design, and more. When starting your path to sales design, you can take many directions.

Specializations on Coursera, such as the Marketing Mix Implementation Specialization by IE Business School or The Art of Sales: Mastering the Selling Process offered by Northwestern University, can help you build a basic marketing knowledge. Taking time to fully understand the diverse world of sales design can give you the opportunity to find your passion and determine the right path for you to find your perfect fit.

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Article sources

1

Glassdoor. "Sales Designer Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/sales-designer-salary-SRCH_KO0,14.htm." Accessed November 10, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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