Merchandising is used to promote specific products and services and to increase sales.

It entices customers to enter the store, thus increasing their chances of purchasing something.

While the buyer selects the lines, the merchandiser decides how much money should be spent, how many lines should be bought, and in what quantities.

Day-to-Day tasks

Duties vary depending on the company and the retail sector, but will typically include:

  • planning product ranges, and preparing sales and stock plans with buyers
  • communicating with buyers, analysts, stores, suppliers, and distributors
  • working closely with display staff and managers on how product should be displayed
  • producing layout plans for stores
  • forecasting profits and sales
  • controlling stock levels based on forecasts
  • analyzing the bestselling price points, colours or styles
  • staying aware of competitors' performance
  • keeping an eye on slow sellers and taking action to reduce prices or set promotions
  • analyzing the previous season's sales
  • accompanying buyers on visits to manufacturers
  • meeting with suppliers and managing the distribution of stock
  • negotiating prices, ordering stock, scheduling delivery dates, completing paperwork
  • identifying production and supply difficulties and dealing with any problems
  • managing, training and supervising junior staff

Industry qualifications

Employers will have their own set requirements.

There are different ways in which you might get into this type of job. This includes:

  • A university course
  • A college course
  • An apprenticeship
  • Working your way up the career ladder in your current retail job to the role of a trainee merchandiser
  • Completing private industry-recognised training

You can do a degree before joining a retail company as a trainee merchandiser. Employers recruit from a range of degree subjects. Particularly relevant subjects include:

  • Marketing
  • Fashion buying and merchandising
  • Fashion and business
  • Retail business management

Skills required

  • a love of retail and good commercial awareness
  • good at work with numbers
  • the ability to use database and spreadsheet software
  • strong decision-making skills
  • the ability to identify and offer effective solutions to problems
  • good communication and teamwork skills
  • a flair for being creative

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