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The role of merchandising usually relates to retail organisations. They are responsible for analysing and understanding how products are performing in the stores. They then liaise with the buyers to decide which stores a product should be sold into and whether or not it should be restocked. They accurately forecast trends, plan stock levels and monitor performance. 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. In smaller companies, the same person may be responsible for both buying and merchandising.

Merchandisers either specialise in a particular product range or a specific geography.

What does a Merchandiser do?

  • A prime responsibility of the role is to allocate new stock lines to stores in the right amount, so that no excess stock is left which would have to be marked down. In order to achieve this goal past performance and consumer demographic of the stores is analysed, in order to understand the range of sizes, colours and quantity required.
  • The Merchandising Team also makes decisions with regard pricing structures ensuring margins are met.
  • Though the merchandisers may not be directly involved in the actual purchase of merchandise, they formulate the policies for the areas in which they are responsible. Forecasting sales for the forthcoming budget period is required and this involves estimating consumer demand and the impact of changes in the retail environment. The sales forecasts are then translated into budgets to help the buyers work within the financial guidelines.
  • As a key aspect of merchandising involves selection of merchandise or products to be sold in the retail store, the job of the merchandiser also involves visits to suppliers or manufacturers of select goods. This is likely to involve working closely with retail buyers.
  • Merchandisers also work closely with the visual display staff and department managers to decide how goods should be displayed to best attract customers’ attention. This might involve planning and setting up sales promotions and advertising campaigns. In some organizations, this is a separate role carried out by a visual merchandiser.
  • Merchandisers may also travel to different stores to actually check the response to various items in the merchandise.
  • To enjoy working as a merchandiser, it is essential that you have a mathematical ability to work out budgets and understand sales figures. You should be able to understand what the customer wants and translate that into specific products.
  • In supermarkets, merchandisers are often responsible for the strategic planning of the layout of the store and where products are positioned.



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