Merchandisers are responsible for positioning goods following standards and procedures.
The duties of a merchandiser typically include, but are not limited to:
- Planning and developing merchandising strategies.
- Analyzing sales figures, market trends, and customer behavior to determine product needs.
- Stocking sales floor shelves and creating attractive product displays.
- Determining the need for and implementing product promotions, price changes, markdowns, clearouts, etc.
- Ensuring retail staff is well informed on product details and promotions.
- Maintaining and tracking inventory.
- Liaising between customer and company.
- Forecasting sales and profits.
- Managing budgets.
The following job titles also refer to merchandiser:
senior retail merchandiser
retail merchandising manager
retail merchandising supervisor
retail merchandising associate
assistant retail merchandiser
retail merchandising controller
graduate retail merchandiser
There are a few different kinds of settings merchandisers may work in. Most of them work in retail stores, managing various product displays throughout the store. They’ll also work in larger department stores, handling a wide array of different products and finding ways to promote, sell and display various types of products.
When they work in these larger department stores, merchandisers typically spend most of their time traveling to various store locations to unload and display new products. This also means they’ll be in the warehouse regularly, taking inventory and locating new items to stock in each store.
Many merchandiser candidates have at least an associate degree or vocational certificate in business, retail management, marketing, or another relevant discipline. Some candidates have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, supply chain management, marketing, or a related field. These education programs provide candidates with practical coursework and industry knowledge necessary to be a professional merchandiser.
Merchandisers can start at entry-level, where they can complete industry- and store-specific training, often through shadowing more senior team members and learning about the trends in the specific store or sector in which they work.
Entry-level merchandiser candidates with an associate degree or vocational certificate are likely to also have a few years of experience working in retail, either as store associate or low-level manager. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree may have earned experience through an internship or cooperative education experience during their studies. Some may also have professional experience in retail or supply chain management at the assistant level. Merchandiser roles with leadership responsibilities may require candidates with either level of education and at least 5 years of experience in merchandising.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Merchandiser is a Skill level 3 occupation.
Merchandiser career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to merchandiser.
retail department manager
wholesale merchant in agricultural machinery and equipment
wholesale merchant in agricultural raw materials, seeds and animal feeds
wholesale merchant in beverages
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of merchandiser. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of merchandiser with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of merchandiser.
- Merchandising techniques: The selling techniques to attract customers and increase sales.
- Sales strategies: The principles concerning customer behaviour and target markets with the aim of promotion and sales of a product or a service.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of merchandiser.
- Assess visual impact of displays: Analyse feedback from customers and co-workers on the visual impact of displays and showcases; implement changes where needed.
- Plan retail space: Effectively distribute retail space allotted to particular categories.
- Negotiate with suppliers for visual material: Negotiate with suppliers on the delivery of visual equipment; stay within the budget at all times.
- Maintain relationship with customers: Build a lasting and meaningful relationship with customers in order to ensure satisfaction and fidelity by providing accurate and friendly advice and support, by delivering quality products and services and by supplying after-sales information and service.
- Carry out cross merchandising: Place a particular item in more than one location within the store, in order to attract customer attention and increase sales.
- Carry out sales analysis: Examine sales reports to see what goods and services have and have not sold well.
- Maintain relationship with suppliers: Build a lasting and meaningful relationship with suppliers and service providers in order to establish a positive, profitable and enduring collaboration, co-operation and contract negotiation.
- Negotiate terms with suppliers: Identify and work with suppliers to ensure quality of supply and best price has been negotiated.
- Stock shelves: Refill shelves with merchandise to be sold.
- Visit manufacturers: Visit manufacturers in order to learn about production process and to assess product quality.
- Meet deadlines: Ensure operative processes are finished at a previously agreed-upon time.
- Maximise sales revenues: Increase possible sales volumes and avoid losses through cross-selling, upselling or promotion of additional services.
- Check price accuracy on the shelf: Ensure accurate and correctly labelled prices for the products on the shelves
- Keep records of merchandise delivery: Keep records of goods deliveries; report discrepancies to control costs in order to maintain correct inventory levels.
- Monitor merchandise delivery: Follow up logistical organisation of products; ensure that products have been transported in a correct and timely fashion.
- Carry out stock rotation: Execute repositioning of packaged and perishable products with an earlier sell-by date to the front of a shelf.
- Keep promotions records: Keep records on sales information and distribution of materials. File reports on customer reactions to their employers’ products and promotions; present these reports to their managers.
- Monitor stock movement: Keep track of stock movements from the moment when products are put on sale and ready for distribution.
- Execute visual presentation changes: Prepare and execute visual presentation changes by moving items, changing shelving and fixtures, changing signs, adding and removing decorative accessories, etc.
- Have computer literacy: Utilise computers, IT equipment and modern day technology in an efficient way.
- Supervise merchandise displays: Work closely together with visual display staff to decide how items should be displayed, in order to maximise customer interest and product sales.
- Show diplomacy: Deal with people in a sensitive and tactful way.
- Interpret floor plans: Be able to think three-dimensionally; understand the results of moving the position of objects and patterns on floor plans.
- Negotiate buying conditions: Negotiate terms such as price, quantity, quality, and delivery terms with vendors and suppliers in order to ensure the most beneficial buying conditions.
- Perform market research: Gather, assess and represent data about target market and customers in order to facilitate strategic development and feasibility studies. Identify market trends.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of merchandiser. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Price product: Set competitive prices and adjust the pricing to increase sales and clear out stagnant items from shop inventory.
- Liaise with buyers to plan products for the store: Discuss stock levels and product ranges with buyers.
- Change window displays: Change or rearrange window displays. Reflect changes in the shop inventory. Emphasise new promotional actions.
- Monitor stock level: Evaluate how much stock is used and determine what should be ordered.
- Train staff about product features: Provide training to a staff of employees or design team about product characteristics and specific product features.
- Analyse bestsellers: Thoroughly analyse every aspect of best-selling products; develop strategies to ensure that bestsellers reach their full sales potential.
- Address problems critically: Identify the strengths and weaknesses of various abstract, rational concepts, such as issues, opinions, and approaches related to a specific problematic situation in order to formulate solutions and alternative methods of tackling the situation.
- Set sales promotions: Reduce the selling price of products, in order to maximise revenue at various periods of the year.
- Organise retail sampling events: organise sampling and demonstration activities in order to promote a product
- Ensure stock storage safety: Ensure that products are stored appropriately. Keep in line with safety procedures.
- Decide on products to be stocked: Decide which products (sizes, volumes, types, colours) should be stocked for each type and size of store, depending on particular budgets and locations.
- Ensure point of sale material availability: implement and monitor all activities related to the equipment and materials available at point of sale.
ISCO group and title
3432 – Interior designers and decorators
- Merchandiser – ESCO
- Merchandiser Job Description – Betterteam
- Merchandiser Job Description | Indeed.com
- Featured image: Image by Brad Carpenter from Pixabay