What is a Merchandiser?

A merchandiser is someone who ensures that the correct amount of products are on hand in a store or on a website. They make sure the products arrive on time, and work closely with the purchasing department (and buyers) in order to forecast, plan, and monitor stock levels. Merchandisers also work closely with the display staff in order to decide how goods should be displayed so as to maximize sales. In smaller companies, the same individual may be responsible for both the merchandising and the buying.

What does a Merchandiser do?

A merchandiser ensures that the correct amount of products are on hand in a store or on a website.

Merchandisers have been called "image consultants for the retail world." 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.

Merchandisers play a key role within retail, as the profit a company makes can be affected by how successfully they manage their work. Merchandisers set prices, and plan promotions and markdowns as necessary. They also oversee delivery and distribution of stock and deal with suppliers.

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
  • keeping a library of appropriate data
  • working closely with display staff and managers on how product should be displayed
  • producing 'statements' (layout plans for stores)
  • forecasting profits and sales
  • planning budgets and presenting sales forecasts
  • 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
  • making financial presentations to senior managers
  • 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

Are you suited to be a merchandiser?

Merchandisers have distinct personalities. They tend to be artistic individuals, which means they’re creative, intuitive, sensitive, articulate, and expressive. They are unstructured, original, nonconforming, and innovative. Some of them are also enterprising, meaning they’re adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident, and optimistic.

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What is the workplace of a Merchandiser like?

Merchandisers can work in a variety of industries, such as fashion, homeware, DIY or food retail. Employers may include multiple chain stores, supermarkets, department stores, manufacturers and wholesalers, mail order, and internet companies. Merchandisers may need to relocate to gain promotion, and there are opportunities to work abroad, particularly for multi-national companies.

Merchandisers are also known as:
Merchant