How to become a Merchandiser

What is a merchandiser?

Merchandisers help a company optimize their sales and profits by ensuring that retail stores and online stores are stocked with the right products in the right quantities. They plan and manage product ranges, inventory, displays and promotions. Merchandisers also assess the needs of individual stores and how they might differ based on factors such as store size and their target demographics.

How to become a merchandiser?

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, and retail business management. It’s useful to get some retail or office based experience during your studies to help you stand out when you apply for graduate roles.

Your university careers service can help you to find summer placement, internship and year placement opportunities. You can take a college course to become a retail merchandiser. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Retail Operations
  • Level 3 Certificate in Procurement and Supply Operations
  • Level 3 Certificate in Procurement and Supply Operations

Merchandiser duties

Merchandiser duties are diverse and depend on the employer and specialty, but some responsibilities are common to most:

  • Display, arrange, price, and rotate products in store
  • Maintain store shelves by removing dated or damaged products
  • Monitor store inventory based on sales and intake
  • Optimize sales volume and profitability by identifying profitable lines and bestsellers
  • Maximise customer interest and sales levels by displaying products appropriately
  • Produce layout plans for stores and maintain store shelves and inventory
  • Forecast profits/sales and plan budgets
  • Monitor stock movement and consider markdowns, promotions, price changes, clear outs etc
  • Set stock promotions/price reductions as appropriate
  • Make financial presentations to senior managers
  • Reviewing customer feedback to predict sales trends and seasonal stock demand

Merchandiser skills

To be an effective merchandiser, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Strong time management abilities
  • Thorough understanding of merchandising trends and industry best practices
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills
  • Strong listening, presentation and decision making skills
  • Experience in preparing and delivering presentations to managers, staff and suppliers
  • A proven track record of achieving excellent results with merchandising strategies and promotional activity

How to find a merchandiser job

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the merchandiser jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for merchandiser jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

What does a merchandiser do?

The job of a merchandiser varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of merchandiser job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a merchandiser include;

  • plan product ranges and stock plans with buyers
  • plan budgets, forecast sales and profit margins
  • present forecasts to managers
  • visit manufacturers with retail buyers to learn about production cycles
  • negotiate prices and orders with suppliers, and agree delivery terms
  • track stock deliveries, make sure goods arrive on time and meet quality standards
  • set prices and sales targets for individual stores
  • help visual merchandisers to plan store layouts to promote key lines
  • promote special offers and marketing initiatives
  • analyse sales figures and trends
  • stay aware of how competitors are performing
  • identify and sort out production and supply problems
  • manage, train and supervise staff

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