Retail merchandisers ensure that the right amounts of goods are in the right stores at the right time and at the right price. Liaising with retail buyers, who select the product ranges, Merchandisers decide on the exact quantity of goods to order and specific stock levels for each store. They also set selling prices of items, and plan promotions and price reductions. Although skills are transferable between products, because of having to predict customer demand and the high levels of product and customer awareness needed, merchandisers normally specialise in a particular type of product, such as fashion, plants or food.
Typical duties for a Merchandiser include:. In many cases you would specialise in a particular type of product, such as fashion, food or homewares. In a large retail chain you may be known as a product manager and deal only with one or two product lines, whilst in smaller companies you may be responsible for both buying and merchandising.
Your standard working hours would typically be between 9am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, but you may need to work longer at busy times such as during special sales promotions or the opening of a new store. You would be office-based but would also spend time visiting stores or suppliers, which could be in other parts of the UK or overseas. Competition for entry is moderate to high. Most graduates will need to apply directly for entry-level posts, usually as an allocator, distributor or merchandise administrative assistant.
The entry point can vary from company to company and will depend on relevant experience and qualifications. Previous retail work experience coupled with office-based experience is highly advantageous, especially ifan understanding and interest in stock control levels has been established throughout these. You may be able to get into the retail industry through an Apprenticeship scheme.
The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find out more, visit the Apprenticeships website. You will develop your skills mainly on the job. If you work for a large retail company, you may be trained in merchandising as part of a structured graduate management training scheme.
There is a clear career development path in merchandising; it is common to remain at assistant level for a couple of years before promotion to Merchandiser and then to Senior Merchandiser. For those interested in management, it is possible to work up to Merchandise Manager, then on to Head of Merchandising and then Merchandising Director.
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