Working as a merchandiser is often seen as glamorous as you get to choose the products which are sold in shops and the way they are presented. It can be an exciting and fast-paced career but it can also be stressful as deadlines are tight and you are responsible for the profit margins of the store.
The role of a merchandiser can be very varied and no two days are the same. In general though the role can be split into three areas:
- Planning the next seasons budgets and new range with the buyer and designer - this involves a lot of analysis of past season sales, trends in the industry and feelings of the buyers and designers.
- Controlling and monitoring current season stock and forecasting sales - ongoing analysis of stock levels, distribution of stock to relevant stores, chasing deliveries, cancellations, re-orders, markdowns and forecasting.
- Analysing past sales data to help plan for the next season - best sellers, worst sellers, understanding what the customer wants in order to help plan for future seasons. This sort of information will be shared and discussed in weekly trade meetings.
To work as a merchandiser you will need great negotiation skills as you will be buying stock from manufacturers. You need to be good at working in a team and have strong communication skills. The ability to analyse data is a must as well as numeracy and Excel skills. Merchandising can be very challenging as you will be dealing with many different levels within an organisation as well as suppliers, but seeing your department sales thrive is certainly very rewarding.