Merchandisers are responsible for ensuring the right stock is in the right place and is selling at the best price.
Merchandisers work closely with Buying teams to ensure that the right products are in the right outlets. Following on from this they ensure that the products are selling and at the right price. Much of the work involved with being a Merchandiser revolves around paying close attention to sales and stock figures, as well as price and profit margins, all to ensure that the retail business is profiting and moving forward.
Aspects of the Merchandiser role are extremely numerical and requires of managing budgets. This might be helping Buyers when they're planning for future ranges or new stock or financially assessing propositions put forward by the buying team.
The key to being a successful Merchandiser is balancing what is going on in the stores and being able to plan ahead and ensure that they are ready for the future, whether this was an organising supply chains or pre-empting seasonal rushes.
The average starting salary for a graduate Merchandiser is £21,163. This is a great starting salary for any graduate and can be the start of a fantastic career. Like many careers, Merchandisers are able to work their way up to more senior positions within Merchandising and reap the financial rewards that come with this. As this is usually a trainee position in many companies the increased rewards can come relatively early once they are settled and capable in the role.
Compared to similar fields, especially within Arts and Design and Retail, Merchandisers compare very well. Also, like the majority of careers, there is rarely a performance related bonus structure in place, unless it is a companywide initiative.
The Daily Duties of a Merchandiser
The daily duties of a Merchandiser are usually focused on the stock and products of companies. This is usually split up into regions or product lines and can have graduate Merchandisers pouring over the nitty gritty details of margins, stock and sales figures. Here are a few of the duties that will be trusted to professional Merchandisers:
- Analysing sales figures - This is the key informer for Merchandisers. They will look at what is selling, what is not selling, where it is selling and for how much. This allows Merchandisers to act to make sure the company is maximising this opportunity by ensuring products are in the right place and selling at the right price. The information also helps inform future decisions and product lines.
- Budget management - Merchandisers are the ones often left in control of the purse strings. While Buyers might be keen on a specific product or line, it is the responsibility of Merchandisers to work out what is cost effective and at what price the products should be bought and sold.
- Competitor Analysis - Turning a profit and increasing sales will only be successful if Merchandisers are aware of what their competitors are doing. This includes comparing prices, trends and product lines. This also requires competitors to make sure they are aware of what is the "next big thing" so they don't get left behind by competitors.
- Monitoring stock levels - Merchandisers are responsible for providing retail promises with correct levels of stock and stock that will sell. Merchandisers will organise the provision of products to shops knowing they will sell and hoping they have enough.
- Planning - Working with a Buying Team, Merchandisers will be responsible for planning the analytical and statistical date for any decisions being made by for the company.
- Suppliers - Merchandisers work with suppliers to arrange an array of issues relating to the acquisition of products, at what quantity and negotiate the costs surrounding these. Merchandisers are also sometimes required to arrange the delivery and supply chain for products purchased.
A career as a Merchandiser is a challenging and high pressured one, but certainly pays off when the products are a success and they are responsible for bringing in a big profit or their company. While they may be traditionally engaged in an on-going feud with Buyers, Merchandisers are the analytical and financial brains behind any successful retailer.