What are transferable skills and why do you need them? What does it mean to be employable today and in the future?...
- Ensure goods are in the right stores, or online, at the right time and the right price
- Specialise in one area like fashion, food or home wares
- Progress to merchandising director, retail business analyst or self-employed retail consultant
As a retail merchandiser, you'll use your high levels of product and customer awareness to predict demand. You'll usually specialise in one area like fashion, food or home wares.
You may be called a product manager in a large retail chain and deal only with one or two product lines. In smaller companies you may be responsible for both buying and merchandising.
- Planning product ranges and stock plans with buyers
- Planning budgets
- Forecasting sales and profit margins
- Presenting forecasts to managers
- Visiting manufacturers with retail buyers to learn about production cycles
- Negotiating prices and orders with suppliers
- Agreeing delivery terms
- Tracking stock deliveries
- Making sure goods arrive on time and meet quality standards
- Setting prices and sales targets for individual stores
- Helping visual merchandisers to plan store layouts to promote key lines
- Promoting special offers and marketing initiatives
- Analysing sales figures and trends
- Staying aware of how competitors are performing
- Identifying and sorting out production and supply problems
- Managing, training and supervising staff
You'll be office-based but will also spend time visiting stores or suppliers, which could be in other parts of the UK or overseas. A driving licence and vehicle may be useful.
This role would be ideal for someone with excellent number and data analysis skills, good decision-making skills, an understanding of what motivates customers to buy products, and confidence when leading negotiations or presenting at board meetings.
There are no set requirements for this role. You could start in stock control or as a merchandise admin assistant and work your way up by learning on the job.
You can do a degree before joining a retail company as a trainee merchandiser. Relevant subjects include marketing, fashion buying and merchandising, fashion and business or retail business management.
You could also take a college course to become a retail merchandiser. You could do a Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Retail Operations, Level 3 Diploma in Fashion Retail or Level 3 Certificate in Procurement and Supply Operations.
You may be able to start through a retailer intermediate apprenticeship or retail team leader advanced apprenticeship before moving into merchandising. If you already have some retail experience, you could apply to do a buying and merchandising assistant higher apprenticeship.
If you're interested in fashion retail, the Fashion Retail Academy runs short courses like an introduction to merchandising. You can also take procurement and supply qualifications through the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply. These are recognised by the industry.
With experience you could be promoted to senior merchandiser and responsible for sales and budgetary control of a multi million-pound department and managing a team of people. It's typical to have reached senior merchandiser level within 7 to 8 years. You could also become a merchandise manager, head of merchandising, merchandising director, retail business analyst or self-employed retail consultant.