Merchandising, in common parlance, is the process with the help of which products and services are promoted and advertised. Product merchandising is often considered to be a sub-branch of promotional advertising and is associated with retail sales. Some people might argue that merchandising is visual and on-the-spot advertising that is closely related to marketing, however, it is quite different. However, the expertise of a merchandiser in the field of marketing makes him a valuable asset for all retail sellers.
The Concept Explained
The specialty of merchandisers is that they have a great sense of marketing, promotion and advertising techniques. Imagine that you are window shopping with a group of friends and you come across a showroom displaying a lovely dress. You like the dress and walk into the shop to inquire about it. The price is within your budget, color of the dress is of your choice, and the store has a stock of dresses that are perfectly of your size. This chronology of events is not merely a coincidence, but works out because of the presence of a merchandiser.
Let us again take the above example. A merchandiser studies the fashion trends and recommends designs to the purchase department of the store. Next, he/she analyzes the structure of the market and decides the age group that would prefer that kind of dress. Then he/she states the amount of stock that is to be kept for each size as well as different colors. The next major duty is to set up the shop in such a way that consumers get attracted to it. The set up of the shop is also done according to the market trends. In addition to these duties, a merchandiser also sets the cost bracket for particular goods.
An important step in such a setup is in-house advertising. When you walk into the store, you will notice almost countless in-house advertisements. A merchandiser generates and copy-writes these advertisements. A more comprehensive definition would be, a promoter of a retail establishment who attracts consumers and caters to their demand, thereby maximizing sales.
Merchandiser Job Description
- The job description differs from company to company. It has been observed that retail industries hire few merchandisers who usually work in the headquarters and occasionally visit the retail stores of companies.
- In some cases, they need to travel long distances to audit the non-regional and off-shore stores.
- The educational qualification also differs from industry to industry. For example, if you want to work in a fashion related retail chain, then you must have a degree in fashion designing. If you want to work in a banking or finance retail establishment, then you are required to have a degree in finance.
- In some cases, such as consumer retail chains or even food chains, a degree in marketing or advertising also works fine. There is basically no hard and fast rule regarding educational qualification.
- The merchandiser is expected to track consumer demands and trends.
- He is responsible for establishing a generalized requirement for stocking and auditing quality.
- He also suggests manufacturing changes (changes may be suggested even before manufacture).
- He sets up the marketing mechanism, the entire shop, and provides improvisations within the shop.
- He helps audit consumer response.
- He also helps improve product costs.
- These responsibilities are onstage responsibilities, apart from which a merchandiser is also required to keep an eye on the fashion trends.
- He is responsible for estimating the entire market and ongoing developments.
- He also keeps an outlook for recent developments in the industry and estimating trend projections.
The salary of a merchandiser depends upon the retailer with whom he or she works. It must be noted that there is plenty of scope for vertical growth in the field of merchandising.