Merchandising is often seen as the more glamorous side of retail, be it in supermarkets, fashion stores or even humble Poundland because you are the person responsible for deciding which products to buy and how they are displayed.
It's high pressure, sure, but it is also shopping for a living - and how hard can that be? We take a look...
So, what will I actually be doing?
A merchandiser needs to know what’s new on the market, what the customers will like and which products will make a profit.
It's not all glamour and shopping as a merchandiser and no two days are ever the same. Your typical daily tasks are likely to include:
- Visiting suppliers and manufacturers
- Analysing sales information
- Negotiating prices with suppliers
- Ordering goods
- Talking to other departments
- Helping with promotions and advertising campaigns
- Producing sales projections
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The nitty gritty
This isn't your typical shop job with irregular shifts (hurrah?!) and on a regular week you’re likely to work 9 – 5.30pm Monday to Friday. However, there will be times when you need to put in overtime and although this job is office based, you may need to travel to meet suppliers or sort out problems with manufacturers. Hello expense account!
Money, money, money
Salaries vary depending on the size of the company you work for but those new to the world of merchandising can expect to earn between £19k and £25k, which isn't bad for newbies. With some experience under your belt, you will earn around £30k plus per year.
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The good points...
We spoke to merchandiser Tonya Paul who told us: "This is a demanding role working to very tight deadlines. The greatest satisfaction comes with achieving these tight deadlines, negotiating great prices and seeing a happy client as the end result!"
...and the bad
Tonya is realistic about the pros and cons of the job, however, describing the bad points as: "Working to extremely tight deadlines and coordinating manufacturers, printers and so on. It can be very demanding."
Is there study involved?
It's tough out there so a degree or HND/HNC is retail, marketing or business will give you an advantage in this competitive career. Some larger retail companies recruit graduate management trainees where you'll work in different departments learning all aspects of retailing and store management, before specialising in merchandising.
Need additional qualifications? Find a course at our Learning Zone
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
So far, so good? Next to consider is if a merchandiser job suits your personality and skills... To do this job you’ll need marketing expertise, an insight into market trends and a good understanding of consumers buying habits to be successful. Other attributes that help are:
- Business sense and negotiation skills
- The ability to work well in a team
- Good written and spoken communication skills
- Creative flair