Education and Training – Bachelor’s Degree
Average Salary – $20,000 – $60,000
Job Outlook – Good
Merchandisers are part of a retail store’s buying team. Their job involves making sure the correct product lines are stocked in stores and in the right quantities. It is a complex role which requires excellent understanding of the retail market and the ability to analyze sales data for use in purchasing decisions. A merchandiser is partly or wholly responsible for the price certain products should retail for.
One important aspect of a merchandiser’s role within a store is planning the visual layout of the goods on offer. Research has been carried out which proves the way in which goods are laid out visually can have an impact on consumer purchasing decisions.
Education and Training Requirements
There are no specific degree requirements for a merchandiser but a Bachelor’s degree is advantageous. Relevant degrees include marketing, retail management, and finance. Some companies run post-graduate training programs specifically aimed at the merchandisers of the future. These equip aspiring merchandisers with the specific skill-set needed to succeed in the industry.
Getting the Job
Getting a job in merchandising is narrowed down to three factors – education, experience, and personality. In terms of education, merchandisers will need to display strong numerical ability and good decision making skills. Experience working within retail or within the world of marketing is desirable. Merchandisers will need a personality which is both intelligent and savvy. An in-depth knowledge of the retail world, and consumer behavior, will help merchandisers succeed in getting jobs within the field.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development
There will always be a need for merchandisers. A merchandiser who has a demonstrable track record in successful merchandising decisions is likely to have a wide choice of jobs to choose from. One factor which is a worry for merchandisers is the rise of online shopping. This has resulted in less people choosing to shop at traditional, physical stores. Some of the same skills that a merchandiser uses in offline shops can be applied to the world of internet shopping; many merchandisers may find they are able to take advantage of the online shopping boom.
Merchandising is a career which has clear opportunities for progression. Often, new merchandisers will start out as either distributors or merchandise administration assistants. The next step on the career ladder is usually an assistant merchandiser role. After a couple of years’ experience at this level of the industry it is possible to be promoted to a full merchandiser role and eventually to senior merchandiser.
Working Conditions and Environment
The merchandiser will spend most of their time in an office environment but will also work from time to time on a retail shop floor area. Merchandisers will also need to meet with wholesalers from time to time. If a merchandiser makes it to the management level of the profession then they are likely to be based at a company’s head office. Occasional foreign travel is possible to visit overseas manufacturers in search of new product lines.
Salary and Benefits
Starting salaries for people starting out in the merchandiser industry are around $20,000 and this can rise to $60,000 or $80,000 for a senior merchandiser with an excellent track record and years of experience. Many stores offer a full range of benefits including health and dental care as well as vacation time and paid sick leave.
Where to Go for More Information
National Retail Federation
325 7th St. NW, Ste. 1100
Washington, DC 20004