Merchandiser Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: August 22, 2022

 

A Merchandiser, or Retail Merchandiser, handles a store’s inventory levels and product displays. Their main duties include submitting warehouse inventory reports, clearing any unwanted products from displays and monitoring the sales performances of products.

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Merchandiser duties and responsibilities

Merchandisers perform a number of analysis and management tasks to provide the most accurate and relevant information to retailers, manufacturers and others in the supply chain. Their duties and responsibilities often include:

  • Monitoring sales and identifying any losses or stock wastage
  • Working with suppliers and distributors to negotiate prices and order large volumes
  • Collaborate with executives, marketers and salespeople to set prices that are good for the market and profit
  • Getting to know the customer base and understanding their motivation and sales drivers
  • Reviewing customer feedback to predict sales trends and seasonal stock demand
  • Briefing staff on stock display and rotation to ensure every space is optimized
  • Researching and monitoring industry trends and consumer behavior to anticipate demand and changes in buying patterns
  • Making predictions based on sales data, customer feedback and market trends
  • Assessing the effectiveness of different product displays and store layouts on sales figures
  • Reviewing competitors, including pricing, profit, marketing and other progress
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What does a Merchandiser do?

Merchandisers work in a retail setting, cultivating new and engaging ways to display and sell more products. They’ll analyze the store’s layout to find the best spots to place products that will make them look more appealing to customers. If an item breaks, expires or loses popularity with customers, the Merchandiser is responsible for clearing and replacing it with a more appealing product. 

They’ll regularly track the sales and revenue of each product piece to determine which are best-sellers and which to replace. These numbers also help the Merchandiser suggest potential special offers to help the store increase its profits. To gain more insight on which products consumers are more likely to purchase, Merchandisers will regularly conduct interviews, surveys and focus groups with potential and current customers.

Merchandiser skills and qualifications

Merchandisers apply a variety of soft skills, technical skills and industry knowledge when assessing stores, products, trends and financial predictions. These skills and qualifications include:

  • Excellent communication skills, including speaking, writing and listening
  • Strong time management abilities, including planning and prioritizing workloads
  • Effective strategic planning, both for the short-term and long-term
  • Thorough understanding of merchandising trends and industry best practices
  • In-depth knowledge of industry-specific trends and issues
  • Exceptional ability to analyze data and draw relevant conclusions
  • Creative and innovative thinking
  • Experience in preparing and delivering presentations to managers, staff and suppliers
  • A proven track record of achieving excellent results with merchandising strategies and promotional activity

Merchandiser salary expectations

A Merchandiser makes an average of $13.10 per hour. Pay rate may depend on level of education, experience and geographical location.

Merchandiser education and training requirements

Many Merchandiser candidates have at least an associate degree or vocational certificate in business, retail management, marketing or another relevant discipline. Some candidates have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, supply chain management, marketing or a related field. These education programs provide candidates with practical coursework and industry knowledge necessary to be a professional Merchandiser.

Merchandisers can start at entry-level where they can complete industry- and store-specific training, often through shadowing more senior team members and learning about the trends in the specific store or sector in which they work.

Merchandiser experience requirements

Entry-level Merchandiser candidates with an associate degree or vocational certificate are likely to also have a few years of experience working in retail, either as a Store Associate or low-level manager. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree may have earned experience through an internship or cooperative education experience during their studies. Some may also have professional experience in retail or supply chain management at the assistant level. Merchandiser roles with leadership responsibilities may require candidates with either level of education and at least 5 years of experience in merchandising.

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Frequently asked questions about Merchandisers

 

Who does a Merchandiser report to?

The individuals that Merchandisers report to typically depend on the type and size of company they work for. If they serve on a larger team, they may report to the Store Manager with updates on the store’s products and suggestions for sales. They may also report to or work alongside the Marketing Manager to determine which offers to promote. 

If the Merchandiser works in a smaller store, they may report directly to the owner, who will provide them with updates on their performance and suggestions for improvement. Some Merchandisers may even report to and build relationships with stakeholders as they provide regular updates on product and sales performances.

 

What settings do Merchandisers typically work in?

There are a few different kinds of settings Merchandisers may work in. Most of them work in retail stores, managing various product displays throughout the store. They’ll also work in larger department stores, handling a wide array of different products and finding ways to promote, sell and display various types of products. 

When they work in these larger department stores, Merchandisers typically spend a majority of their time traveling to various store locations to unload and display new products. This also means they’ll be in the warehouse regularly, taking inventory and locating new items to stock in each store. 

 

What's the difference between a Merchandiser and a Buyer?

While both of these roles primarily handle a retail store’s products, there are some key differences between the responsibilities of Merchandisers and Buyers. Buyers will research and purchase merchandise to display in their store. They’ll typically travel to meet with different suppliers to negotiate deals on potential products to sell in the store. 

Buyers usually focus on finding new products, while Merchandisers work solely with items already displayed in the store. When the Buyer finds products, the Merchandiser usually takes over the selling and displaying of the products, while the Buyer returns to finding new products. 

 

What makes a good Merchandiser?

A great Merchandiser should be highly creative to constantly find new, innovative and engaging ways to showcase products on the sales floor. They must also have impressive organizational skills to create logical systems for sorting products that makes items easy to quickly locate when needed. Merchandisers are also constantly on their feet throughout different store locations or they’ll spend their time in the warehouse moving products, so the ideal candidate should have good physical stamina to handle this.

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