A retail merchandiser plays a key role in the retail structure. They act as a link between a retail buyer, who deals with suppliers, and the shop floor, whether real or virtual.
Although a buyer will choose the lines that will be carried by a store, it is the job of the retail merchandiser to decide how much stock of each line should be bought. They need to ensure that the right amount of stock is available in stores, at the right time. This means working with buying teams to accurately forecast sales and monitor performance.
A retail merchandiser will also be responsible for how the products are presented in stores, from pricing through to visual display. The visual display responsibilities of a retail merchandiser include designing layout plans for stores, determining where products should be placed to attract the maximum attention.
Constant evaluation of sales performance is important, to understand bestselling lines and optimise accordingly, or to monitor slow-moving lines and implement any discounts or promotions to turn over the stock. In either situation, their role is to ensure that profit is maximised. The retail merchandiser will review a wide range of data to understand what makes a product successful or not, such as price point, style or colour. Customer reaction is important in addition to this data. Their findings can be fed back into future planning and forecasting.
As well as strong analytical and planning skills, to develop forecasts and monitor performance, a retail merchandiser needs to be able to detect trends. This may include market research and monitoring competitor activity.
A retail merchandiser can make a significant contribution to the success of a retail business, as their role is so influential to sales performance.
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