- Types of merchandiser
- What do merchandisers do?
- Merchandiser career path
- Merchandiser salaries
- Qualifications & training
- Merchandiser skills
- Pros and cons of being a merchandiser
- Work-life balance of a merchandiser
- Typical employers hiring merchandisers
- Related jobs to merchandiser
- More information
Do you have great attention to detail? Are you looking for a job that combines your creativity with your interest in business? If you want a job where you’re the expert in what a customer might be drawn to, a career as a merchandiser could be perfect for you.
Are you interested in a career as a merchandiser? Explore the consumer, FMCG and retail jobs available right now.
Types of merchandiser
Merchandisers make sure that the products meet consumers’ needs in online and instore retail departments. Since there are many different types of merchandiser, you have the opportunity to specialise throughout your career based on your interests and expertise.
Retail merchandisers work in physical shops. They make sure the stock levels are maintained, move items to make them look most attractive and appealing to customers and change product prices to match the sales.
Product merchandisers work with a specific product to boost its sales and the attention given to it by customers. This includes looking at the online and instore marketing, discussing the option of improving the displays that the product has and suggesting marketing campaigns for the product.
Digital merchandisers work with online retail stores, suggesting new ways of promoting products and helping customers find the items that they search for.
Omnimerchandisers deal with all the channels a store has to sell its products. This could be a combination of apps, websites and in store experience. They help make a unified experience for the customer, working to improve the ease of finding products across mediums and building up the brand.
What does a merchandiser do?
Merchandisers improve the customer experience, either instore or online, and improve both brand awareness and the appeal of products. Regardless of the type of merchandiser that you want to be, here are the activities that you might expect to do in the role:
- Check the stock levels of a product either online or instore
- Analyse the performance of products and make suggestions for branding, product location and pricing changes to encourage more sales
- Looking at warehouse stock and updating the stock level report based on what’s actually there
- Meet with marketing teams, suppliers and retailers to discuss changes to a product
Merchandiser career path
Your career path in merchandising could involve you working with many products and having the option to explore many avenues. If you enjoy the commercial side but want to have a more social role, moving into customer service could be ideal for you. If you enjoy the marketing side but want to move away from products, you might prefer a career as a digital marketer. If you’re interested in a career in merchandising, here are the typical steps in your career for progression:
Many people start in assistant merchandiser jobs. In this role, you work with a merchandiser to analyse the sales and make changes to the product and display accordingly. You may do some administration tasks like setting up meetings and organising when to view shop floors and warehouses.
After demonstrating your experience and great skill set, you progress to a mid-level merchandiser job. This role has more responsibility than entry-level work and involves responding to clients and providing your professional opinion.
With experience, you move to a senior merchandiser job. You’re given much more responsibility than in more junior positions, working with bigger companies or doing higher profile work. As a senior member of the team, you provide support for junior colleagues, training them when they begin work and providing advice when they need it.
If you’re interested in working in executive positions, you could become head of merchandising. In this role, you’re responsible for overseeing the work of the merchandising team. You make sure budgets are kept to and deadlines are met. This role is more managerial than less senior jobs in the field and requires you to take a step back from doing any merchandising work yourself.
From entry to executive level, you have the option for great career progression as a merchandiser. Here are the average salary levels for each step in this career path:
- Entry-level jobs like assistant merchandiser earn an average of £26,000 per year
- Mid-level merchandiser jobs £35,000 per year on average
- Senior merchandisers earn an average of £57,000 per year
- Head of merchandising roles earn £83,000 per year on average
- As a merchandising directors, you could earn over £100,000 per year
Qualifications and training
To appeal to hiring managers, you need to have the right qualifications. Here’s the education and experience you need to succeed as a merchandiser:
Having an undergraduate degree helps your chances of working as a merchandiser. Relevant degrees are in marketing, business, finance and other business related degrees. These degrees teach you relevant background and theoretical information that you can use during your work. Having a master’s degree isn’t a requirement of the job but can help you specialise in a subject that interests you, meaning you have more localised knowledge which you can apply to the work.
There are some apprenticeship opportunities which you can look into if you’re not interested in the degree route. Apprenticeships give you a more practical set of skills than a degree, if not the same theoretical knowledge. Once you finish, you’re qualified to do the job because you’ve already been doing it. If you’re interested in apprenticeships, you can explore the opportunities through this government apprenticeship search tool.
If you’re going down the degree route, having some relevant work experience on top of your education helps you stand out to hiring managers and gain the skills you need to do the job. One way of gaining experience is by working in the retail sector before, during or after your degree. This helps you learn how to market products and display them well for maximum sales because making the store look nice is often an important part of retail work. Alternatively, doing an internship in merchandising or another marketing role gives you relevant experience and practical training. You can explore the consumer, FMCG and retail sector internships available right now and complete this module on converting an internship into a permanent job.
Merchandisers make products look as appealing as they can to customers. Beyond a keen eye for business, here are the skills that you need to be a successful merchandiser:
- Analytical skills. As a merchandiser, you analyse numbers as a part of the job, for example sales figures, viewership on websites and other marketing metrics. This is to see how you can improve the performance of a product. You need great analytical skills so you can translate the number-form information into meaningful actions that you can do to improve the product.
- Creative. Merchandising is a creative field. You need to think of new and innovative ideas for marketing and making a product, store or website as appealing to the consumer as it can me. Being creative and being unafraid of sharing your ideas with colleagues helps you do this.
- Persuasive. Your job includes arguing your point. You are the expert in the field and your opinion should be respected by colleagues and stakeholders. However, you may need to use your power of persuasion to show them why your ideas are great and how they can improve a product’s performance. This could be persuading the marketing team to change the price or design of a product, persuading a store to change some aspects of their layout to help customers find either the products they like or one in particular, or persuading other companies to showcase a product to help consumers find it.
Pros and cons of being a merchandiser
Every role has some positive and negative parts that you come across when doing the job. Knowing the good and bad parts helps you decide if it’s the right role for you. Here are the pros and cons of being a merchandiser:
- Your working day could include going to a store, a warehouse and working in an office making it highly varied and interesting
- With experience, you can progress to high earning roles
- If products sell well, you are responsible and are praised accordingly
- Merchandisers report a comparatively low stress level
- Being a merchandiser might include some travel
- It can be a creative job
- You might be held responsible for the performance of a product or products if they don’t sell well which can be stressful
- If you’re a retail merchandiser, it can be a fiddly job requiring you to move many products around shelves to see what looks best
Work-life balance of a merchandiser
The place you work as a merchandiser depends on the type of merchandising you’re in. If you work as a retail, product or omnimerchandiser, your work includes going into stores and assessing the stock levels and product displays. This can add to your working day as you may have to commute to several stores. If you’re a digital, product or omnimerchandiser, your work involves assessing online stock and marketing meaning you work in an office setting. This can make the job sedentary so taking the time to stretch during your working day and do some appropriate exercise can prevent any long term health impacts.
Merchandisers typically work standard working hours of 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday. However, you may have some longer working days depending on the company and overtime hours around deadlines.