What does a merchandiser do?
Merchandisers work as sales professionals behind the scenes. As a merchandiser, you bear direct responsibility for every product that's delivered to your store. Your responsibilities continue until the product is sold. You work closely with suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers, and your duties include marketing by promoting specific products, designing attractive product displays, and keeping current with seasonally marketed products. You also track and monitor warehouse inventory, order products using a just-in-time approach, and strive to keep products organized so sales associates can easily find them. Merchandisers also support executives and administrative staff by performing essential organizational tasks and clerical work. Work duties vary considerably based on your industry. For example, you might be responsible for organizing a fashion show or a product demonstration. Your primary duties include:
• Working with suppliers and manufacturers to organize regular inventory and products for special promotions and seasonal sales
• Creating promotions to market products
• Maintaining inventory as tightly as possible without running out of items
• Developing strategies for merchandising that ensure greater retailer compliance with your overall marketing objectives
• Gathering data on marketing trends and customer opinions on products
• Analyzing sales data, growth rates, and expansion initiatives to fine-tune marketing strategiesView Jobs
What is the average salary of a merchandiser?
The average salary of merchandisers in the United States was $68,167 as of June 28, 2022, which makes the job one of the most lucrative for high school graduates without more advanced educations. The salary range varies considerably based on the company's reputation, geographic location, and the price range of products — salaries range from $54,852 to $75,283. Your years of experience rank as the top factor in earning a higher salary, but getting an associate degree in marketing or computer skills certainly raises your profile and entry-level salary. Your job's geographic location also plays a major role in your salary, and people living in metropolitan urban areas earn higher salaries but have higher living expenses. The representative salaries of merchandisers in the United States come from the following cities:
- San Francisco, California: $68,942
- New York, New York: $57,986
- Charlotte, North Carolina: $57,549
- Seattle, Washington: $57,099
- Los Angeles, California: $54,043
- Tampa Bay, Florida: $43,128
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin: $42,951
- Dallas, Texas: $42,309
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: $41,941
- Houston, Texas: $41,914
Industries that hire merchandisers
Merchandisers are hired in most retail and wholesale operations to promote products and manage inventory. Big box stores, retail chains, clothing boutiques, and food and beverage companies hire merchandisers. Some of the most common industries that hire merchandisers include:
- Garment manufacturers and retailers
- Sporting goods stores
- Major department stores like Macy's
- Grocers like Whole Foods
- Fashion boutiques
- Drug stores
- All types of clothing stores
- Auto parts stores
- Appliance centers
- Tire shops
- Any retail business
- Wholesale product vendors and distributors
Merchandiser job description
Working as a merchandiser includes developing artistic visual displays and concepts that support your marketing goals and retail brands. Your job consists of visual marketing to promote brands, products, catalog sales, and online sales. You will work seamlessly with other departments, wholesalers, and suppliers and use consumer feedback to attract and retain customers with sales incentives, special events, visually compelling displays, and product demonstrations.
What are the responsibilities of a merchandiser?
The job responsibilities of merchandisers vary from point-of-purchase and inventory management to high-fashion merchandising. The range of your responsibilities includes buying and selling fashionable clothing, accessories, and industry-related products to marketing heavy-duty farm equipment. Fashion merchandising becomes incredibly competitive, and your responsibilities might extend to creating the best possible shopping experience for each product's target audience. Some of your responsibilities as a merchandiser include:
- Coordinating shipments and deliveries from suppliers to multiple retail locations
- Maintaining healthy relationships with manufacturers, designers, and suppliers to meet deadlines
- Analyzing fashion trends and seasonal variances to anticipate buying habits
- Working with buyers, manufacturers, and distributors to negotiate prices, quantities, and delivery dates
- Developing sales strategies that balance company objectives with consumer expectations
- Producing layout plans for stores and maintaining a balanced level of inventory
- Removing badly selling items or putting slow-moving inventory on sale
- Forecasting sales, company profits, and budgets
- Remaining current with best practices like increased cleaning during the Covid-19 crisis
What type of equipment do merchandisers use?
Some companies require their merchandisers to operate equipment for personalizing products like cutting tables, mats, laser engravers, sewing machines, and embroidery machines. Other equipment that merchandisers use includes mobile workstations, screen printing machines, and barcode scanners and printers. Software applications that merchandisers use include:
- Retail operations software
- Retail management applications
- Retail analytics software
- MockShop visual merchandising software
- Inventory management software
- POS systems
What is the work environment of a merchandiser?
Merchandisers need physical stamina because you spend most of your work time moving products and arranging them on the sales floor and in the warehouse. Physical stamina enables merchandisers to lift heavy products and arrange them quickly and efficiently while often working around customers. Managers work in warehouses and retail operations where the environment is usually carefully maintained, but warehouses are often kept without sufficient heat and air conditioning for human comfort. Merchandisers who work for product vendors often spend most of their workday commuting between client stores. Most of them work full-time schedules, but work shifts vary and include evening and weekend hours. Many merchandisers are paid by the hour, and getting overtime is an effective strategy for earning more money.
Related working conditions
Some part-time positions are available for merchandisers but working from home is not possible for most merchandising jobs. Some remote work allows workers to work and design at home and merchandise products on their own timetables. Some companies hire merchandisers to work on demand for different clients in temporary situations.
Who are your colleagues as a merchandiser?
Your colleagues as a merchandiser include store managers, business owners, retailers, vendors, computer technicians, and retail sales associates. You have the opportunity to join any of several professional organizations to expand your network of colleagues and improve your network. These include:
What is the work schedule of a merchandiser?
Most merchandisers working for large companies work eight hours per day and 40-hour weeks. Many salaried merchandisers at smaller companies often work 70- or 80-hour weeks, especially during holidays and local celebrations. You usually have the ability to schedule time off except during busy retail times, but you should expect to work on major holidays. Larger companies offer merchandisers a choice of vacation time, but most merchandisers are needed for busy times like the Christmas marketing season, Easter, Mother's Day, and Father's Day.
What is the career outlook for a merchandiser?
Successful merchandisers earn top salaries and network with VIPs like fashionistas, key internet influencers, and managers of important businesses. The knowledge of marketing and business operations makes it easy to transition to business ownership as an entrepreneur. The career outlook for merchandisers ranks slightly behind national averages, but the United States will need 10,200 merchandisers over the next 10 years. That breaks down to a growth of 4,600 new job positions and 5,600 replacements of retiring merchandisers. Pursuing a merchandiser career opens advancement opportunities that include both lateral and vertical advancement to positions like retail trade merchandising manager or even store manager.
What are the advantages of working with Spherion as a merchandiser?
When looking for a job, Spherion can help you in many ways. As one of the premier employment agencies, Spherion attracts top employers in all industries, including major employers in the retail sphere. The major benefits of working with Spherion include:
- Temporary positions that often turn into permanent employment
- Special training programs that include many industries
- Payday every week
- Assignments for which you can arrange extensions
- An assigned staff expert to shepherd you through your job search
- Great employer for changing your line of work
- Flexibility for working at home or choosing alternative working hours
What education do you need as a merchandiser?
The only universal educational requirement for merchandisers is a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent program. Getting first-hand experience helps you qualify, and an associate or bachelor's degree in fashion merchandising enhances your appeal to many companies, especially in fashion merchandising. Earning a degree in retail merchandising, computer science, or a related field makes you more competitive for higher-paying jobs.
Retail work experience
Working at an entry-level retail position as a cashier or stocker will help you meet the two-year retail work requirement that many companies use to assess potential merchandiser candidates. After working two or more years in a professional retail environment, ask your supervisor about openings for merchandisers. If there aren't any available, begin searching elsewhere, including product vendor merchandising positions. You can bypass the work experience requirement by earning a certificate in retail merchandising from an accredited program. For example, Harper College offers a Retail Merchandising Certificate after completing and passing an 18-credit-hour course.
Skills & competencies
The skills and competencies needed as a merchandiser include communication skills at the top of the list because that's what the job primarily requires. Your main job is telling customers via written, verbal, and marketing content why your company's products rate serious consideration. The skills needed vary by industry and type of merchandising and include organizational skills, marketing skills, and some artistic/design ability. The following list from LinkedIn summarizes some of the most common skills and competencies required:
- Ability to make a favorable impression on suppliers and customers
- Mathematics ability to calculate quickly and accurately
- Decision-making skills
- Communications skills at the business level
- Persuasive abilities
- Ability to work as a team member
- Analytical ability
- Knowledge of the garment industry
- Basic computer skills and knowledge of office applications
- Self-motivation and work ethic
Common certifications for merchandisers
You have the ability to advance in your career or earn a higher salary by obtaining different certifications throughout your career. Some of the best certification programs include the following:
- National Association of Purchasing Card Professionals Certified Purchasing Card Professional
- Manufacturers' Representatives Educational Research Foundation Certified Sales Professional
- Electronics Transaction Association Computer Service Technician
- Promotional Products Association International Certified Advertising Specialist
- Zavata Certified Help Desk Manager
FAQs about merchandising and merchandiser careers can answer some of your questions, or you can ask your personal representative any questions you have. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions.
Are there significant advancement opportunities for merchandisers?
You can advance into a supervisory or management role after working about two years as a merchandiser. Most companies love to promote qualified candidates from within because they're already familiar with the company culture.
How much do similar jobs pay?
Retail sales associates earn $18.89 per hour, and customer service representatives earn $17.72 per hour. Hourly pay for merchandisers runs between $26 and $36 per hour.
What are the minimal requirements for landing a merchandiser job?
You can be promoted from any retail job if you show an aptitude for marketing and organization. Normally, companies require two to four years of retail experience and some computer skills. An associate or bachelor's degree helps your prospects, and earning a certification in merchandising helps land you a job.
How do I apply for a job as a merchandiser?
Applying for a job as a merchandiser is easy with Spherion. You can search for merchandiser jobs on Spherion.com by job title and location. If you can't find a job that seems right, you can submit an open application with Spherion. Doing so triggers a live response from a dedicated specialist who will research potential careers that match your goals and skills.