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How to Become a Merchandiser

In order for a store to be effective, they need to have the right amount of products on hand. Too much, and they’re wasting money and space. Too little, and customers won’t be able to buy what they need. 

Merchandisers help with this by optimizing the sale and stock of products. They ensure that goods are at appropriate levels by measuring long-term trends, analyzing data, and creating promotional campaigns to balance quantities. Stocking shelves, setting up product displays, and monitoring inventory are additional tasks a merchandiser might be involved with.

As a merchandiser, you’ll generally want to have excellent communication skills, both verbal and written. Since it’s not unusual to have tasks at different locations, work prioritization and time management are large components as well. This, on top of longer-term strategic planning, and creative problem-solving skills make an ideal candidate.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] didn’t become one of the best in the industry because we sell something different than everyone else. We’re in the lead because we sell the same things, but better. We’re searching for a seasoned merchandiser that can not only reliably keep our products on the shelves, but present them in a way that catches the customer’s eye. If you think you have what it takes to be a logistics guru, a communication expert, and a marketing wizard all in one, then we have an opportunity for you!

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Accurately forecast and manage product levels
  • Communicate and maintain strong working relationships with purchasers/buyers
  • Research and interpret market trends and data and translate that into a salesfront
  • Work with display staff to arrange and present products to customers
  • Have a strong understanding of customer service and anticipate the wants and needs of our customers.

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree 
  • Supply chain, marketing or retail experience: 1 year

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent understanding of supply chain risk management
  • The ability to accurately forecast and supply goods
  • A good communicator that can work with a wide variety of personality types
  • An excellent marketer with an eye for developing a sales strategy that works
  • Unquestionable integrity
  • Passion and dedication to the company’s mission

Preferred qualifications

  • Bachelor’s in supply chain management
  • Demonstrated supply chain, marketing, or retail success
  • Experience maintaining and managing product stock
  • Experience with market research data tools and analytics
  • Experience in understanding and prioritizing company goals
  • Experience creating compelling sales strategies

Typical work environment

Your typical work environment will be spent largely traveling to various store locations. At each store, you will be responsible for selling, setting up product displays and stocking shelves. This job requires heavy lifting and spending most of your day on your feet.

Typical hours

The general hours of a merchandiser are inside typical store hours, from 9 AM – 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Occasionally, there may be special events that might require set-up and breakdown, but these are few and far between.

Available certifications

As a merchandiser, there’s always room to give yourself a competitive advantage.

  • APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)
  • APICS Certified in Planning and Inventory Management
  • SCOR Professional (SCOR-P) Endorsement
  • Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD)

These certifications will set you apart as someone who has a solid understanding of the supply chain world, and anyone that hires you will know they can trust you with providing the proper amount of product, on time and within budget.

Career path

There is no direct path to becoming a merchandiser, since it’s composed of so many different aspects. One might find themselves in the logistics world and stepping into marketing, or vice-versa. Regardless of your background, whether it be in management, marketing, supply chain, sales, or otherwise, demonstrating your ability to reliably provide a product in an interesting way will provide you an opportunity to thrive in this position.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-1011

2020 Employment513,400
Projected Employment in 2030546,350
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 7% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift35,938 Increase

As long as there are consumers, there will be a need to sell competitively. And if you’re trying to remain competitive, you’ll need experts on your side to sell better than everyone else. Merchandisers both provide a level of risk mitigation to guarantee a product will be on the shelves, while also making that product appetizing to customers. Moving into a digital sales front only changes the medium with which a merchandiser must work, but the work remains largely the same.