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How Do I Become a Retail Merchandiser?

A retail merchandiser must understand marketing theories.
A retail merchandiser must be able to estimate how much of a product should be bought and displayed.
Retail merchandisers may be in charge of their own stores.
Retail merchandisers must be able to determine current industry selling trends.
At some retailers, the merchandiser selects which products to actively promote, based on industry trends and other factors.
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  • Written By: T. Webster
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2014
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A career as a retail merchandiser involves placing products in stores so that customers are encouraged to buy them. This includes estimating how much of a particular product should be bought and displayed and understanding how customers make buying decisions. Specialized training through a two-year or four-year college program generally is required to become a retail merchandiser. These programs typically include courses in marketing, advertising and other areas that are essential to become a retail merchandiser.

To become a retail merchandiser, you must understand marketing theories and how they relate to retail stores. Some history of retail and marketing theories likely will be required. Marketing includes knowing how to price items so they make a profit but still are appealing to cost-conscious customers.

Understanding customers is a key requirement of retail merchandising. For example, upscale retail stores deal with different clientele than discount stores do. In other words, a successful retail merchandiser understands the target market of a store and its customers' preferences.

An artistic flair and the ability to present eye-catching displays are two additional skills that will help you in your quest to become a retail merchandiser. Product colors and store lighting are often used to make displays interesting and appealing to customers. Artistic ability comes in handy while you are drawing sketches of proposed merchandise displays. This helps you to get a sense of what a display might look like before you start positioning it.

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If you work for a retail chain that has multiple locations, you likely will work at many sites. In addition to working at various locations, retail merchandisers can work alone or as a part of a team. A merchandising team consists of two or more people who work together to complete a project.

The idea behind team merchandising is that multiple people can complete a project in a shorter amount of time. Teams typically are built with people who are strong in certain skill sets. The role of team members can be defined by managers, or the team might sort this out simply by working together.

No matter the scenario, working as a team requires you to pull your weight as an individual while supporting other team members. You might discover hidden talents and strengths that you did not know you had. You might also learn how to successfully complete tasks you are not interested in, because it benefits the team. Overall, it is a great way to learn how to work effectively with others.

Ideally, whether working alone or as a team, you will receive clear direction for how the project is to be completed, the time frame and how the project success will be measured. Receiving clear direction is one of the most important aspects of learning how to become a retail merchandiser. It is vital to meeting all of the expectations of your employer or client.

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