A Day In the Life of A Merchandiser

A Day In the Life of A Merchandiser image

Are you considering a career in merchandising? Merchandisers are an integral part of the fashion retail industry, yet we often find that our prospective students aren’t quite sure what a merchandising career entails.

Read on to find out more about Merchandising: how this role fits into the wider fashion retail landscape, the responsibilities involved and what a typical day on the job might look like.

What Does a Merchandiser Do?

A merchandiser works closely alongside both buyers and designers, with the ultimate goal of maximising profits for a fashion brand. This is done primarily through planning what specific garments (and how many) end up in stores, keeping to tight budgets and ensuring consistent stock flow. To do so, merchandisers are essentially in charge of monitoring three seasons at once: they forecast and predict future sales, analyse past figures to see what’s worked historically and what hasn’t, and examine current sales figures to see what customers are buying. It’s a career that goes hand in hand with buying – while a buyer acquires stock based on analysing trends, the merchandiser decides where and how this should be placed. For this reason, many of our merchandising courses also incorporate elements of buying to give students a comprehensive overview of the merchandising job role.

While merchandising is highly analytical and a good head for figures can definitely be useful, it can also be a creative role. You’ll use your fashion knowledge and natural understanding of trends to plan cohesive product ranges. It also helps to be a good listener, as this role works in conjunction with others throughout industry, and negotiation at varying stages is key.

Some of the crucial responsibilities of a merchandiser include the following:

  • Managing budgets
  • Predicting sales and profits
  • Managing stock levels and distribution
  • Negotiating time scales and quantities
  • Meeting with suppliers and analysts

A Day in the Life of a Merchandiser

9am – Your day will most likely start at the office, where you’ll analyse which of your brand’s products have been performing best sales-wise that week. You’ll highlight any key learnings, then share these with the rest of your team.

11am – Mid-morning, you might have a meeting with the buyers and designers to have a chat about what next season’s range could look like. You’ll evaluate any emerging trends and also analyse past trading data to see what’s done well for your key demographic previously.

1pm – After lunch, it’s time to take a closer look at what your competitors are doing. This might involve desktop research, or scouting the high street to see what’s around. Staying on top of what’s going on in the wider industry is key to being a successful merchandiser.

3pm – The afternoon might be spent catching up on emails. Depending on the brand you’re working for, it’s likely you’ll be liaising with suppliers and international offices.

5pm – Before going home of the day, you’ll check in on stock levels at the distribution centre and chase any suppliers you haven’t heard back from to make sure you’re in a good place to start work the next day.

How Do I Get Into Merchandising?

The fastest and most direct route into a merchandising career is through one of our courses. The FRA runs three separate courses all centred around merchandising, which are designed to not only equip you with theoretical knowledge to help you succeed on the job, but hands-on experience to put you firmly one step ahead of the pack.

Level 4 Merchandising for Fashion Diploma

This comprehensive one-year course provides you with a solid foundation of experience and knowledge to get you started in your merchandising career. Taught completely by industry professionals, this diploma takes you right through from the impact of historical and social factors on the fashion retail industry to how to analyse financial data.

As part of the L4 diploma, you’ll undertake both a work placement and an industry project. These opportunities are designed to not only expose you to the real-world reality of fashion merchandising, but to provide you with key contacts for when you graduate. Our L4 Merchandising for Fashion diploma is perfect for school-leavers taking their first steps into the industry.

BA (Hons) in Buying and Merchandising Accelerated Degree

We run the UK’s only buying and merchandising for fashion accelerated degree. This Fast Track course is designed to get you on the first step of the career ladder more quickly – and at a fraction of the cost – of a traditional university degree.

The focus of this course is to future-proof your skills to help you keep up with the ever-changing landscape of fashion retail and its intersecting industries of online shopping and social media. The degree is delivered entirely at the FRA campus in London, but has been designed in conjunction with Falmouth University, giving you access to their extensive library and resources. Learning combines mentoring and masterclasses with industry experts as well as placements and live projects.

Level 4 Fast Track Buying and Merchandising

This 22-week programme is designed for those looking to break into a new area of fashion retail or quickly upskill. The course is delivered two days a week, meaning you can work while you study. The course also includes a unique, three-week placement with a respected high street brand to help you put your new skills into practice.  

Despite its short duration, this Fast Track course is comprehensive and thorough. Modules cover customer profiling and behaviour, garment technology, critical path management and much more.

At the FRA, all of our courses are unique in that they offer hands-on experience during placement. The focus of our courses is to deliver relevant and practical training on the systems and processes you’ll use daily in your career as a merchandiser. You’ll learn about the key interfaces of a merchandising role, and who your stakeholders will be, as well as gaining a sound foundation of knowledge when it comes to KPIs and profits.

This helps to ease the transition between college and work, and creates well-rounded graduates who are ready to walk straight into job roles. In fact, our placements often lead to job offers, and currently, 85% of our merchandising graduates are now working in industry. 

To find out more about what to study with us here at the FRA, check out all of our degrees, diplomas and courses.