Those interested in working in merchandise display fields should find out how much the positions pay and what are some of the qualifications to work in the field. This article covers the merchandiser job description, skills, work hours, and more.
The products that shoppers see out on display are the result of the hard work that merchandisers do. Merchandisers are the ones who stock new products, decide what products to order, and determine the best way to display those products on shelves, in windows, and in other parts of the store. They also use signs and decide on which promotions to use to entice shoppers to spend more money.
Job Overview: What Does a Merchandiser Do?
Merchandisers are the ones who set out new displays in stores and create promotions designed to draw in customers. They can also help stores and managers decide which items to order based on current market trends, as well as the coming season. They need strong artistic skills and can win either an annual salary or an hourly one from their employers.
Merchandiser Job Duties
- Use different types of signage as a way to inform customers of upcoming sales and promotions.
- Create displays around the store and in shop windows to catch the attention of shoppers.
- Teach techniques and methods to new and existing workers on how to sell products.
- Come up with new training methods and materials for sales staff.
- Keep an eye on market trends to determine what products customers want.
- Talk to managers and shops about what to order for the upcoming season.
- Maintain an inventory of products to meet the needs of customers.
- Give staff tips on how to best display merchandise.
- Share information about trends with distributors and suppliers.
- Negotiate on behalf of the store to bring costs down.
Merchandiser Job Essential Skills
Stamina. The merchandiser job description makes a note of the fact that these people often work for two or more shops in the same chain, and spend a lot of time on their feet or driving around each day.
Working independently. Professionals working for store chains must drive from shop to shop, set up displays, train employees, and do other tasks. They need to know how to work independently and with little to no supervision.
Communication skills. Communicating with others is an important part of the job. In addition to training new employees on the job, merchandisers also need to express their thoughts and talk about the information they found with store and district managers.
Becoming a Merchandiser
Most merchandiser job description entries call for people with two or more years of experience. While there are some online programs that provide job hunters with merchandising credentials, this is not a requirement for the job. The main requirement for working as a merchandiser is some customer service experience, but some employers look for good artistic skills too.
Qualifications and Training
The competition for entry-level merchandiser positions is quite high, and there are often far more applicants than there are jobs available. It’s often helpful for applicants to go to college and study both art and business. Business courses teach students how companies operate, and how to communicate with managers and other employees, while art classes can help them create stunning displays that bring in customers.
Online credential programs teach students how to create displays, the types of promotions that appeal to customers, and some of the other skills that merchandisers need. These programs typically charge a small fee that is cheaper than going to college, but some of them are scams that will not help students find jobs. Merchandisers do not need to continue their education beyond the bachelor’s degree level, but they will need to do some on-the-job training to learn the regulations and requirements used by individual stores and companies.
Since the competition for these jobs is so high, it’s extremely difficult to land a job without some experience. Most of the open positions found online are only open to those with several years of experience, and many employers will not even interview applicants who lack that experience.
One way to get more experience is with retail jobs such as working as a cashier. Cashiers learn to interact with employees and talk to them to find out what they want or need. Those interested in merchandising jobs can also gain some experience via a college internship in a local retail store.
Merchandisers often work late at night or early in the day instead of in the middle of the day. Stores do not want to set up new displays or advertise sales during open hours, because those displays and promotions will get in the way of people shopping. Merchandisers typically come in on Saturday nights to set up sales for the upcoming week. They can also create displays and put up sale signs first thing in the morning.
Most stores require that merchandisers work a full-time schedule of at least 40 hours a week. Some may work in more than one store and spend time on the road.
Job Outlook and Advancement Opportunities
One reason why some people want to work as merchandisers is because they want to work in marketing. This can be a stepping stone that helps workers segue into working as marketing specialists and in other similar fields. A small number of people work as shop clerks and handle the merchandising of the shop on a part-time basis, because the store cannot afford full-time help.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for window trimmers and merchandise displayers is $14.47, but the BLS found that the average annual salary is just over $30,000 a year. The top 10% of merchandisers earn more than $47,000 a year and include those who work in multiple stores.
PayScale puts the total salary that merchandisers earn at between $20,017 and $46,582 per year. These numbers includes the commissions and bonuses that workers can earn. Some shops give merchandisers a bonus or commission when sales rise thanks to their work.
Merchandisers have the option of working for a single store or for a store chain, and traveling to different stores in that chain daily or weekly. They create displays designed to inform shoppers of new products, including those located on the end caps of aisles and those near the front of the store. The merchandiser job description includes customer service experience. It is also useful if you’ve studied art and business in college. Though the average salary is low, merchandisers can earn extra through bonuses and commissions.