Merchandising: Role & Responsibility of an apparel merchandiser

The activity of trying to sell goods or services by advertising them or displaying them attractively.
According to American Marketing Association, merchandising encompasses “planning involved in marketing the right merchandise or service at the right place, at the right time, in the right quantities, and at the right price.”
The planning and promotion of sales by presenting a product to the right market at the proper time, by carrying out organized, skillful advertising, using attractive displays, etc.
Merchandising is executing an order from receiving to shipment through proper following-up the in-between processes.
The process of identifying and understanding what target customers want and providing their desired textile products to them in a certain price and lead-time by making a communication bridge between the customer and the company. 
So merchandising process involve of at least three parties: 
  1. Company/Supplier/Vendor: who are making the products for buyers. 
  2. Customer/Buyer: Who place the order to the vendors or who are targeted by company with the help of merchandiser. 
  3. Merchandiser: merchandiser places his position between the above two parties.

Merchandising Teams:

Merchandising can be structured in numerous ways but more commonly, it is structured on the basis of –
1. Customers 
2. Products 
3. Geography

On the Basis of Customers: 

Merchandisers are supposed to retain the customers and they are their representatives, so the division based on customers is very logical from this point of view. 
  • Merchandiser A: taking care of “IKEA” 
  • Merchandiser B: Taking care of “WALMART” 
  • Merchandiser C: Taking care of “LI &FUNGs” 
  • Merchandiser D: Taking care of “TESCO”

On the basis of Products:

  • Yarn Team,
  • Fabric Team,
  • Production Execution Team. 
  • Kids wear Team,
  • Girls Wear Team,
  • Boys wear Team, 
  • Ladies wear Team,
  • Mens wear Team,
  • etc.

On the basis of Geography:

  • European Buyers’ Team,
  • USA Buyers’ Team,
  • Asian Buyers’ Team,
  • etc.

Merchandising Functions?

  • Study of fashion trend and fashion forecast in association with fashion designer; 
  • Studying potential target customer; 
  • Sourcing information about the customer and his profile; 
  • Sourcing information about the product, its categories, styles, specifications, assortments, size details etc. ; 
  • Sourcing foreign buyer; 
  • Negotiating orders, cost calculation, pricing, securing orders through master LC; 
  • Sourcing fabrics, trims and accessories; 
  • Placing order for the fabrics, trims and accessories materials and making regular follow-up; 
  • Getting samples made, making costing and pricing of the same; 
  • Rectifying samples if necessary; 
  • Completing the whole sampling procedure as per customer requirement; 
  • Getting buyer approval of the sample; 
  • Estimating lead time; 
  • Production and shipment planning; 
  • Keeping track of raw material arrival, production cycle, and organizing inspections;
  • Monitoring production and product quality; 
  • Making regular liaison with the customer and keeping him update on order & production status; 
  • Follow up of customer instruction in respect of packing and packaging; 
  • Arranging product delivery on time; 
  • Follow up with the customer in respect of shipment and informing him shipment details; 
  • Coordinate with shipping/ export department; 
  • Arranging payment against export order; 
  • Quick response follow up in respect of any of the buyer’s query. 

Role and Responsibility of Merchandiser?

  • Securing order, sourcing materials and constant follow-up with the customer; 
  • Coordinate with all the concerned departments of manufacturing factory, supplier organization and the buyer. 
  • Needs to cut a balance between quality, lead time, delivery schedule and price of the merchandise; 
  • Organize the purchase of materials, follow-up of production, costing, quality & delivery schedule under tight deadlines.

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