Merchandise Manager Job Description

A Merchandise Manager is in control of the sourcing, purchasing and delivery of products within a retail environment. Specific duties for Merchandise Managers can vary slightly depending on the size of the company. Merchandise Managers at large companies are often in charge of a single department and have a team of Purchasing Agents that work under them. In a smaller company, Merchandise Managers wear all the departmental hats.

The role of Merchandise Manager is a management position. Employers typically prefer candidates with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, Merchandising, Marketing or a related field. The work environment of Merchandise Managers varies depending on the industry of their employer. Merchandise Managers for a supermarket chain spend a lot of time in supermarkets, while Merchandise Managers for a fashion brand spend a lot of time in that brand’s stores. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for Merchandise Managers is set to rise 1 percent through 2024.

 

Merchandise Manager Duties and Responsibilities

Merchandise Managers are responsible for all of the tasks involved with getting their employer’s product from the supplier and into their retail locations. Some of these tasks get delegated to their team of Purchasing Agents, but this varies depending on the size and industry of one’s employer. The following tasks were the most common among our research of Merchandise Manager job descriptions.

Develop and Maintain Vendor Relationships

Merchandise Managers are their employer’s representatives in communication with vendors. They are responsible for maintaining a positive working relationship with all vendors, as well as negotiating product and shipping prices.  They are also responsible for evaluating new vendors.

 Develop and Implement Visual Merchandising Strategy

Merchandise Managers are responsible for developing and implementing the visual strategy for displaying products. This involves creating Planograms, performing floor moves and delegating tasks to sales employees.

Maintain Inventory Management Records

Merchandise Managers keep track of their employer’s inventory supply. This involves proficiency with spreadsheets and basic accounting skills, as they must track trends in production and shipping costs.

Train Employees on Product Knowledge

No one knows more about the products a company sells than the Merchandise Managers. They’re responsible for understanding the features and benefits of a product, and then deciding whether said product would be a hot seller amongst their employer’s target audience.

 Analyze Sales Trends and Adjust Product Offering Accordingly

Merchandise Managers must constantly be analyzing Key Performance Indicators ( KPIs ) to see which products are generating the most revenue and which products are selling less than projected. They then use this data to adjust the offering of products accordingly.

 

Merchandise Manager Skills

Like any type of manager, Merchandise Managers must have the soft skills necessary to lead a team. They have to be the type of worker who can delegate tasks in a way that empowers, rather than demeans, their employees. Merchandise Managers also have to be visually orientated, as a big part of their job is making sure the products look aesthetically pleasing to customers. Merchandise Managers have to be able to switch between big-picture thinking and attention to the smallest detail, as both are required to successfully complete their jobs.

The following skills are the core skills Merchandise Managers use most.

Visual Merchandising Skills: Merchandise Managers know how to use the principles of retail psychology to arrange product in a way that enticed the customer to buy. How this skill is used varies slightly by industry. For example, Merchandise Managers in the fashion retail industry know how to visually merchandise clothing, while those who work in the supermarket industry know how to visually merchandise food.

Written and Verbal Communication Skills: Since one of their responsibilities is to maintain: relationships with vendors, Merchandise Managers must have written and verbal communication skills. This includes negotiation skills and the ability to write professional emails.

Organizational Skills: Merchandise Managers call upon their organizational skills to craft and implement floor plans. They also use their organizational skills to manage inventory and track products through the shipping process.

Decision Making Skills: Merchandise Managers, like any type of manager, have to be able to make decisions. These decisions involve which vendor to use, which products to sell and how to best arrange those products on the sales floor.

Analytical Skills: Merchandise Managers call upon their analytical skills to look at sales trends and larger industry trends to make informed decisions on which products to stock.

 

Merchandise Manager Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median salary for Merchandise Managers is $108,120. Those in the bottom 10 percent make below $60,830, while those in the top 10 percent make above $172,950. The top three states with the highest salaries for Merchandise Managers are Delaware at $140,900, Maryland at $128,800 and New Jersey at $126,000.

 

Merchandise Manager Educational Requirements

The role of Merchandise Manager is a management role for which employers typically want at least three years of experience. Employers also want candidates who have at least a Bachelor’s degree in Business, Merchandising, Management or a related field. One can also get their Masters in Business Administration (MBA) to make themselves more attractive in the job market.

During this course of study, aspiring Merchandise Managers learn the principles of business and marketing. They also learn the principles of retail psychology, which teaches them visual merchandising strategies proven to entice customers to make a purchase.

 

Merchandise Manager Resources

Are you interested in learning more about the world of Merchandising Managers? If so, then check out our resource list below.

American Purchasing Society - The American Purchasing Society is a professional organization for all of those who work in Purchasing. It offers a ton of benefits for members, which include seminars, certification courses and a regularly updated newsletter.

Institute for Supply Management – The Institute for Supply Management boasts over 60,000 members in 30 countries. Although its membership isn’t strictly made up of Merchandise Managers, there are hundreds among their ranks.

Next Level Purchasing – This blog is regularly updated with articles that cover a wide variety of topics related to purchasing. It has a fairly extensive articles with a good amount of content relevant to Merchandise Managers.

ProcurementLeaders.com – This blog is a great resource for anyone who works in the procurement industry. It is a great place for Merchandise Managers to stay on top of general industry trends.

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