There is a very fine line marking the difference between fashion merchandising and fashion buying. Retail stores in the fashion industry depend on keeping the latest styles in stock at all times. Fashion buying and merchandising are the two primary roles in establishing a store full of clothing and accessories that meet the demands of customers. The two jobs are correlated and have some similar duties, with some employers choosing to combine the duties into one position, but there are subtle differences in the jobs. Let’s dive deeper into the world of fashion merchandising and fashion buying.
Fashion merchandising is meant to create a positive store experience that appeals to the store’s customers. The merchandiser’s main focus is how to set up items in the store, but they also sometimes select the items that are available in the store. The way the store is set up affects the flow of the customers walking through the store, and it shows which items are highlighted through notable displays. Overall the goal of a fashion merchandiser is to meet the needs of all its customers while increasing sales for the business.
The primary focus of the fashion buyer, on the other hand, is to choose the products that will go into the store. While the two jobs may collaborate with each other to make buying decisions, it’s the buyers job to stay current on the latest fashion trends so they can decide on what customers want to buy next. Once he/she picks which products are ideal for their specific store, they then order and track the merchandise as it’s shipped from the supplier.
Now that we’ve looked into the jobs of the merchandiser and the buyer, let’s take a look at the skills needed to make sure the job gets done correctly and efficiently. Merchandisers need both fashion and business skills to succeed. They need a good understanding of the target demographic and what they want to see when they enter the store. More importantly, they need to know how to display items to make them more appealing so they can increase sales. The fashion knowledge helps them decide which pieces to highlight throughout the displays. Since they have to setup the layout for the store, some aspects of marketing might possibly be included in the job description.
While the merchandiser needs to have a better business and marketing understanding, the buyer needs a clear understanding of the type of merchandise the store and its customers want. They need the mathematical skillset to analyze the typical customer, fashion trends and to buy within the store’s budget to supply the store with products that fit the customer’s desired price range. The buyer works with a variety of people, including the merchandiser, store management, and also the clothing suppliers. Since they have to deal with the suppliers, the buyer should have some business knowledge to negotiate prices and ensure the items are shipped properly and on time.
As we have explored, the jobs of both the merchandiser and the buyer are both extremely important. Each plays a major role in the success of the store they are working for. While their jobs are very similar, they each have their own tasks that are necessary to make their store successful. Even though you can combine both jobs into one position, the best practice is to separate the two to make sure everything gets done efficiently and effectively.