Advertising moves people toward goods; merchandising moves goods towards people.

Morris Hite

What is Merchandising?

You will find many definitions of merchandising by searching google, primarily relating to in-store or brick and mortar retail merchandising:

Shopify:

Everything you do to promote and sell your products once the potential customer is in your store. When we talk about merchandise, we are talking about products available for sale, typically in a retail setting.

The Retail Doc:

Covers everything from how you visually arrange your merchandise to the traffic patterns in your store, how you display items to promote add-on sales, to signage, and for apparel retailers – the power of the fitting room.

The Art Institutes:

The science of making sure that you have the right goods available at the right price, time, and amount, in exactly the right places.

Merriam-Webster:

Sales promotion as a comprehensive function including market research, development of new products, coordination of manufacture and marketing, and effective advertising and selling.

What Is Merchandising?

Merchandising is having the right products (at the right time), at the right price, at the right place, with the right promotion, with the right people.

During my undergraduate studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), merchandising was defined as having the right products (at the right time), at the right price, at the right place, with the right promotion, with the right people.  Also called the 5 P’s of Merchandising or the 5 P’s of Marketing.

After 12+ years later of working in the retail industry, this high level definition absolutely still applies today.  Because of enhancements of technology and the rapid emergence (more like hostile takeover) of e-commerce shopping, the strategies involved in executing each area of merchandising are ever evolving.

The role of a merchant (also known as a buyer) is to forecast consumer demand, and then strategically transform that demand into a product assortment that simultaneously satisfies the consumer and maximizes sales and margin.

The 5 P’s of Merchandising:

Product

Product is the good or service that you are selling.  Your product assortment is the core of your business operations and has the biggest impact on both your sales and margin.   Product design and sourcing should be happening constantly to ensure you are in front of the emerging trends, that you have the opportunity to create your own trends, and to ensure you always have a well-rounded assortment.  Trade shows are an amazing resource for finding new fabrics, trends, products, vendors, and for evaluating the pulse of your industry.  (Click here to see the 2019 Fashion Trade Shows that should be on your calendar).

 

Price

Price is the dollar amount you sell your goods or services for.  Because of the elasticity of e-commerce retail, having a comprehensive and competitive pricing strategy is more important than ever before.  Your pricing tells potential customers your target demographic, what brands you are positioning yourself against, and the level of quality they should expect.

 

Place

Place is where your goods or services are manufactured, distributed, visible to potential customers, and sold.  Your products must be placed in all of the spaces your target market shops, lives, dines, works, and plays.  Your brand positioning will help guide you on what places are aligned with your brand’s aesthetic and mission.

 

Promotion

Promotion is the strategy you utilize to increase brand awareness, correlating to increased sales.  Examples of promotion include social media, advertising, public relations, events, and direct marketing.  There are people around the world who will fall in love with your products, and promotion exists to reach them, intrigue them, and convert them into customers for life.

 

People

People refers to all individuals and companies involved in your business operations.  This includes your staff, vendors, contractors, and customers.  The experience inside your organization has a direct impact on the external customer experience.  Our staff are our internal customers, and as a leader, a big portion of my role is people management.  Your collective output as a company is only as effective and rewarding as the more and productivity levels of each team member.

Click here to hire a Merchandising Consultant to drive results for your brand or boutique.

Or click here to schedule a FREE call with us to discuss how we can help drive your business.

What does a Merchandiser do?

Contrary to the majority of business coaches and strategists, Merchandising Companies focus on product first.

This is best illustrated by a common issue we see:

Question from a brand in a Facebook group: I get quite a lot of traffic to my e-commerce store, but not enough conversions.
Answer from a digital marketer:  You need to advertise more.  Have you tried social media ads?  Do you have sales funnels in place?  Do you have an email list?
Answer from a Merchandising Consultant from The Affinity Group International: Are your products actually what your customers want?  Are your products competitively priced and have quick order turnaround times? Is your site easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing? Do all of your products have extensive attributes and multiple angle shots?

See the difference?  As a product-based business, merchandising should be at the core of everything you do and every decision that you make.

Click here to hire a Merchandising Strategist to drive tangible results for your brand or boutique.
Prefer to chat one on one? Click here to schedule a FREE call with us to discuss how we can help drive your business.

How can merchandising help my brand?

Here are some questions a Merchandiser can help answer:

  • How do I price my products?
  • How can I see sku efficiency or sku profitability?
  • How do I create financial plans for my products?
  • How can I expand my line?
  • Do I have the right merchandise?
  • What trade shows should I exhibit in?
  • How do I create a pop up shop?
  • How can I bridge the gap between my design and production teams?
  • I need a merchandiser.
  • I need to ensure we are designing the right items.
  • I need a branding overhaul.
  • How can I get my products into stores?
  • What do I bring to vend at a market?
  • I need help transitioning from a mom and pop operation to a medium sized operation.
  • Tell me how to sell at wholesale.
  • How can I improve my inventory management strategy?
Click here to hire a Merchandising Strategist to ensure your brand is ready to sell at wholesale with products that are maximized for margin, style, and customer appeal – and to ensure that you reach your target customers who are ready to buy.

How can merchandising help my boutique?

Here are some questions a Merchandiser can help answer:

  • How can I increase traffic to my store?
  • Are my products priced right?
  • How can I determine my sales per square foot?
  • How can I compete with Amazon?
  • How can I see sku efficiency or sku profitability?
  • How do I create financial plans for my products?
  • How can I find the right merchandise to carry in my store?
  • What trade shows and apparel markets should I attend?
  • How can I improve my customer service?
  • How do I create a pop up shop or in store events?
  • I need a merchandiser.
  • I need to ensure I am buying the right items, in the right quantity, at the right price for my store.
  • I need a branding overhaul.
  • How can I host a local market?
  • I want to partner with local brands.
  • I need help with visual merchandising.
  • I need help transitioning from a mom and pop operation to a medium sized operation.
Click here to hire a Retail Merchandising Consultant to ensure your boutique or e-commerce store has products that are on trend, priced to maximize margin, has visual merchandising that entices and converts, and to ensure that you are drawing in your target customers every second of every day.

How can merchandising help me?  I’m a start up.

Here are some questions a Merchandiser can help answer:

  • How can I open a boutique?
  • How can I find the right merchandise to carry in my store?
  • What trade shows and apparel markets should I attend?
  • How do I figure out my buying strategy?
  • How do I create a pop up shop?
  • What are some industry trends?
  • How can I open a store?
  • Tell me how to buy wholesale.
  • I need a merchandise management company.
  • What are some great inventory management techniques?
  • How do I train my sales staff?
  • I need to define my target customer.
  • How should I merchandise my store?
  • Can you do a comprehensive website review?
  • How do I figure out my website taxonomy and hierarchy?
Click here to hire a Merchandising Strategist to ensure you will have a successful launch through strategically planning every aspect of your brand or store operations.

If you’re thinking “Where have we been all your life”, click here to hire a Merchandising Consultant to drive results for your brand or boutique!

Prefer to chat one on one? We’re only a call way.  Click here to schedule a FREE call with us to discuss how we can help drive your business.

DeAnna McIntosh, Chief Global Strategist at The Affinity Group International, is a driven, entrepreneurial, and creative brand strategist with a strong eye for design, and over 13 years of progressive experience in merchandising, marketing, and event management. Her proven results as a strategist for numerous Fortune ranking retailers will drive tangible growth for your business from day one.

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