2.1 The role of a merchandiser

For a business plan to come into fruition, merchandising is the next step.


Put simply, merchandising is analysing the past and present performance of sales to project demand for the future. In other words, it’s getting the right product, at the right price, with the right quantity, at the right place and time.


Across the industry, you’ll hear other terms like assortment planning or demand planning – but don’t worry, they all mean the same thing. Merchandisers, as the name already suggests, are primarily in charge of this role. However, employees in smaller companies typically share this role with Buyers due to limited resources.


As a merchandiser, typical day-to-day includes:

  • Achieves annual sales forecast plan by estimating monthly sales and planning stock levels
  • Works closely with buyers on assortment planning (width and depth) to meet buying budget, margin target and price positioning
  • Conducts periodic tracking and analyses in-season sales performance for the reactive course of actions and effective inventory management
  • Plans timing for seasonal and newness launches
  • Plans for promotion and sales


However, for this particular chapter, we’ll be focusing on assortment building and sales forecasting which comprises of the following 4 steps:


  1. Review last year’s lessons
  2. Conduct comparison shopping
  3. Building a price architecture
  4. Sales forecasting