A Comprehensive Overview of Buying & Merchandising Within the World of Fashion

Merchandisers and buyers generate interest in new styles and products, promote latest trends and help people connect to the world of fashion

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By Avi Keswani


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So, you too love fashion and shopping? As a shopper, we probably don't realize the influence the merchandising strategy has on our buying decisions. Everything we see inside our favorite shops, from the visual displays and signage to mannequins' attire and placement, to the balance of coordinating outfits and the organization of every single piece of apparel and product on a store's floor, is all carefully planned by the store's merchandising team for the ideal fashion consumer experience. As of course, once the merchandise is purchased and delivered to the store, it also has to be artfully organized and marketed. Thus, strategy and fashion marketing are an integral part of fashion merchandising.

Picture yourself walking into your favorite store or boutique and seeing a beautiful display of brand new merchandise, with carefully folded clothes, colorful signage, and cute props. The display invites you into the store, draws your attention to key items, and maybe even convinces you to splurge your latest paycheck on the season's hottest merchandise. Well, don't be too hard on yourself for feeling that way. All of this has been carefully planned by experts who have studied the art of fashion merchandising, called as merchandiser.

To successfully merchandise a fashion retailer, whether it's a small boutique or major departmental store, it requires a proactive fashion representative, who is always up-to-date on the latest fashion trends, to understand what consumers want to buy. A fashion merchandiser regularly attends fashion trade shows and fashion runway shows to keep abreast with latest trends, and also works closely with fashion designers to understand what could be popular with shoppers.

We often find the buying and merchandising teams serve as liaisons between various other representatives within a fashion company, like the marketing team or store's sales representatives. Depending on the size of the company, a fashion merchandiser's role can span a range of responsibilities. Fashion merchandise representatives who are on the buying team apply their knowledge of fashion trends to purchase merchandise that are profitable and popular with shoppers. Fashion merchandising jobs require a balance of savvy fashion sense and business expertise, and the ability to work within a specific budget, negotiate with manufacturing representatives to set prices to ensure profitable margins.

Merchandising is an Essential Member of Fashion Industry

Merchandisers play a vital role in developing new fashion trends and make them available to the public. According to a report, fashion has always been a major investment in many countries including India. Fashion is an international field with a global value of $1.2 trillion. Fashion related careers are pervasive, providing a comfortable living for umpteen. You will often find a fashion merchandiser engaged in-

· Researching current fashion trends and predicting what may be popular in the future

· Attending fashion shows

· Creating advertising and marketing campaigns

· Developing a budget and making sure that everyone stays within it

· Negotiating with manufacturers and suppliers

· Pricing clothing and other fashion accessories

· Researching customer demographics to determine how to market them

· Coordinate efforts with sales, design, and merchandise planning teams

Buying is a Specialization in the Merchandising Field

Professional buyers purchase wholesale goods for retail establishments. The primary focus in fashion buying is to choose the clothing and accessories that will go into the store. This duty is sometimes incorporated into the merchandising, and the two collaborate to make buying decisions. Buyer too has to stay current on the latest fashion trends to decide what customers want to buy. A fashion buyer needs a clear understanding of what type of merchandise the store wants. This requires the analysis of the typical customer, as well as fashion trends and style. Fashion buying also involves tracking the store's budget, clothing quality, and price.

There is a business side of buying and one need to have an analytical part of them to be a good buyer, but for that one doesn't have to study business, practical experience is good. So people should try out what they love- a buyer or a merchandiser go for it, go work a retail job, go intern during the summer, that brings experience.

Thus we can say, merchandisers and buyers generate interest in new styles and products. They promote latest trends and help people connect to the world of fashion. In the past few decades fashion has undergone rapid changes, credit goes to the merchandisers and buyers who are innovative enough to understand good clothing and have the ability to sell it to the public.

Avi Keswani

Co-founder and Director, LISAA School of Design (Managed by CREO Valley)

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