Fashion Merchandising and Merchandiser: Principle and Roles

Fashion Merchandising and Merchandiser

Shubham Anil Jain
Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited
Bangalore, India


At current, the garment industries are considered as a major potential source of foreign exchange in the domestic economy. Because, it is analyzed that the huge part of the country’s export income generates from the apparel industries. And here, fashion merchandising plays a critical role. Fashion merchandising is generally defined as a wide range of activities that sum up to the process of getting garments, shoes and accessories from the original design to the final consumer. People having fashion merchandising degree can work in a variety of jobs, such as a fashion buyer, visual designer, trend forecaster, or store-based sales and service representative.

fashion merchandising

Fashion Merchandising Process Flow Chart:

Range development

Fashion forecasting

Design development

Sample development


Production planning



Above steps of fashion merchandising are described below:

1. Range development:
It is a kind of collection of fashion manufacturer’s product or designing a product by collaboration of designer, fashion merchandiser, production manager and other assistances.

2. Fashion forecasting:
Fashion forecasting is nothing but the prediction of future. It is new design or trend that generally developed by designer, buyer and merchandiser. Retailer also plays important role in fashion forecasting because he is only person, who is in contact with consumers and survey the customer needs.

3. Design development:
Designers play a crucial role in design development process, as they are the creators of the fashion design product. By studying the report (forecasting) they will illustrate many styles. While designing, principles and elements of design are considered as the key factors.

4. Sample development:
Creating sample is the next stage of design development. Initially in this stage, pattern is made in sample size by using draping or drafting technique. After the pattern is made, the sample garments are prepared by well experienced tailor. Then it is judged for its fit and comfort.

5. Sourcing:
After sample development, the sourcing department focuses on purchasing the requirements of the product required for bulk production. The sourcing department basically comes under fashion merchandiser or buyer’s team or Buyer.

6. Production planning:
After the sample approval, the planning of bulk production takes place. Before going for bulk production the merchandisers have to calculate the sales, planning the stock & purchasing and also have to go for assortment planning. Sometimes, it is also known as merchandise planning.

7. Buying:
Once the sample development and merchandise planning is done, the next focus is on buying. The buying process is followed out by buyer or retail merchandiser who generally deals with big retail brands. They may buy goods directly the from the manufacturer or supplier or through the buying offices or agents. In both case, buying and retailing the buyer has more responsibilities.

8. Distribution:
After receiving the products from the manufacturer, there is an inspection process like checking of quantity, quality, color etc. Then the distribution of goods to various retail branches takes place.

Principle of Fashion Merchandising:
To do great in fashion merchandising, there are majorly three key principles: Must have the right merchandise available at the right time and at the right price. With this practice, it is possible to understand which products consumers want; when, where, and how they make purchases; and what prices will create the highest demand. Due to this, fashion merchandising not only allows one to reach the anticipated sales goals but also to deliver an excellent experience for the customers.

Principle 1: The Right Merchandise and Quantity
Creating a valuable shopping experience for customers makes them more likely to purchase. One of the most innovative ways to do this is getting to know your customers preferences and styles. When you understand their taste, one can create and design the right products through a customized shopping journey. In addition to focusing on the relevance of products, think about the quantity of merchandise too. As we know that, fashion trends keeps on changing depending on the season, and fashion cycles are often found to be short. Successful brands and retailers know this and use this knowledge to predict and plan in advance the type and quantity of merchandise they should keep in stock, as well as how to present these products effectively to their customers.

Principle 2: The Right Time and Place
As fashion has very short life cycle, so this has to be considered by the fashion merchandiser. According to the appropriate season trends and time, the products should be launched and sell. Use all the elements of design to make the brand more attractive and appealing to the customers. Along with the time, place also plays an important role. Either the product is selling in normal shops, big shopping malls, or through online, etc also has effect on selling.

Principle 3: The Right Price
Finally, the last important principle to consider for effective fashion merchandising is price of the product. Pricing is very basic and important consideration regardless of the category of customer you’re targeting. According to research study, it is found that 60% of customers consider the price first when they are shopping. Brands and retailers need to pay attention towards the margin required for a given product, while determining the perceived value of that product to consumers. Reasonable pricing strategy can increase the sales so it’s crucial to finalize just the right amount to charge.

right price in fashion merchandising

Fashion Merchandiser:
Fashion merchandisers are involved in all particulars of the fashion merchandising process, starting from designing to sales. Because of their advertising and marketing skills they are very creative and imaginative in their work.

Common tasks of merchandiser includes predicting market trends, overseeing production costs, managing sales, making revenue estimates, and finalizing the textiles. Even it is found that, many fashion merchandisers are specialized in retail settings, or floor displays and in set-up of various layout as sales and service representatives.

Due to the growth of fashion industry, various fashion merchandising fields currently exist. Each job offers a unique source of income. Fashion merchandisers have an opportunity to become a agents or store managers for fashion advertising. Expanding it, its other areas include fashion event planning, fashion product development, fashion retail location, window dressing and fashion promotion.

According to statistics, growth in employment of fashion merchandising has increased by about 7 percent from 2010 and 2020. Also, many of the fashion schools has forecasted that advertising, marketing and sales are expected to be the best earning opportunities for a fashion merchandising career. Their pay varies greatly by choice of location, skills and qualifications.

Roles of Fashion Merchandiser:

  1. To develop the product and transfer them from designer and manufacturer to customer hands.
  2. Highlights fashion products and accessories in very appealing and eye catching manner to attract customers.
  3. Look for good marketing strategies to increase sales. This is very important role of fashion merchandiser.
  4. Predict changing market trends, observe the sales over a period, oversee production costs and develop income projections for industry.
  5. Always try to enhance income projection through efficient advertising campaigns.
  6. Implement Company Merchandising Strategy for buying of Merchandise and product.
  7. Integrate and interpret their Brand Partners procurement plans to deliver and preserve brand identity.
  8. Manage creation of fashion store and visual displays.
  9. Implement strategies of profit planning for each brand, managing different profit parameters to achieve business and sales plan objectives for sales and profitability of company.
  10. Enhance overall merchandising concept for sport division and carry concept into right merchandise direction to suit target market.

Nowadays, fashion merchandising has become has become of great importance and is a dynamic field that requires skilled managers to show the latest products and trends to an increasingly fashion-conscious buying people. Simply, fashion merchandising is considered as one part art and one part business. Because of this dynamic combination, makes every day on the job different than the last. So, overall merchandising positions throughout a company could manage designing the brand story and implementing it throughout the diverse fields of the company.


  1. Fashion Marketing Management by A. Arunraj and V. Ramesh Babu
  2. Role of Fashion Merchandising in Apparel Industry,
  3. Hebrero, Miguel (2015-10-15). Fashion Buying and Merchandising: From mass-market to luxury retail. Printed in the USA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 9781517632946.
  4. Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. “Exciting Careers in Fashion Merchandising & Marketing Await!”. Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  5. Demystifying Fashion Merchandising: What It Is, Key Principles, and Best Practices,
  6. Fashion Merchandiser Responsibilities and Duties,

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