Although this profession is open to all graduates, a degree in the following subjects may increase your chances:
Many companies prefer to recruit graduates from business-related or maths-based degrees, but others will consider graduates from any discipline as long as they have the necessary skills.
This occupation is also open to all diplomates, but the following HND subjects may increase your chances:
Entry without a degree or HND is possible for candidates with other relevant qualifications or experience.
A postgraduate qualification is not needed, although there are relevant postgraduate courses available.
There are relatively few graduate training schemes for merchandising, although some retail management training schemes include merchandising as one of the specialist areas. Most graduates will need to apply directly for junior or entry-level posts, usually as an allocator, distributor or merchandise administrative assistant (MAA). It may also be useful to make speculative applications directly to the merchandising departments of major retailers.
Strong competition for vacancies means that pre-entry office-based work experience is often essential. In addition, work experience with one of the major high street retailers may help to demonstrate both an interest in retailing and an understanding of stock control levels, which can be advantageous at the application and interview stage.
Potential candidates will need to show evidence of the following:
A driving licence is also usually required.
When investigating merchandising vacancies, it is important to fully understand that particular organisation’s definition of the role, as the job description and work activities can vary greatly between companies.
It may be possible to start in a similar role, such as visual merchandising, and progress to the retail merchandise position. A visual merchandiser creates window and in-store displays in shops and department stores, taking responsibility for ‘the look’ of the store, with the aim of promoting goods in order to maximise sales.
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