So if you follow me on twitter, you will most likely know that I have just completed a three week internship as a Merchandiser at Primark Head Office. I absolutely loved it and learnt so much in just three weeks. It has made me even more determined to work hard in my last year of Uni (I still can't believe I only have one year left but let's save that for another post!) to help me get a job as a Merchandiser once I finish.
When ever anyone would ask what I was dong on my placement, I would tell them I was doing Fashion Merchandising and 9 times out of 10 they would ask:
What's a Merchandiser?
I can see why this is a common question though as, growing up, when you think of studying fashion, fashion design instantly jumps to mind. The business side of fashion is rarely thought about and unless you are in the industry, it is probably not something you know much about.
So I thought that I would try to explain it a bit by writing about a typical day as Trainee Merchandiser. I use the word 'typical' very loosely because the tasks you do will differ day to day but the overall routine is pretty similar everyday.
8am: A Trainee Merchandiser's day will start anywhere between 7am (on a Monday) and 8:30am. On a Monday they will have to prepare everything ready for the Merchandiser's to write up notes for trade meetings, when they arrive to work. These notes will highlight key sales in the past week, any new items that have landed in the previous week, their forecasts and how that department performed overall during the past week. Tuesday - Friday, daily sales have to be completed before 9am. This shows how many sales your department made in that day.
10am: Between about 9am and 12am, a Trainee Merchandiser will then complete any tasks that need to be done urgently or as a priority for that day. This could be anything from Hotboxing products (Identifying which products need delivered to the depot urgently, ahead of other products being shipped at the same time and informing the supplier), Air Freights (Sorting out products that have to be flown to their destination, rather than shipped on a boat. This is usually done when a supplier is running late with orders or a product is needed quicker than expected) or Raising orders. This is when the Trainee Merchandiser will see what orders the Merchandiser has agreed should be placed and will then fill out a form for the Fashion Buyer to check.
2pm: After Lunch, a Trainee Merchandiser will then carry out any other tasks that needs completing. This could be a number of different things, including Commitment Checks, Updating Season Codes, Analysis of products, creating Planograms, Sorting out Transfers, Sales Analysis, Updating Line Cards or Grade Checking. All of these tasks ensure that products are selling as well as they should be, there is enough product to go out to the stores and every product is being sent to the correct stores. Analysing sales and products is a good way of seeing which products didn't work so well and which ones performed better than expected, so when they Buyers are planning a new range for the next season they know which products are likely to work and which ones they should not use again.
5.30pm: A working day is supposed to finish at 5.30pm, however when I was there hardly anyone would ever actually leave on time. They would be setting up anything needed for in the morning, especially on a Friday. This is because it can take a while to do and will save you coming in any earlier than you have to, which can only be a good thing!
So, that's it. I hope that covered quite a bit of what a Trainee Merchandiser does on a day to day basis. This is obviously just what I saw at Primark and other companies may allocate different tasks or call them different things, but in short, a Trainee Merchandiser has to ensure products are being delivered to the right places, at the right time to ensure maximum sales are made. I found it so interesting and it is definitely what I want to do once I finish Uni.
I hope you enjoyed this post and learnt something from it. Thanks for reading.