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How do You Define Merchandising Management?

By Tim Malone

Posted on January 6, 2009

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Merchandising has evolved to become so much more than the buying and selling of products. Today no product should be purchased without a good idea to whom it will be sold… and when. . .

  

Today, forecasting customer desires and building assortments of products that address underserved market offerings are critical to the success of every retail jewelry store. Underserved in the since that the customer demand for the product is greater than the sum total inventory across any given marketplace. Stocking undifferentiated products is killing the profit margin of so many retailer jewelers today. Key point … Too often jewelry fashion features are not marketed or sold to warrant distinguishable comparison and specific preference from shoppers. So merchandising managers must have the know-how to find the merchandise, determine the price, and present the merchandise in the store environment most desired by jewelry buying customers attracted to their store … while selecting an assortment that can be effectively presented, demonstrated and sold by the company’s current sales staff. Can we all agree that the days of buying what the merchandising manager may personally prefer in jewelry are basically over? Taking a customer oriented approach means buying what the customers are most likely to want to purchase.

 

Today’s retail jewelry shopping experience must be more than just browsing showcases full of sparkling products pumped up by bright lights and salespeople looking for the quickest path to a sale. In fact, a jewelry store’s retail shopping experience needs to be a carefully calculated and evolving scenario drawing from precedents established by successful fashion, accessories and jewelry stores. Yes, we need to start with fashion.

 

Jewelry stores are in the fashion business … like it or not. What jewelers need to keep in mind when buying product is that the concept of fashion is based on prevailing styles and design expressions that are currently popular with the store’s customer base. Key point … fashion is not defined by the reality of one individual (the buyer who only buys what they like), but rather the collective attitudes and fashion opinions of the store’s customer base and shoppers attracted to the store. So a jeweler’s approach to merchandising must begin with jewelry that is perceived by targeted shoppers and loyal customers as being aesthetically appealing- today. The tough part comes in knowing how to prepare for the inevitable and omnipresence of buyer preference changes in fashion, style and design and how changing buyer preference will affect buyer demand for current inventory assortment based on current pricing. Jewelry is a luxury purchase or at least a non-basic purchase, which is so opposite of basic goods. Knowing the fashion features of one’s jewelry inventory and how to communicate this to prospective customers as stimuli to motive buyer behavior is an absolute requirement for any jewelry company wanting to gain control of their inventory and create sustainable competitive advantage and improve their financial performance.

 

So what is merchandising management? It is an integrated approach to inventory assortment offerings, marketing communications and selling. Don’t limit your approach to inventory selection and pricing issues only. It takes all three; effective merchandising, marketing and sales to create a highly desired customer experience. An integrative approach will help create the right management vision to address aged inventory, stock balancing, pricing strategies, vendor performance, assortment planning, product selection for purchase and repurchase, managing gross margin return on investment and increasing product turnover. Adopt an approach to solve your merchandising challenges by taking an integrated approach to managing resources and creating emotional connectivity with your company, brand and jewelry products. Each month this article will take another step closer to showing readers just how to do this.

 

What to do now? Begin by creating your own definition of merchandising management. Go back through this article to make sure each important component that makes merchandising managers effective in today’s highly competitive marketplaces are included in your own definition. 

Now post your own comments regarding how you define Merchandising Management or offer a question if you have one.

 

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