Fashion buying and merchandising are two roles that are associated with each other. They consist of purchasing, merchandising, and setting up the store — in a way that's highly enticing for the customers. Both of these jobs are excellent career choices for someone who enjoys fashion and retail like no other. While both the jobs may share certain similarities, fashion buying and merchandising have subtle differences that you must understand to make better career choices.
Fashion buying encompasses all work, including searching for vendors and suppliers, identifying the merchandise needed, and buying the merchandise to sell in your stores. A fashion buyer has the responsibility of selecting all the merchandise including clothes and accessories so that their customers can buy those products from their stores.
As a fashion buyer, you must always remain aware of the trends in the fashion industry to keep your collection updated. You must properly choose the merchandise that reflects the theme of your store. Apart from all these roles, you must also take care of the logistics and supply chain to make sure that you get the items from the suppliers in time.
While fashion buying involves everything from choosing merchandise to managing logistics, fashion merchandising involves the arrangement of the store's environment. The set-up of a store's environment is of utmost importance as it has a major impact on customers' choices. You, as a fashion merchandiser, must create an atmosphere that gives upbeat vibes to the customers.
When compared to the role of the fashion buyer, the role of a fashion merchandiser is a little fast-paced as the job demands you to make changes in the set-up of your store according to current trends. You are also responsible for looking after the allocation of places to various items and keeping the store fully stocked all the time.
Using aesthetics and music to give clear and good vibes to customers makes them stay a bit longer, thereby influencing them to buy more; such things are included in the role of fashion merchandising.
The duties of fashion merchandising and buying overlap at times; however, both jobs can't be fulfilled by a single person. It depends on the company or the store to either employ different or same individuals for both roles. It is obvious that when two people are allotted two different roles, they can focus and commit better to their work.
The fashion merchandiser must be in contact with the marketing and sales department to understand customer psychology and work accordingly to promote sales. In comparison, the fashion buyer needs to be in contact with fashion experts and designers to keep themselves updated about the trends in the fashion industry.
Here are some differences in the skills that are required for careers in fashion buying and merchandising.
It is obvious that you, as a fashion designer, must have strong mathematical skills as you are required to make purchases of merchandise that will be profitable enough for your store.
You must have some skills to analyze to ensure that the pricing of the retailers is according to the customer's budget. The merchandise in your store must be according to the type of customer you want to target, as high-end products may not attract many customers, and extremely low-quality merchandise may shoo away customers who look for quality products.
As a fashion buyer, you must possess the skill to communicate with others efficiently and pass over the information you want to give to others without ambiguity. It also means that you have to work with people such as store managers, manufacturers, and vendors.
Lastly, to become an efficient fashion buyer, you must possess great management skills like the skill to negotiate and time management.
Having spatial awareness to set up the store's environment is a crucial factor that determines the flow of the customers into the stores.
Both marketing and interior designing skills are necessary to create an ideal shopping environment for the customers, which gives positive shopping experiences to the customers.
As a fashion merchandiser, you must have some knowledge about the country's demography to know your customers better. The demography matters as it enables the fashion merchandiser to know about the major shoppers from a population and allows them to know about the thoughts of the majority of customers.
Both the job roles don't require a college education; however, pursuing a degree in fashion or business may increase your credibility to work with these job roles. The qualifications needed to apply for both jobs depend completely on the company. Work experience is another factor that may increase your probability of getting selected for these roles.
If you have great time management skills and you can handle the bigger picture, the role of a fashion buyer could be suitable for you. However, you may opt for the role of fashion merchandiser if you would want to manage the saleability of the store; that way, you will be responsible for planning and handling the aesthetics, decor, and ambiance, along with the sales of your fashion products.
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