Merchandise planners are in charge of developing effective merchandise strategies for their company. They are responsible for creating sound financial plans that reduce company spending, and increase overall profit. They review forecasts, use past performance to make projections, make recommendations for promotional markdowns, and manage inventory to maximize profitability. Additionally, merchandise planners research market trends to increase create more attractive offerings.
Most of the time, merchandise planners act as a liaison between the corporate planning office and the buying office within their company. They also project gross margin, inventory goals, and sales trends, as well as analyze sales, inventory flow, and merchandise strategies. Using this data, they prepare monthly estimates and present their progress to the manager or president in their department. They also attend regular staff meetings to update forecasts and receive input from other members and executives.
A bachelor's degree in marketing, business planning, or a related field is required for this position. In addition, previous experience in a planning capacity may be preferred. To be successful in this field, merchandise planners must be results-oriented individuals with strong interpersonal skills to develop excellent relationships with vendors and external business partners. They must be able to work with other planners to reach all company objectives, as well as work well independently to meet strict deadlines. Merchandise planners must also have extensive knowledge of products and their capabilities while working with suppliers to negotiate terms and cost.
Merchandise Planner Tasks
- Track the level of inventory compared to the number of sales, working to quickly turn around products.
- Generate short and long term merchandising plan to meet company financial objectives.
- Decide what merchandise to buy based on past sales and market trend forecasts.
- Suggest strategies for promotion and pricing based on current sales trends.