The primary goal of a merchandise supervisor is to maximize revenue from merchandise in a sales environment. This supervisor must have a keen eye for presenting merchandise in the best way possible to achieve and exceed sales goals. This requires the ability to know what customers are looking for and what they find appealing. They need to grab the attention of customers that did not come into the store with the intent of buying a specific item. The job involves persuading people to look at, and hopefully buy, an item based on its display, location, or others attributes such as a specific sales deal.
While the primary duty of a merchandise supervisor is in arranging the products that their store sells in a visually appealing manner, there are other important functions of the job. This person is responsible for training sales associates on how to arrange displays and products. When their store is not reaching its sales goals, they may have to make the decisions with their store manager about rearranging departments or even the entire store. Ordering merchandise is another responsibility, including what they've run out of or what they feel might sell well. Still another responsibility is ensuring that their product arrangements are safe so that a customer or employee won't be injured. Finally, a merchandise supervisor must have good customer service skills since this person is often one of the primary people a customer would want to speak to regarding product information.
The working environment of merchandise supervisors are usually inside stores and retail outlets, but some spend a good amount of time outside if they work in a seasonal department. As these types of businesses have varying business hours, their schedule may vary as well. Some positions involve working standard daytime office hours. Others may be required to work evenings, weekends, or even overnight. Sometimes a merchandise supervisor has an individual office in the back of the store. Merchandise supervisors work with computers, phones, tools used to display products, bar code readers, and tagging equipment.
Some businesses require their merchandise supervisor to have an associate's degree in business management, but most only require several years of experience in retail with a few years of supervising experience.
A merchandise supervisor plays a key role in many different kinds of retailers by contributing to the business's profit margin. If customers don't know about products because they have not heard about them, they may not come into a store. If customers don't see a particular product because it is poorly displayed or in a bad location in the store, they won't buy it. Without the services of a merchandise supervisor, many retailers would not achieve their sales goals.
Merchandise Supervisor Tasks
Determine appropriate pricing for products based on financial objectives.
Report inventory levels and problems to management.
Decide the quantity of merchandise to stock and give instructions to buyers.
Manage the product inventory at a retail establishment.
Provide customer service, answer questions, and process customer transactions.