Merchandising Analysts usually work as internal consultants for the Merchandising Department.
They help increase the retail store’s profit potential. They analyze risks and opportunities of their inventory, and implement inventory allocations in order to improve cash flow and raise margins for profits. They also provide valuable insights that can help attain or even surpass the company’s targets.
Nature of Work
As part of the merchandising planning team, Merchandising Analysts are involved in defining and executing merchandising strategies and procedures for developing layouts and plans for the sales area. They make sure that they are accomplished in time and comply with space allocation, product placement and customer preferences. Merchandising analysts are responsible for developing marketing plans that meet the sales, margin and profit targets established by the company. They analyze actual sales, margin and profit reports and compare them against the budget so they can identify key areas and categories that need revitalization and immediate action. Merchandising analysts are in charge of preparing reports for merchandising department meetings, where they give importance to specific factors and areas that need to be dealt with expeditiously. When a new store is opened, they recommend specific products to be displayed basing their recommendation on the store’s profile. They coordinate with the store planner in preparing store layouts in order to maximize the sales potential of specific products. To forecast opportunities for each store or market, they analyze their history, taking into account past and present performances. They identify stores or market which perform poorly and recommend what course of action to take to the merchandising manager. Merchandising analysts also monitor and analyze their competitors, keeping themselves aware of their initiatives and how they impact their own sales and profit targets, and report their findings to senior management.
Merchandising analysts must have a bachelor’s degree in Economics, Accounting or Finance. Having a master’s degree is an advantage, and may be required by some employers, depending on their scope of operation and size. They should be able to react immediately to the changing forces in the marketplace, being able to accurately analyze historical data and forecast emerging trends. They should have high level of critical and analytical thinking, as well as effective time management and organizational skills. They should be self-motivated, have excellent problem-solving skills, and possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills. They should also be computer literate.