What Is The Difference Between Fashion Buying And Fashion Merchandising?

In the world of fashion and style, most of the spotlight is given to fashion models and fashion designers. However, the creations worn by models and crafted by designers would not be made available to the world were it not for the behind-the-scenes work of fashion buyers and fashion merchandisers. These two professionals work in the business side of the fashion industry. The spirit of the tasks they do may be similar and retail stores may even hire only one person to perform both roles. However, there are differences between the world of fashion buying and fashion merchandising.

Fashion buying in the retail setup is concerned with choosing the clothes and accessories that will be sold by the store. Based on what the store’s clientele is and the image it seeks to project to the world, fashion buyers select the items that will be carried by the store to be sold to its customers. They need to be very knowledgeable about the latest trends and designs cooked up by various designers so they can buy the newest styles that will most likely be patronized by their target market. Fashion buyers also take care of ordering the clothes, shoes, bags and other accessories from the supplier and tracking the order until it reaches the store.

In order to choose the items that will most likely sell, fashion buyers need to have a very clear idea of the clientele that they are serving and what their tastes are and where their interests lie. They must also know how much their customers are willing to spend for their fashion clothing needs. Fashion buyers also need to be very good negotiators so they can convince suppliers to lower prices for their orders and deliver the goods on time no matter how busy they are.

Fashion merchandising, on the other hand, must set up the pieces of clothing and other items ordered by the fashion buyer in a very appealing manner in the store. They direct other workers on how mannequins at the window must be dressed and in general, how the store must be arranged. Fashion merchandisers do this not only to make the place aesthetically appealing but to encourage customers to buy. Working together with store managers, fashion merchandisers also determine how previous season’s stocks can be disposed to make way for new items. Thus, they may put certain pieces on sale to encourage potential customers to buy.

Fashion merchandisers study the sales made in the previous season and strives to understand the buying habits of their customers. This will help them come up with ways to craft effective promotional strategies for their products. In the end, the role of a fashion merchandiser centers on helping the store increase its profits. As such, this occupation requires the combination of both business savvy and creativity. Fashion merchandisers must not grow tired of knowing who the store’s customers are so that they can market to them more effectively.

As mentioned above, the role of fashion buyers and merchandisers can be given to one person in smaller stores. In retail stores where both professionals are present, many decisions about the products to stock a store with, how to arrange the items and other concerns are often the result of the collaborative effort of fashion buyers and fashion merchandisers.

Career Spotlight: Fashion Buyer

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