15 March, 2022 | Posted by Michelle Hogan

What Exactly is Fashion Buying and Merchandising?

What Exactly is Fashion Buying and Merchandising?

The rising pressure on supply chains, the pressure to reach sustainability goals and the risks of dealing in the online world are some of the main challenges the fashion industry faces in 2022. 

Fashion buyers and merchandisers can play a huge role in overcoming these challenges and ensuring success in the global fashion industry. 

The fashion industry’s worth promises to reach $1.7 trillion in 2022 and the global fashion e-commerce market will reach $765 billion in 2022 (Statistica). 

What is a Fashion Buyer? 

Being a fashion buyer is one of the most sought-after careers in fashion.  

Behind the glamorous image of a buyer who is travelling the world to select the latest pieces off fashion week runways is a job that requires a combination of skill sets to be successful.  

Solely responsible for selecting and ordering what is sold in stores to ensure maximum profit, in this demanding role you’ll need to be constantly trend spotting, have a strong business sense and be a great communicator.   

Taking from their knowledge of fashion together with business sense, fashion buyers decide what to buy, which mix of brands to buy and need to know what their customer is looking for.  

Besides maintaining strong relationships with top brands, buyers constantly stay on the lookout for new brands, designers and trends.   

The role of the fashion buyer is where art meets science, meaning being analytical and comfortable with math as well as fashion savvy will put you ahead.  

Once the buying process gets going, the buyer writes up buys, rolls out the budgets and processes orders.  

To keep track of inventory, the fashion buyer uses spreadsheet softwares (Excel,Google Sheets) and should be familiar with the formulas in the program.  

One minute the buyer could be talent scouting the latest brands, the next minute he/she could be presenting to the board why the buying decision has been made to purchase a budding designer’s collection based on consumer insight. 

Therefore, a fashion buyer plays a huge role in ensuring the success of the company.  

What is a Fashion Merchandiser? 

Fashion merchandisers oversee the style design of garments and accessories in retail clothing stores, costume suppliers, or fashion houses.  

It is the fashion merchandiser's responsibility to predict fashion trends, plan and implement store layouts, purchase apparel, and collaborate with designers. 

As the fashion industry continues to evolve, so are the responsibilities of a fashion merchandiser.  

When most people think of a fashion brand, they may associate it immediately with the designer; however, behind the scenes, the fashion merchandiser plays an integral part in getting the consumer to buy the latest trends.  

Besides having a sense of style, fashion merchandisers also combine strategic analytical insights, marketing and management skills to ensure the products sold will maximise profit. 

Working closely with buyers and designers, the fashion merchandiser curates and plans what merchandise to stock for a brand by analysing the past buying behaviors of their customers.  

Reacting to the latest fashion trends along with insights drawn from sales data, they work within a company’s budget to plan and produce products that will drive revenue. 

Following the development of current industry trends is just one way fashion merchandisers fine-tune their forecasting ability.  

On the other hand, possessing numerical skills to analyze sales data and being able to find solutions based on product insights are what top fashion and e-commerce brands look for in a fashion merchandiser.  

They use this data to make sales estimates and finalize stocking decisions based on the clientele’s buying patterns. 

Both the fashion buyer and fashion merchandiser roles contribute hugely to the success of any fashion or retail business.  

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