Merchandising – From Design Concept to the final sale of a garment, merchandising is an important aspect, which is often not fully understood.
Role of a Merchandiser
Merchandising encompasses every department of an apparel business.
- Line development
- Time and action plans
- Planning volume
- Merchandising calendar detailing key dates for planning, selling, and producing multiple lines.
- Each stage will have an impact on the successful retail sales of the garments.
- Target market should be analyzed.
- If the market is over-merchandised or saturated with a product, then it would not be wise to manufacture something that is already out there.
- Market analysis involves studying the current market trends and anticipated needs for the forthcoming seasons.
- New fashions usually evolve gradually, the processes by which fashions rise, peak, and decline take several seasons. It will be important that a merchandiser understands this.
In today’s market there is no universal group of customers. They could be:
- Young or not so young
- Blue-collar or white-collar background
- Middle-income or well to do
- Conservative or the avant-garde, and so on
- Weather is also a very important aspect
Merchandiser will need to know the niche market – and fill it
The first things a customer will notice is:
- The color of the garment
- Then the will be the type of fabric
- Plain colored
- Or the graphics.
Choosing a fabric suitable for a particular style is probably the most important aspect of design/merchandising a line.
It will then be important to merchandise the fabric choice to fall within groups to relate other fabrics, trims, or colors.
- Fabrics – Plain or Print
- Target market
- Groups within the collection
Example of: Design/Merchandising
“Storyboard” are often made up of magazine tear sheets and other sources of inspiration.
Includes styling suggestions, colors, textiles, trims, stitching detailing and even accessories suggestions which will influence or direct the new collection.
Designer/Merchandiser may have been to an art show or museum, or inspired by the history of fashion or ethnic costumes
- Vintage cars may be an influence for a print on a shirt, or, some part of a vintage dress could be taken as inspiration; there could be a floral or even a space theme.
- Sub-divide these sheets into groups that better relate to one another; e.g. fabric types, colors that could be grouped together with in the line.
- Storyboards forces you to focus your designing, and merchandising.
Groups Within The Collection/Line
- A line is usually subdivided into groups.
- As mentioned each group has a specific theme based on the fabric, color, or a particular fashion direction. Sometimes the design for one garment may inspire a whole group.
- The styling within each group should have variety yet carry out the “central theme”.
- To present a visually pleasing group of “dresses,” the line needs only to include a few elements in common, such as fabric or a color story.
- Often a manufacturer emphasizes only a few silhouettes (called “bodies or styles” in the trade), interpreting each of them in several prints; or it will feature one print in a variety of styles.
- Within the group, the dresses should offer a variety of silhouettes, sleeve treatments, necklines, trims, or they could have certain continuity in stitching details and finishing of the garment.
- Example To design “coordinated sportswear”, the objective is to have the individual styles mix and match interchangeably. Fabric combinations must be carefully thought out. There should be a variety of coordinating skirts, pants, jackets, shirts or blouses, and tops in each group. There should still be consistency of theme, with color, fabric, line, or detailing to tie the whole group together.
Merchandising for Display Purposes
Whether you are displaying at a booth at a trade show or a retailer displaying goods in a store it will be important to spend the time to fine tune the art of merchandising a product. All displayed merchandise must relate and be simple enough to be understood. It is important not to over merchandise, (or over crowd) either a store or a trade show booth.
You need the buyer to:
- If your booth has all the pieces from your line make sure it does not end up with a swap meet effect. Merchandising your end product (DISPLAY) will be as important as merchandising and designing the line.
- Your buyers will not connect or understand your merchandising if the display is crowded
- You have one chance to get their attention. Approx – 3 seconds – Booth must be inviting and create an impact quickly!
- Know what to use to connect with your buyer will be critical to sales
- A booth should be merchandised and displayed as if it were a store window
- You want the buyers, and the customer to buy all your merchandise!
- Your graphics should communicate who you are, what you do, and how the customer can benefit by buying your line
- Make it easy for people to get in and out of the booth. Make sure that whoever is working in the booth is friendly and out going
- Do not chew gum, drink or eat while selling
- Give away small items with your company’s name, to remind the customer of your product.
Merchandising your booth and marketing is an important part of the sale of your product, and ultimately the success of your business!
Retail Visual Display/Merchandising
– The arrangement and presentation of merchandise both on the floor and in the windows critical to keeping the store looking fresh will be an important factor in attracting return customers.
– Why would shoppers return to buy if the stock is old and the window display is the same?
– When everything begins to look alike, customers become disenchanted.
– The longer a customer spends in a store, the more likely there will be a sale.
– Coordinating and accessorized outfits should be displayed to help customers assemble their own wardrobes.
- As with a retail window a website needs to be merchandised often
- Must to be easy to navigate
- Have a message as to what it is the site is selling
- Visual connection
- Keep it fresh and new
- Change out merchandise as often as possible
- Continuity will be part of brand recognition
- Merchandising encompasses everything around us. Sometimes successful and others times not so successful!
- We merchandise and brand ourselves each day with what we choose to wear and DO!!