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What is Fashion Merchandising, and Why Is It So Important?

10 min read

Merchandising refers to strategies for the promotion and sale of products. Every retail business relies on product merchandising. Many of the basic principles of merchandising are consistent across industries. However, some industries present unique challenges and situations for merchandisers. One such example is the fashion industry.

Fashion merchandising is uniquely challenging because appearance and aesthetics are often the primary considerations for consumers. This means that merchandising is tied more strongly to the products themselves. As a result, fashion merchandising is an extremely dynamic and multifaceted area of business that relies on input from a range of professionals.

What is merchandising in fashion, exactly? And how are its unique challenges dealt with by manufacturers and retailers alike? Let’s take a look!

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What is Fashion Merchandising?

To understand fashion merchandising, it’s important to first take a look at general merchandising. Merchandising typically involves anything relating to the promotion and sales of products. This includes the product design itself, as well as its presentation in retail settings, store layouts, promotion, and more.

Surrounding a certain item or brand with a prominent display in a store is part of a merchandising strategy. For online retailers, displaying items on their website’s homepage is a comparable marketing strategy.

Merchandising is also cyclical, following seasonal trends. Retailers promote specific items at certain times of year when those items will be in highest demand. So, for instance, school items are promoted heavily in the late summer, and holiday items are pushed heavily in December. Fashion merchandising follows similar trends as styles come and go to suit each season of the year.

Fashion merchandising involves all of these things, as well as considerations specific to the fashion industry. This includes researching trends in fashion, decisions about fabric options and patterns, and product pricing. Merchandising is critical for all brands, but in the fashion industry, the merchandise often is the brand, and vice versa. As a result, “fashion merchandising” encompasses nearly every aspect of the business. As such, fashion merchandisers are often highly skilled professionals with a range of skills.

What is Fashion Visual Merchandising?

Visual merchandising is any aspect of a merchandising strategy which uses visual appeal to attract customers in-store. Fashion visual merchandising is obviously highly important because visual appeal is one of the primary factors impacting a customer’s purchasing decisions.

There are several ways that retailers can use visual merchandising for fashion items.

  • Good lighting and organization are two basics, but highly important practices to include. Both of these things help customers find clothing items that look good without difficulty.
  • Product displays can also be a useful visual tool for fashion merchandisers. Some clothing retailers will set up branded displays to distinguish certain brands in their store. This helps customers identify certain brands which they may be loyal to. It also adds a sense of prestige to certain branded items by creating brand name recognition.
  • Another important form of visual merchandising unique to the fashion industry is the use of mannequins. Clothing retailers regularly use mannequins to pair certain fashion items together to show how they look as an outfit or in action. Mannequins are a form of visual fashion merchandising that enables customers to envision certain looks for themselves. This in turn provides an emotional response for customers, associated with those items, making them more likely to purchase them.

Visual merchandising is extremely important in the fashion industry, and is also a great chance for retailers to get creative. If you run a retail fashion store, whether at a physical location or online, this is an important lesson to remember. How you present your inventory is often just as important as the inventory itself.

What is Fashion Merchandising Management?

Fashion merchandising management involves the selection and manufacturing of fashion products. Like with visual merchandising, fashion merchandising management involves a wide range of practices and ideas.

For instance, a fashion merchandising manager needs to have one foot in the “retail” section of their business, and one foot in the “manufacturing” section.

Merchandising management responsibilities include:

  • Researching fashion trends among key demographics.
  • Selecting materials and manufacturing processes, determining pricing, and creating promotional content.
    General product branding and marketing.

What is fashion marketing and merchandising? Here are some of the most important roles relating to fashion merchandising management.

Various Roles Involved in Fashion Merchandising Management

When discussing fashion merchandising management, there are several different roles that are all very important. In many cases, these roles are carried out by different professionals, rather than all being the responsibility of one person. However, in some small fashion companies, many of these roles do fall to a single person.

  • Fashion buying is one such role, in which an individual researches fashion trends and products and establishes contacts with manufacturers. Fashion buying is critical for securing inventory that is likely to be sold in high numbers.
  • Visual merchandising, as mentioned earlier, is another critical aspect of merchandising management. Visual merchandising is largely responsible for in-store (or online) visual displays and arrangements to drive sales.
  • Marketing management is also a key part of fashion merchandising. This role involves setting a marketing plan to promote brands or clothing products to their target demographics.
  • One last key role in merchandising management is the role of the store manager. In retail settings, the store manager is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations in all aspects. This includes fashion merchandising and product procurement and sales. But it also involves things like staffing, customer service, and employee management.

How Important is Fashion Merchandising?

Now that you know what fashion merchandising is, you may be wondering why it matters. Merchandising in general has several key benefits. All of these are amplified in the fashion industry because of how directly tied to their merchandise most fashion companies are.

Merchandising Benefits

General merchandising is linked to increased sales, faster inventory turnaround, and more satisfied and loyal customers. Product merchandising makes it easier for customers to identify and purchase items which they are interested in. Effective merchandising can also increase customer interest in certain products to convert more sales. This improved purchasing experience results in a better customer experience overall. Thus, customers leave your store or website feeling more satisfied, and are more likely to return.

What Makes Fashion Merchandising Unique?

In the fashion industry, there is no business without merchandising. Therefore fashion merchandising is integral to the business itself. For example, a key aspect of merchandising is product presentation. Fashion items are predominantly manufactured, bought, and sold due to their visual appeal. Merchandising, then, does not just encompass visual presentations in retail spaces. However, it is a crucial step in the manufacturing and procurement process.

Learn More About Fashion Retail Management

Fashion merchandising is a crucial step in the process of operating a retail fashion business. But it is not the only thing you need to know about to run a successful fashion business. Online fashion stores can be some of the most successful ecommerce businesses with proper management and resources.

Fashion items are among the top selling and fastest growing categories of items in online retail in Worldwide. But that does not mean that entrepreneurs can capitalize on this market without hard work and education.

Learn more about how to successfully sell fashion products online by following Ecwid. Or sign up for Ecwid ecommerce today to start building your very own online fashion store.


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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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