Pricing specialists need to have a thorough understanding of market research, and they usually need a bachelor's degree to obtain employment. Strong math skills and the ability to see marketing patterns and trends are necessary for this position. Employers often prefer candidates who have previous experience in retail or a related industry.
Pricing specialists, also known as market research analysts, work for retail stores, determining both regular and promotional prices for their store's products. They also address pricing-related inquiries from a number of sources, such as buyers and marketers. This job typically requires a bachelor's degree in the field of market research or a related major. Graduate degrees may be required for more advanced positions.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree or higher|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||19% for all market research analysts*|
|Median Salary (2016)||$50,342 for pricing specialists**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **PayScale.com
Pricing specialists employ pricing strategies that meet their stores' standards, policies and procedures. They ensure that salespeople and marketing employees comply with pricing changes. They also make sure that markdowns and store signage changes are accurately applied in an efficient and timely manner.
Pricing specialists frequently monitor store pricing systems, advertising media and registers for pricing accuracy. They help their stores drive sales, increase profits, meet productivity standards and remain competitive with similar retailers. They also help ensure that customers have smooth and enjoyable shopping experiences.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), market research analysts, including pricing specialists, are expected to see a 19% increase in jobs from 2014 to 2024, due largely to a heightened emphasis on data and market research to evaluate the effectiveness of marketing plans. Salaries for these specialists can vary, but the BLS reports a median annual income of $62,150 for those workers, as of May 2015. Reports from PayScale.com in January 2016 indicate that pricing specialists made a median salary of $50,342.
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Some job duties that pricing specialists may perform include moving merchandise during store promotions to drive sales, directing employees to apply markdowns or make signage changes, executing marketing changes, ensuring that the store is cleaned daily and preventing loss of merchandise. Some pricing specialists are trained in multiple areas so that they can help out in any store department on an as-needed basis.
Leadership duties are common. Pricing specialists may be responsible for ensuring productivity and efficiency of employees, as well as enforcing store policies and procedures. They must frequently communicate with store managers and other departmental leaders to acknowledge successes and solve problems. Because pricing changes need to be made before a store's operating hours, pricing specialists may open the store.
Information from the BLS indicates that market research analysts, including pricing specialists, normally need the minimum of a bachelor's degree to find employment. Although degrees directly in market research may be preferable, degrees in related fields, such as business administration or statistics, may also prove useful. Graduate degrees are often required for top-tier marketing specialist positions.
Most employers require that job applicants have previous experience working in retail, and some also require previous experience in marketing. Pricing specialists should have strong communication and customer service skills. They should be comfortable working both within a team and independently. They also should be able to work with computers and be proficient in spreadsheet and database programs, such as Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Access, respectively. Written communication and mathematics skills may be helpful as well.
To become a professional pricing specialist, individuals must earn the minimum of a bachelor's degree in market research or a related field. Once employed, pricing specialists run various reports to monitor and predict optimal prices for products and services. Strong research skills, the ability to communicate well with others, and top-notch skills in statistical mathematics are essential for this career.