Retail sales merchandisers sell products to retailers for manufacturers, and may also merchandise or stock items in retail stores. They require detailed product knowledge and may provide reporting on product placement and sales. The job outlook for these positions is about as fast as the job market and the median annual salary is about $56,000.
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Retail sales merchandisers, also sometimes called manufacturing sales representatives, are tasked with selling product to retail stores directly from the wholesalers they work for. They must possess strong customer service skills and be able to identify the product needs of the retail stores they supply based on the stores location and demographics. They also must be able to project and track sales of their products in order to replenish stock when it becomes low, and to provide product placement direction to the retail sales associates they work with.
|Required Education||High school diploma or bachelor's degree (optional)|
|Other Requirements||Certified Professional Manufacturers' Representative (CPMR) certification or the Certified Sales Professional (CSP) credential are optional|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||7% for all wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$55,730 for all wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Description for a Retail Sales Merchandiser
A retail sales merchandiser, also referred to as a manufacturing sales representative, works for a product manufacturer and must sell the manufacturer's product to retail stores. Merchandisers draft sales contracts and review the demographics of the retail store to ensure that the correct amount of stock is ordered and provided. Furthermore, retail sales merchandisers are responsible for the marketing of their particular products within the store. This includes providing signs and determining where and how the product will be displayed on the shelf or rack. Proper product displays maximize sales and thus increases revenue for both the store and the manufacturer.
Retail sales managers must also carefully monitor inventory levels versus sales to determine how much more product needs to be ordered. They also run promotional events to help sales by drafting an advertising campaign and providing the necessary materials needed to generate public interest. Retail sales merchandisers must be prepared to work in a competitive environment that is driven by sales quotas.
Salary and Job Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a job growth rate of 7% for manufacturing sales representatives from 2014 to 2024. Most of these workers earned between $26,830 and $118,000 per year as of May 2015, the BLS reports. Footwear manufacturing, computer systems design and deep sea transportation were listed as the three highest-paying industries for manufacturing sales representatives during that year.
A college degree is helpful but not required for retail sales merchandisers. If potential retail sales merchandisers do decide to pursue a college degree, typical majors include business, marketing or a comparable discipline. While in college, students should focus on courses such as English or communications, because much of their job will depend on talking and selling to others. Also, students should concentrate on courses that teach negotiation skills, which are indispensable to salespeople.
Many employers train their workers on the job. Retail sales merchandisers must have an excellent understanding of the product, because they will be trying to sell it to retail stores and convince store owners to keep the product in stock. Retail sales merchandisers must also be prepared to travel, because they must often go to the client when selling or stocking their product. Merchandising experience may be beneficial, but is not generally required.
Many in this occupation also have either the Certified Professional Manufacturers' Representative (CPMR) certification or the Certified Sales Professional (CSP) certification, which can be obtained through the Manufacturers' Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF). These certifications usually contain formal training and are awarded with the completion of an exam.
Retail sales merchandisers must also prepare weekly and monthly sales reports. Thus, they should be considerably proficient with computer database programs such as Microsoft Excel.
Retail sales merchandisers education requirements vary from only a high school diploma or GED to an associate's or bachelor's degree. Certification is available and can require training, experience and passing an exam.