What is Retail Merchandising?


What is retail merchandising?

In practically every store you walk into, what you see is the result of retail merchandising! Retail Merchandising is the process of visually presenting merchandise for sale in an attractive way to customers in an effort to sell that merchandise.


Next time you visit your local Big-box store, (IE: Walmart, Target, etc.), just take a look around and really focus on what you see…

  • Do holiday / seasonal items greet you as you walk through the doors?
  • Do product displays surround you as you navigate through the store?
  • Do sale ads jump out at you as you stroll through the aisles?
  • Do new items catch your eye as you scan the store shelves?

No this is NOT random - these eye-catching environments are created by retail merchandisers! From your favorite supermarket to your local hair salon, retail merchandising is essential in helping products SELL!


Both the companies who create the products and the stores that sell the products have the same goal - To get product in front of you in the most attractive way possible so you will buy it!  Retail Merchandisers are the people who make this happen!


Common types of Retail Merchandisers include…


  • Retailer Retail Merchandisers:
    • Hired directly by the store that contains products for sale.
    • Perform various retail merchandising activities for only that retail store chain.
  • Manufacturer Retail Merchandisers:
    • Hired directly by the company that produces the products for sale.
    • May be assigned “routes” in where they travel to different stores that carry their products.
    • Perform various retail merchandising activities for only their company- branded items.
  • Third-Party Retail Merchandisers:
    • Hired by the companies who assist brokerage, retailer, and/or manufacturer companies.
    • Usually independently contracted merchandisers.
    • Perform various retail merchandising activities representing retailers, manufactures, and/or brokerage companies.
    • Very similar to brokerage RSMs except work is usually not as consistent.
  • Brokerage Retail Merchandisers:
    • Hired directly by Retail Merchandising Brokerage companies whom represent various retailer and manufacturer companies.
    • When manufacture companies don’t have the man power to reach all of the many store locations that contain their brand items, they commonly use retail merchandising brokerage companies to assist.
    • These brokerage companies specialize in creating large work-forces versed in all aspects of retail merchandising, (IE: Service, Coverage, and Sales/Marketing).

There are several different types of Brokerage Retail Merchandisers…


  • Retail Service Merchandisers– (RSM’s)
    • Commonly work independently, traveling to various different retailer locations within a set “territory.”
    • Represent multiple clients, performing various types of unique retail merchandising activities such as resets, fixture installs, display setups, audits, surveys, POP placement, demonstrations, stocking, and more.
    • Usually are given very flexible windows in where jobs can be completed, which allow them to create their own schedules!
  • Retail Coverage Merchandisers – (RCM’s)
    • Commonly work independently as dedicated retailer or client retailer merchandisers.
    • Commonly work in one retail chain representing multiple clients, or in multiple retail stores representing one client.
    • Usually are responsible for making sure merchandise is where it should be by correcting voids, handling distribution, and performing many other retail merchandising related tasks.
    • Schedules may be flexible, but usually are not as flexible as an RSM’s.
  • Team Retail Service / Coverage Merchandisers
    • Usually work on “teams” with other retail merchandisers in the same stores on the same days.
    • Common work includes minor to major resets and/or store remodels.
    • Schedules are usually not flexible, but rather date/time specific. The plus however is that teams are guaranteed a set amount of hours per week.
  • Retail Sales Merchandisers
    • Complete various selling and marketing related tasks for various clients and customers.

What is retail merchandising?

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Retail Merchandising Terminology

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