Working as a junior merchandiser can be a demanding and challenging job, but also a fun and exciting one. Junior merchandisers select the goods available for sale at retail stores, including grocery stores, clothing boutiques and large department stores. Junior merchandisers are well-informed about the products they're purchasing, well-educated and hard workers.
Junior merchandisers are usually responsible for buying items for one specific department. For example, in a large department store, they may be responsible for buying jewelry only, with other junior merchandisers purchasing items for other departments. Junior merchandisers must purchase the highest quality goods at the lowest available price. In order to do this, they must have an understanding of what the store's customers want to purchase, and how much customers are willing to pay for goods. They also must know the company, past sales records for specific items and current levels of inventory in order to buy merchandise for the store as efficiently as possible.
Junior merchandisers must conduct extensive research when deciding what to purchase for the store. This research includes reading market reports, trade journals and industry publications, and being familiar with various promotional materials sent to him buy suppliers. Junior merchandisers are also responsible for going to trade shows, visiting factories and meeting with suppliers in order to make the best possible purchases. They make sure that the goods get to the store in a timely manner, and often check the merchandise when it arrives. Junior merchandisers are responsible for maintaining sales and inventory records, and occasionally planning advertising displays and sales promotions. Junior merchandisers work under the direction of a head buyer or a store manager.
Being a junior merchandiser often means lots of travel. Junior merchandisers visit other stores, trade shows, factories and warehouses, sometimes in very diverse, international locations. When working in the store, a junior merchandiser can typically be found in her office. This can be a high pressure job because of the intense competition between retailers, especially during peak shopping seasons, such as the Christmas shopping season. Junior merchandisers typically work eight to 10 hours per day, and will sometimes work even longer hours. Because they work in retail, many junior merchandisers must work weekends.
The salary of a junior merchandiser is dependent on several factors: the type of store she works for, the type of goods she buys, the location of the store and her level of experience. Typically, junior merchandisers can expect to make anywhere between $25,000 and $65,000 per year. They also often receive performance-based bonuses and profit-sharing options, which can add thousands of dollars to their salaries every year. They also usually receive other benefits, such as an employee discount at the store, health insurance, paid vacation and paid sick days.
There is no specific degree required to become a junior merchandiser. However, most junior merchandisers have gone to college for business, marketing, purchasing, logistics or materials management. Many larger stores will provide training, or will send their junior merchandisers on product-specific training courses.
Additionally, junior merchandisers are expected to have extensive knowledge of the products they buy, good communication skills, the ability to work in a fast-paced environment and computer proficiency.