Assistant merchandisers provide administrative support to managers at companies that sell, make and distribute products. Using administrative and computer skills, they may proof reports for accuracy and address concerns of disgruntled customers. On-the-job training is typical in this position, but a formal education in merchandising or sales can give you a leg up.
Assistant merchandisers support merchandise managers and purchasers as they find, develop and ship products. As an assistant merchandiser, you monitor and analyze sales records and economic conditions to predict buying patterns and monitor inventory. You communicate with consumers and vendors on the phone or in person, always maintaining friendly, direct lines of contact. Work is available in manufacturing, wholesale trade, government and retail sectors. While travel and overtime are sometimes a necessity, you typically work a 40-hour work week within an office setting.
Typical tasks revolve around providing administrative support to purchasing and merchandising professionals. You may maintain and update spreadsheets, purchase orders and sales reports. You may also monitor purchase orders to ensure prompt and timely delivery, and send payments to suppliers. Assistant merchandisers help merchandisers create contracts and ensure that all reports are accurate. Other duties can include coordinating promotional plans, following up with customer service claims and updating samples of product lines.
Computer skills in spreadsheet and word-processing software are necessary. You need strong personal and customer service skills to converse easily with co-workers and customers. Knowledge of sales and marketing techniques and production methods can help you to stand out in this field. Assistant merchandisers require knowledge of raw materials, quality control and costs. Additionally, you must have strong analytical and decision-making skills, as well as knowledge of basic math principles. Basic knowledge of negotiation, strong attention to detail and accuracy skills are critical.
Education and Training
To work as an assistant merchandiser, you typically go through on-the-job training. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that buyers and purchasing agents typically have about one year of training under supervision. Because you perform several administrative tasks and converse with customers, one to two years of office experience is helpful. While a formal education isn’t necessary, you may consider completing a degree or certificate program in merchandising, customer service or office administration. These programs can give you knowledge of inventory control, negotiation and office software.