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Become A Merchandise Planner

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Working As A Merchandise Planner

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $77,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Merchandise Planner Do

Buyers and purchasing agents buy products and services for organizations to use or resell. They evaluate suppliers, negotiate contracts, and review the quality of products.

Duties

Buyers and purchasing agents typically do the following:

  • Evaluate suppliers on the basis of the price, quality, and speed of delivery of their products and services
  • Interview vendors and visit suppliers’ plants and distribution centers to examine and learn about products, services, and prices
  • Attend meetings, trade shows, and conferences to learn about new industry trends and make contacts with suppliers
  • Analyze price proposals, financial reports, and other information to determine reasonable prices
  • Negotiate contracts on behalf of their organization
  • Work out agreements with suppliers, such as when products will be delivered
  • Meet with staff and vendors to discuss defective or unacceptable goods or services and determine corrective action
  • Evaluate and monitor contracts to be sure that vendors and supplies comply with the terms and conditions of the contract and to determine the need for changes
  • Maintain and review records of items bought, costs, deliveries, product performance, and inventories

Buyers and purchasing agents buy farm products, durable and nondurable goods, and services for organizations and institutions. They try to get the best deal for their organization: the highest quality goods and services at the lowest cost. They do this by studying sales records and inventory levels of current stock, identifying foreign and domestic suppliers, and keeping up to date with changes affecting both the supply of, and demand for, products and materials.

Purchasing agents and buyers consider price, quality, availability, reliability, and technical support when choosing suppliers and merchandise. To be effective, purchasing agents and buyers must have a working technical knowledge of the goods or services they are purchasing.

Evaluating suppliers is one of the most critical functions of a buyer or purchasing agent. Many organizations run on a lean manufacturing schedule and use just-in-time inventories, so any delays in the supply chain can shut down production and cause the organization to lose customers.

Buyers and purchasing agents use many resources to find out all they can about potential suppliers. They attend meetings, trade shows, and conferences to learn about new industry trends and make contacts with suppliers.

They often interview prospective suppliers and visit their plants and distribution centers to assess their capabilities. For example, they may discuss the design of products with design engineers, quality concerns with production supervisors, or shipping issues with managers in the receiving department.

Buyers and purchasing agents must make certain that the supplier can deliver the desired goods or services on time, in the correct quantities, and without sacrificing quality. Once they have gathered information on suppliers, they sign contracts with suppliers who meet the organization’s needs and they place orders.

Buyers who purchase items to resell to customers may determine which products their organization will sell. They need to be able to predict what will appeal to their customers. If they are wrong, they could jeopardize the profits and reputation of their organization.

Buyers who work for large organizations often specialize in purchasing one or two categories of products or services. Buyers who work for smaller businesses or government agencies may be responsible for making a greater variety of purchases.

Wholesale and retail buyers purchase goods for resale to consumers. Examples of these goods are clothing and electronics. Purchasing specialists who buy finished goods for resale are commonly known as buyers or merchandise managers.

Purchasing agents and buyers of farm products buy agricultural products for further processing or resale. Examples of these products are grain, cotton, and tobacco.

Purchasing agents, except wholesale, retail, and farm products buy items for the operation of an organization. Examples of these items are chemicals and industrial equipment needed for a manufacturing establishment, and office supplies.

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How To Become A Merchandise Planner

Although a high school diploma may be sufficient for some positions, many employers require buyers and purchasing agents to have a bachelor’s degree. Most entry-level positions require some form of on-the-job training.

Education

Educational requirements usually vary with the size of the organization. Although a high school diploma may be enough at some organizations, many businesses require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. For many positions, a degree in business, finance, or supply management is sufficient.

For those interested in a career as a buyer or purchasing agent of farm products, a degree in agriculture, agriculture production, or animal science is often beneficial.

Training

Buyers and purchasing agents typically get on-the-job training for more than 1 year. During this time, they learn how to perform their basic duties, including monitoring inventory levels and negotiating with suppliers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

There are several certifications available for buyers and purchasing agents. Although some employers require certification, many do not.

Most of these certifications involve oral or written exams and have education and work experience requirements.

The Institute for Supply Management offers the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) credential, which covers a wide scope of purchasing professional duties. To receive the CPSM credential, candidates must pass three exams and those with a bachelor’s degree must possess at least 3 years of relevant work experience while those without a bachelor’s degree must have at least 5 years of relevant work experience.

The American Purchasing Society offers the Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) certification. The CPP certification is valid for 5 years. Candidates must earn a certain number of professional development “points” to renew their certification. Candidates initially become eligible and can renew their certification through a combination of purchasing-related experience, education, and professional contributions (such as published articles or delivered speeches).

APICS offers the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. Applicants must have 3 years of relevant business experience or a bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible for the CSCP credential. The credential is valid for 5 years. Candidates must also earn a certain number of professional development points to renew their certification.

The Next Level Purchasing Association offers the Senior Professional in Supply Management (SPSM) Certification. Although there are no education or work experience requirements, applicants must complete six online courses and pass an SPSM exam. Certification is valid for 4 years. Candidates must complete 32 continuing education hours in procurement-related topics to recertify for an additional four-year period.

The Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC) offers two certifications for workers in federal, state, and local government. The Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) credential requires applicants to have earned at least an associate’s degree, possess at least 3 years of public procurement experience, and complete relevant training courses. The Certified Public Purchasing Officer (CPPO) requires applicants to have earned a bachelor’s degree, possess at least 5 years of public procurement experience, and complete additional training courses.

Those with the CPPB or the CPPO designation must renew their certification every 5 years by completing continuing education courses or attending procurement-related conferences or events.

The National Institute of Government Purchasing (NIGP), Institute for Public Procurement offers preparation courses for the UPPCC certification exams.

Advancement

An experienced purchasing agent or buyer may become an assistant purchasing manager before advancing to purchasing manager, supply manager, or director of materials management. Buyers and purchasing agents with extensive work experience can also advance to become the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) for an organization.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. When evaluating suppliers, buyers and purchasing agents must analyze their options and choose a supplier with the best combination of price, quality, delivery, or service. 

Decisionmaking skills. Buyers and purchasing agents must have the ability to make informed and timely decisions, choosing products that they think will sell.

Math skills. Buyers and purchasing agents must possess basic math skills. They must be able to compare prices from different suppliers to ensure that their organization is getting the best deal. 

Negotiating skills. Buyers and purchasing agents often must negotiate the terms of a contract with a supplier. Interpersonal skills and self-confidence, in addition to knowledge of the product, can help lead to successful negotiations.

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Do you work as a Merchandise Planner?

Average Yearly Salary
$77,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$38,000
Min 10%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$157,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Burton Snowboards
Highest Paying City
Burlington, VT
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
3.4 years
How much does a Merchandise Planner make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Merchandise Planner in the United States is $77,603 per year or $37 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $38,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $157,000.

Real Merchandise Planner Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Merchandise Planner Saks Fifth Avenue New York, NY Apr 15, 2013 $125,000
Merchandise Planner Victoria's Secret Beauty Limited New York, NY Sep 10, 2012 $120,750
Merchandise Planner Beauty Avenues, LLC New York, NY Sep 10, 2012 $120,750
Senior Merchandise Planner Victoria's Secret Stores Brand Management New York, NY Sep 03, 2013 $115,149 -
$130,000
Merchandise Planner Aeropostale Inc. New York, NY Jun 18, 2015 $110,000
Merchandise Planner Saks & Company New York, NY Feb 23, 2015 $105,000
Merchandise Planner Saks & Company New York, NY Jan 10, 2015 $105,000
Merchandise Planner, Private Label Saks & Company DBA Saks Fifth Avenue New York, NY Jan 22, 2015 $96,000
Merchandise Planner Bath & Body Works, LLC Reynoldsburg, OH Aug 10, 2015 $94,931
Merchandise Planner Pride Technologies LLC New York, NY Jun 13, 2011 $92,517
Merchandise Planner Saks Fifth Avenue New York, NY Mar 04, 2013 $90,000
Merchandise Planner J. Crew Group, Inc. New York, NY Nov 12, 2012 $90,000
Merchandise Planner Bath & Body Works, LLC Reynoldsburg, OH Oct 01, 2015 $75,005 -
$90,000
Merchandise Planner Macy's Merchandising Corporation New York, NY Sep 14, 2009 $75,000
Planner, Merchandise Planning Analytics The Gap, Inc. San Francisco, CA Nov 01, 2016 $75,000 -
$90,000
Merchandise Planner Macy's Merchandising Corporation New York, NY Oct 15, 2009 $75,000
Merchandise Planner MacYs Merchandising Corporation New York, NY Oct 15, 2009 $75,000
Merchandise Planner Macy's Merchandising Corporation New York, NY Oct 01, 2009 $75,000
Merchandise Planner Bath & Body Works, LLC Reynoldsburg, OH Nov 25, 2013 $74,000 -
$111,000
Merchandise Planner-Produce Meijer Great Lakes Limited Partnership Lansing, MI Oct 01, 2013 $70,619
Associate Merchandise Planner L Brands Service Company, LLC Columbus, OH Oct 24, 2016 $59,600 -
$89,400
Assistant Merchandise Planner Saks Fifth Avenue New York, NY Sep 17, 2009 $56,000
Assistant Merchandise Planner Saks Fifth Avenue New York, NY Oct 12, 2009 $56,000
Planner-Merchandise Distribution Payless Shoesource, Inc. Topeka, KS Sep 09, 2015 $55,000
Merchandise Planner/Analyst Draper's & Damon's, LLC Irvine, CA Aug 22, 2012 $54,659
Merchandise Distribution Planner Payless Shoesource, Inc. Topeka, KS Sep 03, 2014 $51,250
Merchandise Distribution Planner Payless Shoesource, Inc. Topeka, KS Apr 01, 2012 $50,000

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Top Skills for A Merchandise Planner

  1. Financial Goals
  2. Sales Goals
  3. Seasonal Financial Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Identified sales opportunities through effective strategic planning and execution that achieve financial goals.
  • Make recommendations for markdowns and promotional activity to help achieve targeted inventory and sales goals.
  • Created seasonal financial plans to guarantee optimal inventory investment, increase merchandise flow, and reduce markdowns to ultimately maximize profitability.
  • Accelerate sales growth by remaining in constant communication with vendors and accurately predicting seasonal fluctuations to maintain appropriate inventory levels.
  • Analyzed historical sales data to create desirable SKU breakdown by classification along with reasonable color counts.

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Top 10 Best States for Merchandise Planners

  1. Virginia
  2. Maryland
  3. Alaska
  4. District of Columbia
  5. New Jersey
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Wyoming
  8. Washington
  9. Arkansas
  10. Minnesota
  • (129 jobs)
  • (94 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (12 jobs)
  • (57 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)
  • (68 jobs)
  • (27 jobs)
  • (51 jobs)

Merchandise Planner Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 2,178 Merchandise Planner resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Merchandise Planner Resume

View Resume Examples

Merchandise Planner Demographics

Gender

Female

57.7%

Male

32.9%

Unknown

9.5%
Ethnicity

White

62.3%

Hispanic or Latino

13.7%

Black or African American

10.6%

Asian

10.1%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

32.3%

Chinese

12.3%

Mandarin

12.3%

French

10.8%

Hindi

4.6%

Russian

4.6%

Italian

4.6%

Korean

3.1%

Vietnamese

1.5%

Gujarati

1.5%

German

1.5%

Lithuanian

1.5%

Japanese

1.5%

Carrier

1.5%

Bengali

1.5%

Polish

1.5%

Arabic

1.5%

Cantonese

1.5%
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Merchandise Planner Education

Schools

Fashion Institute of Technology

11.8%

Ohio State University

7.6%

University of Phoenix

7.6%

New York University

6.6%

University of Wisconsin - Stout

5.9%

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

5.6%

Indiana University Bloomington

5.6%

Syracuse University

5.2%

University of Florida

5.2%

University of Delaware

4.9%

Michigan State University

4.5%

San Francisco State University

4.2%

University of Texas at Austin

3.8%

University of North Texas

3.5%

Pennsylvania State University

3.5%

Miami University

3.1%

University of Massachusetts Amherst

3.1%

University of California - Berkeley

2.8%

Kansas State University

2.8%

West Virginia University

2.8%
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Majors

Business

31.9%

Marketing

15.5%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

10.1%

Finance

5.8%

Management

4.5%

Economics

4.0%

Accounting

3.5%

Psychology

3.4%

Communication

3.1%

Supply Chain Management

2.2%

Family And Consumer Sciences/Human Sciences Business Services

2.1%

Interior Design

2.1%

Graphic Design

2.0%

Political Science

1.8%

Apparel And Textiles

1.6%

International Business

1.6%

Mathematics

1.3%

Liberal Arts

1.2%

Education

1.2%

Sociology

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

67.0%

Masters

17.3%

Other

7.7%

Associate

5.1%

Certificate

2.1%

Doctorate

0.4%

Diploma

0.3%

License

0.1%
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