Fashion Merchandising – History & Best Practices 

Fashion Merchandising – History & Best Practices 

Fashion trends do not just appear overnight. Fashion designs and the creation of new outfits take time, effort, and consideration. New fashion trends like bucket hats, baguette bags, and more became part of fashion through careful planning, manufacturing, and advertising. The process of creation, planning, and manufacturing every fashion trend is part of the fashion ecosystem. It follows a process and makes up the concept of fashion merchandising.

This article will describe what fashion merchandising is about and how it works. We’ll also explain the fundamental principles you should follow to ensure effective fashion merchandising. This article also provides the best practices to take your retail fashion business to the next level.

Fashion Merchandising – How It Works

The simplest method to understand fashion merchandising is to think of it as the planning and processing involved in buying and selling fashion products to make a product. It is the panning process that covers the promoting and display of trendy products in the right place, right time, and in the ideal quantity. To ensure the proper fashion merchandising, there are many factors you need to consider. Some of these factors include customer’s point of view, brand image, merchandise selection, product promotion, customer point of view, and many more.

To achieve successful fashion merchandising, you need to meticulously plan and coordinate between your store managers, marketing specialists, buyers, visual merchandisers, and consultants. There are different tasks you need to consider when venturing into fashion merchandising. These tasks include stocking, display presentation, account organization, discovering consumer trends, and many more. There are several functions that fashion merchandising covers include:

  • Discovering the fashion trends to manufacture and produce
  • Purchasing the proper collection and fashion pieces
  • Determining the right retail prices
  • Displaying products in a fashionable and attractive manner
  • Planning and implementing advertisements
  • Creating the right campaigns and promos to entice customers to make a purchase

How Fashion Merchandising Began

Fashion merchandising has been around for centuries and has continually evolved. However, a noticeable shift in fashion merchandising is centering the value of products on a customer’s demand. In the past, merchants did not prioritize the demands of customers. Instead, they convinced most shoppers about the importance of the product irrespective of its quality and practicality.

Just like markets and bazaars have become malls and department stores today, shoppers have also become a critical factor in fashion merchandising. The desire of your customer determines the product you create and sell. Therefore, customer experience is crucial and depends on the customer’s expectations and behavior. Due to this, fashion merchandising is more personalized in this era. In addition, customer demands drive eCommerce, allowing modern shoppers to discover the products they’re looking for from the comfort of their homes.

RetailDive shared that 87% of shoppers begin their journey on an online product search. Therefore, the needs of shoppers continue to change the way brands operate. Customer data is crucial in fashion merchandising, and you can collect this data through deep analytics, focus groups, and surveys. 

Fashion Merchandising – How It Works

There are different roles covered within fashion merchandising. Retailers, account managers, manufacturers, and retailers are part of fashion merchandising. To understand how fashion merchandising works. You need to first learn their roles and place them in the bigger picture. We’ll cover the two main roles in fashion retailing: manufacturers and retailers. 


A manufacturer’s role in fashion retail merchandising is predicting fashion trends. They determine the products and designs that will meet the customer’s desire. Manufacturers are who determine the details of each fashion product like color, size, style, price, and even quantity. Most times, the manufacturer considers the consumer’s demand. Then, they work closely with fashion designers to produce the products necessary to make the most profit.


Like manufacturers, retailers also determine future fashion trends by analyzing customers’ desires. Then, they create product catalogs that focus on the shopper’s demand. These catalogs cover patterns, trends, colors, and prices. The retailer also considers the economy, global events, and past and present sales when deciding. Once they’re sure about what the customer’s looking for, they make an order from the manufacturer. 

Principles of Fashion Merchandising

If you want to be successful at fashion retailing, there are some crucial principles you need to keep in mind. Effective fashion retail merchandising allows you to reach your goal sales while ensuring an excellent user experience. Below are the principles you need to work by.

The Right Merchandise and Quantity

To ensure the right merchandise and quantity, it’s essential to know your customers. You can ensure a valuable shopping experience that will make them purchase when you do. Learn your customers’ styles and preferences. Learning their preference allows you to promote the right merchandise to ensure a customized shopping experience.

You need to learn the type of customers you have and their preferred method of discovering new products. You also need to learn about their real-time goals to be able to provide the right merchandise that meets their goal. Once you find out about your customers, you need to keep your stock inventory updated. Fashion trends are continually changing, making fashion cycles relatively short.

Due to this, customers’ demand is continually changing, and you need to use this information to plan the quantity and type of fashion products to stock up on. In addition, you should note that shoppers are more likely to shop for products they need now rather than fashion products they’ll need in the future. Therefore, the right merchandise and quantity are based on current trends and the customer’s demand forecast.

Ensure the Right Time and Place

To know the right time and place for fashion merchandising, you need to pay attention to your visuals. A Standford report shows that 75% of customers determine a business’s credibility by its web designs. Therefore, use consistent brand colors and easily readable texts to ensure your fashion merchandise. Also, use images that align with your brand and display your fashion merchandise on various models. Doing this allows shoppers easily picture themselves with the merchandise. 

The right time is also essential, so you need to consider how your customers hop. For example, do they wait for promotions to purchase bulk items or shop based on color and size? With the right strategy that caters to your customer’s preferences, it will be easier for them to sift through your products and find the ideal product for them.

The Right Price

You need to balance profit and value for your pricing constantly. When creating an effective fashion merchandising strategy, pricing is the last factor you should consider. However, research showed that 60% of customers look at the price first when shopping. Therefore, you need to determine the price margin based on the item’s perceived value.

A reasonable price margin can improve sales. Therefore you need to find out the ideal amount to charge. You should put your competition into consideration when determining the right choice. Additionally, your brand identity is a strong determinant. Are you a fast fashion or luxury brand? All these factors help to maximize sales and an effective fashion merchandising process.

Best Practices for Fashion Merchandising

Now that you know the crucial principles to follow when diving into fashion merchandising, below are the best practices for merchandising that can help you maximize profits. So, without further ado, let’s take a look.

Create a Strategic Display

Fashion merchandising is highly visual. Therefore, you should be strategic about your product displays. It is similar to playing with items meticulously on your shelves in physical stores. You need to start with your homepage; think of it as a virtual window display that gives potential customers a comprehensive preview of your merchandise. 

You should also ensure that the relevant products you highlight are based on on-site interactions. For example, you can choose to display trendy merchandise, latest releases, or seasonal items. In addition, you can use recommendation engines to enhance consumers’ shopping journeys and help them find their preferences better.

Utilize Promotions to Encourage Customers

Prices are important to customers when deciding whether to make a purchase. By utilizing promotions, you’re giving consumers a reason to purchase more items as they’ll be buying at a lesser price. It is therefore not a surprise that sales and discounts drive traffic. However, you need to pick the right type of promotion for your brand.

Discounts impact your brand equity and margin. Frequent discounting can lower the brand’s value as most customers will believe you’re selling a lower quality. To preserve the value of your brand, you should ensure the promotions your implement reflect your brand’s culture.

Improve the Personalized Product Discovery

Most shoppers will prefer to go for a brand that offers them a personalized shopping experience. Therefore, adding the personalization feature to your product discovery process is profitable for brands. You can use it for recommendations, product layout pages, and search results. Personalization usually inspires potential consumers to purchase more merchandise. You can also use the product recommendation feature to draw shoppers’ attention to items that align with their preferences.

Consider the Data

Remember that consumer demands are the center of fashion merchandising. When utilized the right way, it drives trends and can help you obtain the most relevant merchandise. Most brands implement solutions based on acquired data to stay ahead of fashion trends and competitors. A data-driven solution you can utilize to maximize sales is product tagging. When you organize your products and place accurate tags on them, it’s easier to monitor their status and learn from the details.

You might find it easy to note when a shirt is selling out. However, with efficient tagging, you’ll be able to learn if every item with a particular design is also selling out. It allows you to look beyond the typical level to unique details that will help you anticipate your customers’ demands and predict future trends. Analyzing data can also help you ensure proper inventory, manufacturing, and distribution.

Fashion Merchandising – Final Thoughts

There’s usually more to fashion than just creating a design. There’s a need for planning, manufacturing, item display, and many more. Fashion merchandising covers all of this and is a deliberate process that helps to maximize sales and profit. This article provides you with the three top principles to ensure effective fashion merchandising. We also cover the best practices when diving into fashion retail merchandising. These tips will ensure an engaging and personalized customer experience that will drive up sales and significantly increase profits. 

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Fashion Merchandising – History & Best Practices  In this article, we'll explore the meaning of fashion merchandising, the key principles to note, and best practices to maximize profits.
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