Library of Textile, Apparel and Fashion

Merchandising structure and responsibilities of Garments Industry

Sharmin Akther Diba
Industrial & Production Engineer
Rajshahi University of Engineering & Technology (RUET)

Merchandising is the backbone of the export garments business; we cannot think about getting orders without merchandising in the garments industry. Here we are discussing merchandising types, structure, and job responsibilities. This article shall give you the full concept of garments merchandising that is clearly described here.


Merchandising process involves at least three parties:

1.       Company, who offer a product to the customer; in the broadest sense, merchandising is any practice that contributes to the sale of products to a retail consumer. At a retail in-store level, merchandising refers to the variety of products available for sale and the display of those products in such a way that it stimulates the interest of customers to make a purchase.

2.       Customers, who are targeted by the company with the help of merchandisers and

3.       Merchandisers, who place their position between the above two parties.

Factors of a merchandising cycle:

The annual cycle of merchandising differs between countries and even within them, particularly relating to cultural customs like holidays, seasonal issues like climate, local sporting, and recreation. Events such as Chinese festivals, Japanese festivals, Mother's Day and Father's Day, Valentine's Day, Easters, etc. Especially Christmas is the biggest focus worldwide that has a huge impact.

Merchandising is commonly known as 5 rights, they are:

1.       The right merchandise

2.       at the right price

3.       at the right time

4.       in the right place

5.       And in the right quantities

Merchandising is concerned with all the activities necessary to provide customers with the merchandise they want to buy, when and where they want to buy it, and at prices, they can afford and are willing to pay. The structure of merchandising task:

1.       design setting

2.       budgeting based on selling price

3.       sourcing

4.       order placement

5.       material preparation

6.       production follow up

7.       shipment

8.       distribution

9.       selling monitor

10.   re-fill store if selling is good

The structure in merchandising department:

Merchandising can be structured in numerous ways but more commonly, it is structured on the basis of:

1.       Customers

2.       Products

3.       Geography

On Basis of Customers:

Merchandisers are supposed to retain the customers and they are their representatives, so the division based on customers is very logical from this point of view.

1.       Merchandiser A: taking care of “IKEA”

2.       Merchandiser B: Taking care of “WALMART”

3.       Merchandiser C: Taking care of “LI &FUNGs”

4.       Merchandiser D: Taking care of “TESCO”

On the basis of product/ production:

1.       Yarn Merchandiser

2.       Fabric/Accessories Merchandiser

3.       Production Merchandiser

The main area of merchandising:

1.       Development

2.       Supplier Sourcing

3.       Costing

4.       Order placement

5.       Material procurement

6.       Material booking

7.       Commercial documentations follow up

8.       Material production and quality follow-up

9.       Sampling for bulk preparation

10.   Production, productivity, and quality follow-up

11.   Communicate with forwarder for on-time shipment

Based on work typology, a merchandiser can be:

1.       Fashion merchandiser

2.       Export merchandiser

3.       Retail merchandiser

Fashion Merchandiser: Fashion merchandising involves all the activities starting from fashion forecasting, design, and product development.

Apparel Export Merchandiser: Apparel export merchandising may be defined as ‘all the planning & activities involved right from the buyer communication & order receiving till the execution or shipment of the order.

Retail Merchandiser: Retail merchandising involves all the activities related to direct selling of products or services to the ultimate consumers or users of the product for personal, non-business purposes. Retail merchandisers act as an intermediate between the ultimate consumers and wholesalers.

Functions of apparel/ garment export merchandiser:

1.       Communication

2.       Forecasting

3.       Sourcing & Purchasing

4.       Negotiation

5.       Costing

6.       Planning

7.       Follow up

8.       Decision making

9.       Controlling

10.   Coordination

Duties and responsibilities of a garment merchandiser:

Development and Costing:

1.       Reviewing the development packs RCVD from a buyer.

2.       Put the developments into work with the product development team.

3.       Clarify all necessary info with the buyer as much as possible.

4.       Follow up on the delivered sample deadline.

5.       Work out the initial costing (all costing must be checked by the merchandising manager)

6.       Price negotiation with the buyer.

7.       Follow up with buyer requirement the feedback of the sample and costing.

Order Confirmation:

1.       Quoting the delivery dates to the buyer after checking the factory’s capacity situation.

2.       Checking all the details in the order sheet once received from a buyer.

3.       Communicate with buyer reg. any discrepancy in the order sheet.

4.       Passing the correct order sheet to all concerned dept. i.e. planning, production, commercial, etc.


1.       Updating production development team reg. different sample requirements of buyers at various stages (salesman, fit, size set, pp sample, etc.)

2.       Arrange all fabric + trims which are required for sampling purposes.

3.       Coordinating with print, embroidery, washing units for sampling.

4.       Checking all the technical aspects of samples before releasing them to customers.

5.       Checking all the aesthetic aspects of samples before releasing to the customer

6.       Checking the quantity requirement of each sample.

7.       Checking the necessary paperwork for each sample.

8.       Follow up with buyer reg. each sample comments and conveys the comments to production people.

Fabric Management:

1.       Work out the consumption for each new style from CAD.

2.       Provide fabric booking to the fabric department with the correct quantity and all necessary information.

3.       Follow up on the lab dips/strike-off submission and chase approval comments.

4.       Follow up on the fabric delivery against critical path

5.       Follow up on all fabric approval-related issues.

6.       Prioritizing the fabric delivery schedule based on the garment delivery

Bulk Trim:

1.       Preparing the trims to cost sheet/checklist for individual trims required for a style.

2.       Chasing the trim details from the buyer.

3.       Submitting required trims to a buyer for approval.

4.       Provide booking for individual trims to the approved source.

5.       Chasing the P/I from the supplier to ensure on-time delivery.

6.       Monitoring the B2B L/C or TT payment status.

7.       Sourcing all trim from the most commercially viable source.

8.       Follow up with suppliers to ensure on-time delivery.

9.       Liaise with store in order to ensure all trims RCVD incorrect quantity and quality.


1.       Chasing the correct artwork for all print/embroidery from a buyer.

2.       Developing the design in the best possible method

3.       Provide capacity booking to print /embroidery plant in advance.

4.       Submitting print/embroidery strike off for buyer’s approval

5.       Passing approved copy of the strike off to the print/embroidery plant.

6.       Negotiating the price with the subcontractors.

7.       Monitoring the panels sent and receive dates to ensure smooth production flow

8.       Communicate with suppliers for general issues.

Filing and Correspondence:

1.       Maintaining style file for all running orders

2.       Maintaining the development file.

3.       General correspondence with buyers and suppliers.

4.       Critical correspondence with buyer and suppliers

5.       Weekly updates for buyers, such as audit schedules, production status, VSL booking, etc.


1.       Meeting with foreign buyers and suppliers.

2.       Meeting with local buyers and suppliers.

3.       Meeting with trims suppliers.

4.       Internal meeting with production, planning, quality etc.

5.       Meeting with commercial & shipping department if needed.

The key merchandising competency:

1.       Communication – LISTENING AND DELIVERING

2.       Negotiation skill with customer and supplier

3.       Product knowledge

4.       Production knowledge

5.       Sourcing power

6.       Basic commercial knowledge

7.       Team player

8.       Time management

9.       Stress management

10.   Diversity of knowledge specially different retails strategy

11.   Escalation at right time

12.   Creativity etc.