Fashion merchandising is the promotion of apparel sales and involves all tasks necessary to deliver the clothing on request and meet the needs of potential customers and designers. Developing cam-paigns, displays and advertisements, directing, manufacturing and marketing, and creating sales strate-gies, are all part of the inside game. Fashion merchandising also refers to the necessary preparation that must be done in order to ensure, that the merchandise is accessible and appealing to the customers it is intended for.
Fashion marketing and fashion merchandising go hand-in-hand. Fashion merchandising must also be able to predict styles and trends and evaluate the needs of a target market. The fashion marketer identifies such needs in order to build more successful advertising campaigns, to attract consumers. However, the fashion merchandiser is responsible for actually buying the clothes and presenting them in the stores.
Fashion merchandisers must also be very creative and possess forward thinking. One of the jobs of a fashion merchandiser is 'Visual Merchandising'. Fashion merchandising requires a blend of fashion sense and business expertise.
Seasonal fashion merchandising refers to the process of merchandising that is the management of products and stocks according to the seasonal trends or fashion prevailing in the market. Seasonal fashion merchandising is fast becoming the mantra in the Indian retail scenario.
Seasonal fashion merchandising has its own benefits as well as limitations. The following points analyse the concept as a whole:
In order to generate more sales through seasonal forecasting, it is necessary to be able to forecast the market trends accurately.
Timeliness is the key to successful seasonal merchandising, while deciding to stock a particular product, and bringing a trend earlier than its time. At the same time, it is needed to ensure that there is no stocking of an outdated item.
While undertaking seasonal merchandising, the merchandiser has a fair idea of what customers each type of seasonal product would attract. Sometimes, products that are in fashion might attract only a specific class of customers, while some other products might attract a large number of customers. This gives an idea of how much the product should be stocked and also how overstocking and under stocking could be avoided.
You should have well-planned strategies for risk management, in order to make seasonal mer-chandising successful. In the case of overstocking, you should take into account ways for stock clear-ance, discounts and exploring other potential markets. Some retailers have well-defined sections, such as core products and seasonal products. Core products are the basic or classic products offered by the retailer, while seasonal products are those that are currently in fashion.
Quality does not always means spending a lot of money. Many manufacturers and retailers add these 'quality details' on apparel at numerous price levels.
Always remember, quality can be found at any price level.
Fabric is the basic foundation of apparel. Fabric is woven by yarns, which run up-and-down, or across. When apparel is cut from the fabric, it should run up-and-down and across too. Some-times if the apparel is not cut correctly it actually causes clothing to twist around the body. This is called off-grain, and cannot be corrected.
Manufacturers sometimes use bias cut sections to cut costs. Bias cut apparel, is exceptionally difficult to sew, and tends to stretch out of shape, or hang unevenly at the hem, or sag, comprising quality.
Patterned fabrics should match along seam lines in both directions, across and up-and-down. Matching indicates quality because of the additional fabric and labour involved in cutting and sewing.
Colours should match between pieces and is an indicator of quality. Fabric, thread, buttons, zip-pers and even elastic, should match, function and be durable.
Seams within a garment should be securely sewn. Check to make sure threads have not popped or ruptured along all seams.
Design features within apparel can also help you judge the quality.
Collars should be smooth as they lay against the body.
Sleeves need to be of sufficient width so that the arm can comfortably move, and the sleeves must be long enough to cover the wrist when bent.
Waistlines or waistbands should appear smooth and even around the body. Fold lines along the waistband, indicates the band is too small for the wearer.
Hems should appear without puckers along with the garment, of even width around the garment, and be inconspicuous from the front side.
Closures such as buttons, zippers, and hook-and-loop tape should function and be durable. Clo-sures should not 'gap' when worn.
Fit of the garment to the wearer is the final indicator of a quality decision. Alterations if needed can be an additional expense, be sure to check the fit by sitting, walking and bending with the garment on the body.
Merchandising processes differ for individual firms according to business strategies, product types and technologies employed. Merchandisers in small firms may be responsible for planning the line, and developing it, and presenting it at wholesale. Merchandisers in large firms may be responsible primarily for planning the line, while the design staff carries outline development.
The primary components of merchandising activities include line planning, line development and line presentation.
Line planning is the formulation of the parameters, the guideline, and development, and presenta-tion and influences sourcing and production processes. Line planning has subcategories, including evalu-ating merchandise mix, forecasting merchandise offerings, planning merchandise budgets and merchan-dise assortments and analysing and updating merchandise plants. The line plan defines and limits the line.
Line development has subcategories of line concept, creative design, line adoption, and technical design. Line development includes determining the actual merchandise that will fill out the line plan through some combination of product development and/or selecting finished goods at wholesale. Line development identifies merchandise that implements the line plan.
Line presentation, with subcategories of internal (meaning within a firm), wholesale (meaning through interaction at wholesale markets or with personal calls by sales representatives), and retail (including the many different retail formats and components of presentation), involves processes required to evaluate the line and make the line visible and salable. Line presentation results, in evaluation and sale of the product offering.
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