Merchandising –Introduction, role, functions, types
Mrs. Manju is on a visit to the neighborhood store. It sells a variety of daily essentials. She asked for jam. The merchant in the store brought it to her from the shelf at the back of the counter. She paid the bill and left the store with the bottle of jam. We notice that the merchant sold merchandise – “jam” to Mrs. Manju. If the jam is in the store, Mrs. Manju will not know of its existence. She is aware of it only when the merchant showed it personally. Consider also that as the bottle of jam is on display on the shelf at the back of the counter, when Mrs. Manju entered the store she saw it from a distance. When she asked for it, the merchant readily brought the bottle to her. Sometimes, even this will not help sell. Because Mrs. Manju wants, apple fruit jam but what the merchant showed is mixed fruit. She does not need it. There is no stock of apple jam in the store. We see in this example the sale process. First, it is only jam and sale. However, when it is specified as apple jam, no sale took place. All other acts of the process of sale took place. The bottle is on display and the merchant attended to the customer. He showed the bottle (merchandise) to the customer. The merchant did not have the right product at the right time when the customer wanted it. Let us consider another scenario. The merchant showed apple jam bottle to Mrs. Manju. It is a 200 gms container but, she wants a 500 gms bottle. It is not available in the store. Mrs. Manju is unable to get the right quantity she wanted. Also, consider that Mrs. Manju wants to buy Kissan brand jam. But in the store other brands John & Smith, Maggie, and Rex are available. So the right choice is not available. Lastly, the price she wants to pay is Rs 60.The prices of the other brands available in the store are Rs 70, Rs 75 and Rs 68. The price is not right which the customer is willing to pay. In this example, the products are on display, the merchant offered service, but the right product, right quantity, right choice and right price are not available. The process of retailing as described here is called merchandising.
There is more to it in the apparel world, like color, size, style, shape, fit, fabric, season and fashion play a major role in the process of retailing over and above the above described conditions. Hence apparel retailing and merchandising is described by the Fashion Technology Institute, New York as “No matter how eye-catching, glamorous, or fashionable, clothes and accessories don't sell themselves. They've got to be in the right location at the right time and right price, where the customers most interested in that particular style will get to see them and make a purchase. That's where merchandising comes in.” It means no product sells by itself. Even at an Auto show, each automobile on display is exhibited by a glamorous model. Of course, the display matters sometimes. At a shopping mall, a dress made of silk satin with real mother-of-pearl and gold and silver thread was on display. However, of the three thousand visitors over a week, only twenty five happened to see the dress. The reason – it was located among other dresses. The store manager realized the problem, and displayed the dress on a mannequin and placed it in the center of the store. The same day it was sold for Rs.52, 800. It’s not only the right product but displaying it at the right place is equally important. Take the case of a pair of trousers. A leading national brand has a price tag that reads Rs.1, 800. A brand not so popular is priced at Rs.1, 200. If they are on display together, the customer who is not brand conscious will pick up the less expensive of the two. However, if they are displayed at different locations, chances are the popular brand will sell more despite the price for its brand name. The right product offered at the right place and at the right price sells better. Consider the case of a...
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