Studying retail merchandise management provides graduates with a number of career and job opportunities in the business and retail industry sectors. These range from entry-level positions to managerial and executive positions. Retail management is all about making shopping easy and enjoyable for customers; understanding the psychology of buying and the processes that bring products to the marketplace is essential to studying retail merchandise management. There are any number of retail specializations in this field and with new products always appearing, shifts in lifestyle trends, and burgeoning online sales, this is a dynamic and exciting industry to be part of.

Qualifications in retail merchandise management can be achieved via university degree level programs, and are also available from community colleges and technical colleges. Qualification titles include:

  • Associate of Science in Merchandising Management

  • Bachelor of Arts in Retail Merchandising

  • Bachelor of Science in Retail Merchandising and Management

  • Associate in Applied Science in Merchandising and Retail Management

  • Diploma in Retail Management

  • Certificate in Retail Management

The core subjects required in studying retail merchandise management cover the following areas:

  • Buying for retail markets – planning, buying and controlling for target markets; inventory turnover and profit

  • Buyer behavior – consumer behavior; psychology of buying; social trends; product research

  • Retail logistics – buying, transporting, storage and distribution; packaging; costs

  • Retail technology – e-commerce and online shopping; technological innovations and trends

  • Retail management processes – planning, implementing, and monitoring operations

  • Marketing – advertising; brand management; publicity; social media; consumer awareness

  • Specializations – industry sectors you are most interested in working in

You would also expect to find a range of business subjects such as accounting and finance, communication, management, planning, and economics that would be part of the studying retail merchandise management.

Before deciding upon the best course for you, think about the types of career and job opportunities that graduation will open up for you.

When you have finished studying retail merchandise management there will be a number of career paths and opportunities for you to consider, including:

  • Retail Assistant

  • Retail Manager

  • Operations Manager

  • Merchandise Manager

  • Retail Buyer

  • Sales Manager

  • Opening and running your own retail business.

In addition to the above types of roles and positions, you have a choice on which industry sector to work in – fashion, food, grocery, home and lifestyle, technology, and so on.

You need to determine where you want to start in retail – for example do you want to start with an internship and work your way up, or do you want to get in at a managerial level? This will help you decide whether starting with a certificate-level qualification or a bachelor’s degree is the way forward for you.

Check whether the course you are looking at has industry accreditation and/ or links to industry associations. For example, when you complete your course will you be eligible for membership to any management associations or networks that can help you advance your career?

Check out whether the educational institution provides career services to help you find jobs or start-up your own business.

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