Merchandising is the methods, practices, and operations used to promote and sustain certain categories of commercial activity.[1] In the broadest sense, merchandising is any practice which 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 interest and entices customers to make a purchase.


Promotional merchandising

In retail commerce, visual display merchandising means maximizing merchandise sales using product design, selection, packaging, pricing, and display that stimulates consumers to spend more. This includes disciplines in pricing and discounting, physical presentation of products and displays, and the decisions about which products should be presented to which customers at what time.This annual cycle of merchandising differs between countries and even within them, particularly relating to cultural customs like holidays, and seasonal issues like climate and local sporting and recreation. In the United States for example, the basic retail cycle begins in early January with merchandise for Valentine's Day, which is not until mid-February. Presidents' Day sales are held shortly thereafter. Following this, Easter is the major holiday, while springtime clothing and garden-related merchandise is already arriving at stores, often as early as mid-winter (toward the beginning of this section, St. Patrick's Day merchandise, including green items and products pertaining to Irish culture, is also promoted). Mothers Day and Fathers Day are next, with graduation gifts (typically small consumer electronics like digital cameras) often being marketed as "dads and grads" in June (though most college semesters end in May; the grads portion usually refers to high school graduation, which ends one to two weeks after Father's Day in many U.S. states). Summer merchandise is next, including patriotic-themed products with the American flag, out by Memorial Day in preparation for Independence Day (with Flag Day in between). By July, back-to-school is on the shelves and autumn merchandise is already arriving, and at some arts and crafts stores, Christmas decorations. (Often, a Christmas in July celebration is held around this time.) The back-to-school market is promoted heavily in August, a time when there are no holidays to promote. By September, particularly after Labor Day, the summer merchandise is on final closeout and overstock of school supplies is marked-down some as well, and Halloween (and often even more of the Christmas) merchandise is appearing. As the Halloween decorations and costumes dwindle in October, Christmas is already being pushed on consumers, and by the day after Halloween retailers are going full-force with advertising, even though the "official" season doesn't start until the day after Thanksgiving. Christmas clearance sales now begin even before Christmas at most retailers, though they usually begin on the day after Christmas and continue on at least until New Year's Day but sometimes as far out as February.

Merchandising also varies within retail chains, where stores in places like Buffalo might carry snowblowers, while stores in Florida and southern California might instead carry beach clothing and barbecue grills all year. Coastal-area stores might carry water skiing equipment, while ones near mountain ranges would likely have snow skiing and snowboarding gear if there are ski areas nearby.

Trading industry

In Eastern Europe, particularly in Russia, the term “merchandising” is commonly used within the trading industry and denotes all marketing and sales stimulation activities around PoS (point of sale): design, creation, promotion, care and training of the sales staff. Basically a merchandiser is someone who is continuously involved in business promotion by buying and selling of goods. In Asian countries such as India, this term is more synonymous with activities right from sampling or idea conception to dispatching of the shipment. It is a job description that involves leading and working with different departments within the organization, suppliers and buyers to deal with timely deadlines and accepted quality levels.

Retail supply chain

Merchandising at a Walgreens in Chicago

In the supply chain, merchandising is the practice of making products in retail outlets available to consumers, primarily by stocking shelves and displays. While this used to be done exclusively by the stores' employees, many retailers have found substantial savings in requiring it to be done by the manufacturer, vendor, or wholesaler that provides the products to the retail store. In the United Kingdom there are a number of organizations that supply merchandising services to support retail outlets with general stock replenishment and merchandising support in new stores. By doing this, retail stores have been able to substantially reduce the number of employees needed to run the store.

While stocking shelves and building displays is often done when the product is delivered, it is increasingly a separate activity from delivering the product. In grocery stores, for example, almost all products delivered directly to the store from a manufacturer or wholesaler will be stocked by the manufacturer's/wholesaler's employee who is a full time merchandiser. Product categories where this is common are Beverage (all types, alcoholic and non-alcoholic), packaged baked goods (bread and pastries), magazines and books, and health and beauty products. For major food manufacturers in the beverage and baked goods industries, their merchandisers are often the single largest employee group within the company. For nationwide branded goods manufacturers such as The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo, their respective merchandiser work forces number in the thousands.


In marketing, one of the definitions of merchandising is the practice in which the brand or image from one product or service is used to sell another. Trademarked brand names, logos, or character images are licensed to manufacturers of products such as toys or clothing, which then make items in or emblazoned with the image of the license, hoping they'll sell better than the same item with no such image.[2] For the owners of the intellectual property in question, merchandising is a very popular source of revenue, due to the low cost of letting a third party manufacture the merchandise, while the IP owners simply sit back and collect the merchandising fees.


Merchandising for children is most prominently seen in connection with films and games, usually those in current release and with television shows oriented towards children.

Merchandising, especially in connection with child-oriented films and TV shows, often consists of toys made in the likeness of the show's characters (action figures) or items which they use. However, sometimes it can be the other way around, with the show written to include the toys, as advertising for the merchandise. The first major example of this was the TV show "G.I. JOE A Real American Hero.," produced by Hasbro in the early 1980s, but this practice has been common in children's broadcasting ever since.

Sometimes merchandising from a television show can grow far beyond the original show, even lasting decades after the show has largely disappeared from popularity. In other cases, large amounts of merchandise can be generated from a pitifully small amount of source material (Mashimaro).


Example of professional sports merchandising – A Boston Celtics cap manufactured by Adidas

The most common adult-oriented merchandising is that related to professional sports teams (and their players).

A smaller niche in merchandising is the marketing of more adult-oriented products in connection with similarly adult-oriented films and TV shows. This is common especially with the science fiction and horror genres. (Examples: Star Trek, McFarlane Toys) Occasionally shows which were intended more for children find a following among adults, and you can see a bit of a crossover, with products from that show oriented towards both adults and children. (Gundam model kits)

Sometimes a brand of non-media products can achieve enough recognition and respect that simply putting its name or images on a completely unrelated item can sell that item. (An example would be Harley-Davidson branded clothing.)

Prop replicas

Yet another path official merchandising follows sometimes is the one so-called prop replica market. Mainly focused on fan-made articles, prop replicas are becoming more and more famous as users tend to collect those pieces of movie memorabilia that med/big companies do not mass-produce, reaching even higher levels of quality than certain 'licensed' replicas.

See also


  1. ^ Kunz, Grace (2005). Merchandising: Theory, Principles, And Practice. Fairchild Books. ISBN 1563673533. 
  2. ^ ABC News: Coffins bearing baseball team logos. (accessed 2007-01-06)

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Merchandising — Merchandising …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • MERCHANDISING — Ce terme anglais, dont la traduction proposée est «marchandisage», désigne l’une des fonctions du marketing: l’étude des techniques permettant d’assurer la vente des produits et des services dans les meilleures conditions. Les questions soulevées …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • merchandising — /mercendáizing/ s.n. Cercetare a dezvoltării vânzării şi a utilizării mărfurilor şi serviciilor printr o mai bună prezentare şi publicitate în rândul consumatorilor. (< engl. merchandising) Trimis de claudia, 27.08.2005. Sursa: MDN … …   Dicționar Român

  • merchandising — mer chan*dis ing, n. (Commerce) The activities associated with selling products, such as identification of the market[7], advertising at the right time in the right media[7], and creating attractive packaging and displays; also, the study of the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • merchandising — index business (commerce), commerce, commercial, mercantile, trade (commerce) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton …   Law dictionary

  • Merchandising — Merchandising,das:⇨Verkaufsförderung …   Das Wörterbuch der Synonyme

  • merchandising — (Brit.) mer·chan·dis·ing || mÉœrtʃənzɪŋ / mɜːt n. promotion of merchandise sales as an extensive function that includes market research and development of new products (also merchandizing) mer·chan·dise || mÉœrtʃəndaɪz , daɪs /… …   English contemporary dictionary

  • merchandising — |merchãdáizingue| s. m. 1. Conjunto de técnicas de marketing relativas à colocação de um produto no mercado, notadamente em relação à maneira como o produto é exposto relativamente à concorrência. 2. Estratégia de marketing que utiliza produtos… …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • merchandising — [mʉr′chəndīz΄iŋ] n. that part of marketing involved with promoting sales of merchandise, as by consideration of the most effective means of selecting, pricing, displaying, and advertising items for sale in a retail store …   English World dictionary

  • Merchandising — Le merchandising (Le terme anglais merchandising, est le plus utilisé par les professionnels du marketing en France, parfois « francisé » en « marchandisage » ou « marchandising ») s est développé consécutivement à l …   Wikipédia en Français

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