Overview and aims
Fashion buying and merchandising functions are critical areas of all fashion businesses, and key for them to accomplish the correct marketing mix. Successful buying and merchandising managers combine knowledge of products, target consumers, competitors, sales data, and the supply base, and apply this to multiple distribution channels, and across three seasons simultaneously. Irrespective of the size of an organisation, from owner/buyers of independent stores to high street multiples, buyers and merchandisers aim to purchase products which meet consumer needs and aspirations. With the acceleration of speed to market, merchandising management systems plays a central role in processing complex data to analyse consumer needs and changing patterns of buying behaviour.
Buying and merchandising practice varies considerably from one organisation to the next, and from one international region to another. Market level and market maturity, consumer demographic, culture, and climate, all require different responses to underpin sales. Strong sales performance supports brand market share in the highly competitive fashion environment.
Buying and merchandising managers need to respond and adapt to rapid changes in product trends, trading and business environments. During this module you will examine the processes and practices associated with buying and merchandising activities to determine strategies to support and improve them. You will examine a range of industry factors, and how these affect buying and merchandising planning. Buying and merchandising functions are interlinked with all the key activities associated with fashion organisations. The module will explore the interrelatedness of buying and merchandising, and how these operations impact on, and are impacted by, all areas of a fashion business.
This module aims to enable you to:
- understand the process, practice and theory associated with fashion buying and merchandising
- understand the interrelatedness of fashion buying and merchandising functions, and how core brand activities are related to buying and merchandising planning
- create ethical and sustainable buying and merchandising cultures, and embed CSR, sustainability and ethics across buying and merchandising functions
- determine micro and macro factors which impact on buying and merchandising practice and policy
- understand how marketing strategies are supported by buying and merchandising planning
- determine new innovative solutions and creative concepts to make positive impacts on fashion organisations buying and mechanising strategies and policy.
The module will examine range planning, development and presentation for fashion businesses. This knowledge will enable you to apply these practices to different market environments, across physical and on-line sales channels, and in response to the needs of diverse international consumers.
You will be challenged to critically evaluate and reflect on fashion buying and merchandising practice.
Topics to be addressed include:
- Buying activities and strategic aims
- Merchandising activities and strategic goals
- The supply environment – sourcing strategies
- The demand environment – market knowledge
- Response to global shift
- Sourcing and supply chain ethics and sustainability factors
- KPI (key performance indicators)
- Data and systems – information technology
- Future challenges
After studying this module you should be able to:
- articulate a critical understanding of the practice, theories and conceptual frameworks used to guide buying and merchandising activities in organisations
- demonstrate an appreciation of the interrelationships between buying and merchandising activities and how these impact on, or may be impacted by, wider organisational activities
- demonstrate understanding and critical awareness of the impact of ethical and sustainable practices on buying and merchandising functions
- develop a critical understanding of how macro factors affect buying and merchandising practice and policies in the global context
- apply subject knowledge, tools and techniques to resolve issues in new and diverse situations within the buying and merchandising discipline
This module will help you gain the skills and qualities to:
- analyse information in the subject and apply to diverse contexts
- communicate key issues and arguments in written and oral format to a professional standard
- effectively use information and communication technologies relevant to the international fashion industry and audience
- make decisions and exercise judgement in a fashion industry setting, and explore a range of alternative outcomes