How Do I Become a Merchandising Director?

Angela Crout-Mitchell
Angela Crout-Mitchell
At many stores, the merchandise director chooses which products to promote heavily, based in part on cost and on industry trends.
At many stores, the merchandise director chooses which products to promote heavily, based in part on cost and on industry trends.

There are several important skills needed to become a merchandising director for a retail company or wholesale business. Companies look for candidates with experience and the ability to correctly determine which products are going to be the most popular with the company's established and projected clientele. Some people interested in a career in merchandising and product acquisition choose to work for and obtain a bachelor's degree in a related field, while others choose to rely on experience and honing specific skills to achieve the career they desire. Many employers look for qualified candidates with a combination of both approaches, though it is not uncommon for professionals to continue formal education after beginning a merchandising career.

Many people interested in this career choose to attend a college or university in an effort to become a merchandising director. Adding an associate's or bachelor's degree to your resume can look very attractive to prospective employers in the business world. If you plan to use the degree to obtain a merchandising director's position, you may want to consider majors such as business, business administration, merchandising, or marketing. Education in any of these subjects is a good start to a retail or wholesale merchandising career, though it is not strictly required in order to break into the field.

Experience is another important and necessary component to become a merchandising director. You can acquire the necessary experience though working for a retail or wholesale company in a different capacity and learning the ropes from the senior merchandising personnel. Some candidates choose to work for a product manufacturer in the chosen field and learn more about merchandising from this unique prospective. Most prospective employers are more interested in your experience as opposed to where you obtained it.

Some specific skills are an essential part to become a merchandising director and cannot necessarily be learned in a classroom setting. One of the most sought after skills for this position are leadership. Company executives will expect their merchandising director to be able to lead the sales and marketing teams through example as well as direction. This means the successful candidate will need poise, confidence, and a genuine knowledge of merchandising to be effective.

An understanding of the public or consumers' needs and wants is another important talent needed to become a merchandising director. You will need to have a knack for choosing the right products to offer the company's clients at the right time. This skill often comes with time and experience.

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    • At many stores, the merchandise director chooses which products to promote heavily, based in part on cost and on industry trends.
      At many stores, the merchandise director chooses which products to promote heavily, based in part on cost and on industry trends.