The Difference between Merchandising and Sales: Everything You Need to Know

Read this article and discover the difference between merchandising and sales! Get answers to your questions and find out everything you need to know!

If you are interested in starting a new retail business, you are going to come across two very important terms – merchandising and sales, which is why it is essential to understand their true meaning and to know what is the difference between these two terms. Both terms are part of the marketing mix or product, price, promotion, and place or also known as the channels of distribution. Even though these two functions are related, there are a few key differences you should be aware of.

  • Merchandising – This is the process of presenting and promoting products for sale in ways that affect buyer’s buying decisions in a retail environment. The process involves building eye-catching displays that attract the attention of prospective buyers, establishing the optimal shelf location for each product you sell, and using signage to offer product information, pricing, and other details. Merchandising also includes the selection of the product mix to carry in your store. Promotions and special pricing are also a part of the merchandising process.
  • Sales – The sales process happens when the customer selects the product he would like to purchase and completes the buying transaction. In the retail industry, the stores usually use salespeople to help customers complete the sales or the purchase process. The salespeople assist in implementing the merchandising program of the store by doing tasks such as presenting current discounts and sales promotions and etc. In a lot of stores, the salespeople are also responsible for performing merchandising functions cush as arranging products on shelves and building displays.

Even though merchandising and sales are two different terms, the truth is that they are closely related. We can say that effective merchandising leads to sales and profits, even without the assistance of the salespeople, as it indicates consumers to complete the buying process.

Although workers in the retail industry may be required to perform merchandising and sales functions, there are a few differences in the skills needed for both of them. The merchandising usually requires creative skills such as making merchandise appear as attractive as possible or the ability to come up with fresh ideas for new displays, while the sales function requires professional and strong presentation skills to convince customers to make a purchase.