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Drapers Next Generation: Web is vital for merchandisers

A panel of leading merchandisers urged their peers to embrace the change online has brought to the merchandising role and use it to test new price points and products.

Alison Marshall, merchandiser at value chain Matalan, said: “Adapt yourself to manage online as if it’s a separate store. It’s a faster pace of merchandising but one that allows you to take risks and see immediate results.”

Stacey Sutherland, senior merchandiser at occasionwear retailer Coast, highlighted the amount of data now available to give merchandisers stronger insights into best-sellers and consumer behaviour.

She said although buyers and merchandisers work closely on all levels, at present it is often the merchandiser that shoulders more of the ecommerce responsibilities.

Georgina Bishop, merchandiser on outerwear at menswear retailer Burton, said its biggest challenge is not online, but how to continue driving profits to the business from smaller stores.

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