AskDefine | Define merchandising

Dictionary Definition

merchandising n : the exchange of goods for an agreed sum of money [syn: selling, marketing]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. present participle of merchandise

Extensive Definition

Merchandising refers to the methods, practices and operations conducted to promote and sustain certain categories of commercial activity. The term is understood to have different specific meanings depending on the context.


In marketing, one definition 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, who 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.


Merchandising for children is most prominently seen in connection with films, 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 "He-man and the Masters of the Universe," 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).


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.)

Promotional merchandising

Merchandising, as commonly used in marketing, means maximizing merchandise sales using product selection, product design, product packaging, product pricing, and product 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.

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.

Retail supply chain

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.


See also

External links

merchandising in Catalan: Marxandatge
merchandising in German: Merchandising
merchandising in Spanish: Merchandising
merchandising in French: Merchandising
merchandising in Italian: Merchandising
merchandising in Dutch: Merchandising
merchandising in Polish: Merchandising
merchandising in Portuguese: Merchandising
merchandising in Russian: Мерчандайзинг
merchandising in Ukrainian: Мерчендайзинг

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

agency, barter, bartering, brokerage, buying and selling, consumer preference study, consumer research, consumer survey, dealing, direct-mail selling, doing business, exchange, give-and-take, hard sell, hawking, high-pressure salesmanship, horse trading, huckstering, interchange, jobbing, low-pressure salesmanship, mail-order selling, market, market research, marketing, marketing research, peddling, promotion, retail, retailing, sales, sales campaign, sales promotion, salesmanship, selling, sellout, soft sell, swapping, trade, trading, trafficking, wheeling and dealing, wholesale, wholesaling
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