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Overview of the role

Sourcing, selecting, maintaining and delivering the right products to meet demand and business objectives

Assistant buyer / Assistant merchandiser (degree)

Details of standard

Occupation summary

This occupation is typically found in the retail sector, across a range of different types of companies and employers such as those selling direct to the public / consumer and those selling to trade. It is also found across different types of retail operation, including those who trade from traditional stores, those who are exclusively on-line, and those who operate through a variety of channels.


The purpose of the occupation is to understand the brand and customer in order to source, select, maintain and deliver the right products to meet demand and business objectives. Using effective business forecasting, risk / opportunity analysis, creativity and business insight, they anticipate and shape customer demand and market trends. The overarching purpose of buyers is to identify and source the right products and services, in line with the organisations strategic objectives, for the organisation to sell to customers.The overarching purpose of the merchandiser is to maximise sales and profit by ensuring that the right products are available to customers in the right place at the right time and in the right quantities. They achieve their objectives by developing and implementing buying / merchandising strategies to ensure current and future customer demand is researched, anticipated and satisfied. They anticipate and prepare for new markets through customer insight and research activities, and they contribute to company profit through efficient, effective and sustainable buying / merchandising.

In this occupation, individuals would normally interact with a wide range of internal and external colleagues, including but not limited to, their wider buying and merchandising team, designers, manufacturers, suppliers, distribution centres, stores, marketing, finance and IT departments. This is normally an office-based role, but may involve remote working, travel to stores, trade fairs, supplier meetings etc. There may also be a need for travel to other countries for supplier / factory meetings. There will usually be a significant leadership element to the role.


In this occupation, they will typically be responsible for the management of a team. They will be responsible for an assigned ‘assortment’ or product range. They will have budget responsibility, which varies significantly across different employers and departments, but could reach £100m+.

Typical job titles include:

Assistant buyer, Assistant Merchandiser, Buyer, Merchandiser

This standard has options. Display duties and KSBs for:

Core Occupation duties

Duty

KSBs

Duty 1 Creatively manage a portfolio of products / services to ensure that the critical path(s) for the assortment is (are) followed, taking appropriate corrective actions to resolve issues as needed.

K1 K2 K3 K4

S1 S2 S3 S4

B1 B5

Duty 2 Apply detailed knowledge of UK and / or global markets to select and develop an appropriate product / service range.

K5 K6 K7

S5 S6

B1

Duty 3 Through effective leadership, develop and contribute to departmental buying / merchandising strategy to ensure overarching organisation objectives are met and that products / services meet the needs of the customer.

K8 K9 K10 K11

S7 S8

B2

Duty 4 Take account of emerging technological changes in design and delivery as well as new markets to maximise market share and profitability.

K7 K12

S9

B1 B5

Duty 5 Make informed managerial decisions that manage risk, drive sales and profitability, taking into account the requirements of different customer / delivery channels.

K13 K14

S6 S10 S11

B2

Duty 6 Drive sales and profitability through effective negotiations with suppliers on key deliverables such as: capacity, cost price and flexibility, re-buys, cancellations, delivery dates, lead times, promotion support etc.

K15 K16 K47

S12 S50

B4

Duty 7 Manage and collaborate with key internal stakeholder functions to agree appropriate promotional strategies and other activities to maximise the success / profitability of the allocated assortment.

K17 K18

S13 S14

B1

Duty 8 Deliver robust range building and planning for the assigned assortment, linking it in to the wider operation of the buying and merchandising function.

K19

S15

B2

Duty 9 Lead, coach, manage, motivate and develop self and team members to achieve personal and business success.

K20 K21 K46 K49

S16 S17 S18 S49

B3

Duty 10 Ensure all channels to market are considered and the most appropriate channel(s) is/are selected to maximise the sales and profit potential.

K22 K23

S19 S20

B2

Option Duties


Assistant Buyer duties

Duty

KSBs

Duty 11 Developing own brand products to meet current trends / customer requirements, linked to strategy and financial targets.

K23 K24 K25

S21 S22 S23 S24

B1

Duty 12 Ensure department is set up to maximise sales / profitability by using techniques such as pricing strategies, product trends, product design and appropriate routes to market.

K26 K27 K28

S25 S26

B3

Duty 13 Ensure they and their team deliver in an ethical, sustainable and legal way in the sourcing of product ranges, aligned to the overall strategy of the business.

K29 K32

S27

B3

Duty 14 Analyse and evaluate overall performance of the Buying function, against the original strategy and business plan, identifying lessons to learn for future business cycles.

K3 K4 K30

S28 S29

B2

Duty 15 Ensure ranges are sourced to comply with relevant safety and quality standards. Oversee the process to identify and rectify any failures in safety and / or quality.

K31 K32 K33

S30 S31

B2

Duty 16 Source and select 3rd party products to meet current trends / customer requirements, linked to strategy and financial targets.

K2 K25

S32

B2


Assistant Merchandiser duties

Duty

KSBs

Duty 17 Uses analysis to develop range framework identifying commercial opportunities. Collaborate with the buying team to input into or create a plan to deliver a commercial assortment that maximises sales and margin

K34 K35

S33 S34 S35 S36

B1

Duty 18 Ensure they and their team work in an ethical and legal way in the supply of product ranges, aligned to the overall strategy of the business.

K32 K36 K37

S37 S38 S39

B3

Duty 19 Trades effectively delivering to sales and profit targets whilst identifying and taking relevant actions, to account for market and performance factors.

K38 K39 K40

S40 S41 S42

B2

Duty 20 Analyse and evaluate overall performance of the merchandising function, against the original strategy and business plan, identifying lessons to learn for future business cycles in order to maximise sales

K4 K30 K41 K48

S43 S44 S45

B2

Duty 21 Ensure the availability of appropriate product range to meet customer demand and expectations across all delivery channels. This to be achieved, through detailed forecasting, and management of the WSSI, supplier interaction and critical path management

K42 K43 K44 K45

S46 S47 S48

B2


KSBs

Knowledge

K1: Understands the overall product portfolio and brand image that the company is promoting to the customer, and can purchase / merchandise the products accordingly. Back to Duty

K2: Understands how to identify current and future buying and loyalty behaviours of existing and potential customer groups for core products and third party products Back to Duty

K3: Understands the impact of the buying critical path on the effective operation of the buying function. Understands the concept and impact of new product development. Back to Duty

K4: Understands when a product / product range has reached the end of its lifecycle, and acts appropriately to ensure its removal from the product range. Back to Duty

K5: Understands the key factors that influence UK and global markets, including economic and political activity Back to Duty

K6: Understands how different business models, buying cycles, trading models and customer groups can affect the buying and merchandising process. Back to Duty

K7: Understands the impact of emerging technological changes, for example AI, in terms of how product is sourced, how buying and merchandising processes might be improved, and how they might impact on customers, Back to Duty

K8: Understands what factors contribute to the strategic development of the buying and merchandising function,and how through their leadership, they can influence the development of the strategy Back to Duty

K9: Understands the key factors that influence the quality of a product and tolerance levels. Back to Duty

K10: Understands the strategic implications for product range development, and the appropriate courses of action available. Back to Duty

K11: Understands the importance of ensuring that at all stages of the buying and merchandising process, the product is fit for purpose and meets company standards Back to Duty

K12: Understands impact of new and evolving purchasing options across different fulfilment channels. Back to Duty

K13: Understands the main influencers on sales and profit growth, and can lead the team to achieve them. Back to Duty

K14: Understands the key financial levers and ratios that affect profitability, and can manage the team to ensure that profit is maximized. Back to Duty

K15: Understands the key deliverables associated with the buying and merchandising function, such as cost return rates, re-buys, cancellations, debit agreements, delivery dates, lead times etc. Back to Duty

K16: Understands the importance of effective negotiation and managing an ongoing relationship, including with designers, manufacturers and suppliers. Back to Duty

K17: Understands the importance of effective partnerships with other functions and departments, such as Merchandising, Sales and Finance, and leads the team to ensure that the outcomes from the relationships are maximized. Back to Duty

K18: Knows when to make appropriate refer decisions to senior executives in order to obtain the correct level of authorisation. Back to Duty

K19: Understands why effective planning and forecasting are vital to delivering a robust range plan, such as aspects of customer demand and changes in buying patterns. Back to Duty

K20: Understands the importance of, and strategies to, lead, coach, motivate and develop members of the team Back to Duty

K21: Understands the importance of leadership style and self - development, on the success of the business Back to Duty

K22: Knows how to identify the customer’s current and future needs and purchasing trends, including ethical and sustainable retailing Back to Duty

K23: Understands how different channels of delivery, buying cycles, trading models and customer groups can affect the buying and merchandising process. Back to Duty

K24: Understand how to identify current and future buying and loyalty behaviours of existing and potential customer groups. Back to Duty

K25: Understands key Buying analysis criteria such as, competitor benchmarking, price comparison, and competitor analysis. Back to Duty

K26: Understands the roles that techniques such as business planning, pricing strategies, product design and product manufacture, often in a global context, have on the overall success of the business Back to Duty

K27: Understands the need to develop and implement innovative and responsive processes and systems to customer's digital demands. Back to Duty

K28: Understands the requirements of delivering to the most appropriate route to market. Back to Duty

K29: Understands the potential problems that can arise from non-legal and ethical compliance and options for mitigation. Back to Duty

K30: Understands the concept and impact of new product development. Back to Duty

K31: Understands the importance of onboarding new suppliers to ensure full compliance with internal and external standards Back to Duty

K32: Understand where additional corporate requirements are needed to enhance compliance practice Back to Duty

K33: Understands the process that is required to ensure the rectification of any failures Back to Duty

K34: Understands how to effectively utilise data in order to identify commercial opportunities for their organisation Back to Duty

K35: Understands the importance of working together with other teams (especially buying) Back to Duty

K36: Understands the potential problems that can arise in merchandising and how they can be mitigated. Back to Duty

K37: Understands concepts such as ‘Modern Slavery’ and how they might impact on the business Back to Duty

K38: Understands allocation strategies and ensure effective data inputting Back to Duty

K39: Understands how to interrogate data in order to make effective trading decisions Back to Duty

K40: Understand merchandising concepts such as ‘fixturisation’, and the effective use of space Back to Duty

K41: Understands the impact of effective forecasting on the operation of the merchandising function. Back to Duty

K42: Understands in depth, the purpose of the critical path Back to Duty

K43: Understands supplier data, such as delivery intakes , packaging requirements etc. Back to Duty

K44: : Understand differing requirements across all methods of delivery (eg instore and on line) Back to Duty

K45: Understands the principles of having the right stock in the right place at the right time, in order to satisfy customer demand. Back to Duty

K46: Understands the impact that they have as a leader on the business,. Back to Duty

K47: Knows how to effectively build relationships with key external stakeholders Back to Duty

K48: Understands how to review and revise a system that is not functioning correctly Back to Duty

K49: Knows how to utilise different communication techniques Back to Duty

Skills

S1: Apply understanding of customer and business operations to inform decisions on product / service portfolio management. Back to Duty

S2: Selects and merchandises products that enhance the company brand image and product portfolio. Back to Duty

S3: Anticipates the need for products and ensures that the buying process enables their effective delivery to the customer Back to Duty

S4: Delivers and articulates supported recommendations regarding the introduction or withdrawal of a product / product range. Back to Duty

S5: Analyse and react to main influences on Buying and Merchandising plans, taking appropriate actions as a result. Back to Duty

S6: Leads the team to construct the key buying and merchandising objectives and plans for the specific product range to reach or exceed sales at forecasted levels. Back to Duty

S7: Makes appropriate managerial decisions to ensure the departmental approach to selecting products / services balances quality and commerciality Back to Duty

S8: Uses management -based monitoring procedures throughout the buying / merchandising process, taking account of legal and other requirements to ensuring product compliance is maintained. Back to Duty

S9: Critically evaluate and advocate opportunities presented by new technologies taking account of how they will impact on the product range, fulfilment and consumer behaviour. Back to Duty

S10: Analyses appropriate cost / income influences on buying and merchandising plans to make informed decisions Back to Duty

S11: Through their influence as a leader, looks to use digital opportunities to drive sales and profitability across all channels where appropriate Back to Duty

S12: Demonstrates how to negotiate in a manner that obtains the optimum outcome for the business Back to Duty

S13: Through their leadership and management of the team, demonstrates a strategic approach to the relationship with other departments. Back to Duty

S14: Anticipates potential problems and opportunities through the effective liaison at the appropriate level with other teams / functions. Back to Duty

S15: Critically reviews and revises plans and forecasts for the function, taking into account the latest trend analyses, to produce the range. Back to Duty

S16: Develops and implements a ‘People Plan’, that is effective in ensuring sufficient team capacity and capabilities to deliver on business objectives Back to Duty

S17: Demonstrates an effective leadership style in achieving the key business objectives. Back to Duty

S18: Ensure continuous personal and team development to enhance delivery Back to Duty

S19: By using data, analyse and predict the customer’s current and future needs and purchasing trends, including how the customer journey is impacted Back to Duty

S20: Using critical research, construct a customer engagement plan identifying the effective and profitable channels to market. Back to Duty

S21: Assesses and implements the relevant approach required from a buying and merchandising strategy, to take account of differing types of delivery channel, product and customer. Back to Duty

S22: Using critical research, construct a customer engagement plan identifying the effective channels to market. Back to Duty

S23: Work in partnership with the customer engagement team to achieve better outcomes for both existing and new customer groups. Back to Duty

S24: Analyses the key buying criteria to help shape the planned product range Back to Duty

S25: Critically evaluates the current and future methods of digital delivery, and anticipates customer changes in respect of the use of digital and Artificial Intelligence Back to Duty

S26: Being able to implement techniques such as business planning, pricing strategies, product design and product manufacturing to maximise sales and profitably Back to Duty

S27: Ensures that the organisation’s ethical and legal policies and procedures are monitored and adhered to by the team and suppliers. Back to Duty

S28: Anticipates the need for products and to ensure that the buying process enables their effective delivery to the customer Back to Duty

S29: Can articulate a supported recommendation regarding the introduction or withdrawal of a product / product range. Back to Duty

S30: Ensures compliance with company operating standards in the sourcing of range. Back to Duty

S31: Can identify when problems are likely to occur, and manage action required to resolve them. Back to Duty

S32: Effectively analyses the key buying criteria to help shape the planned product range for 3rd party products Back to Duty

S33: Has the ability to ensure that the right product is available at the right time, in the right place. Back to Duty

S34: Produces and delivers accurate forecasts which demonstrate creative and ambitious suggestions for future strategy Back to Duty

S35: Demonstrates customer insight in preparing forecasts Back to Duty

S36: Demonstrates the activities needed to ensure that the forecast is underpinned by financial considerations and business strategy. Back to Duty

S37: Ensures that the organisation’s ethical and legal policies and procedures are adhered to. Back to Duty

S38: Ensures that all team members operate within current legal guidance. Back to Duty

S39: Operates to, and ensures relevance of company operating standards Back to Duty

S40: Makes commercial decisions based on product, category and departmental performance Back to Duty

S41: Maximises every trading opportunity in order to deliver sound commercial outcomes for the organisation Back to Duty

S42: Using IT skills, develop strong spreadsheet / pivot table creation knowledge to enhance and optimize reporting and analysis data, so as to improve sales and profitability. Back to Duty

S43: Anticipates the need for products and ensures that the buying process enables their effective delivery to the customer Back to Duty

S44: Prepare executive level reports on current and forecasted performance, and using advanced presentation skills, ensure the communication of the outcomes is delivered in the most effective and profitable way. Back to Duty

S45: Effectively liaises with other key stakeholders to ensure a joined-up approach across the business. Back to Duty

S46: Delivers to the critical path plan in order to ensure that delivery deadlines are met, and that intakes meet stock levels Back to Duty

S47: Delivers timely and accurate forecasts to ensure that customer needs are met. Back to Duty

S48: Communicates directly with suppliers to ensure receipt of stock Back to Duty

S49: Demonstrate effective problem solving and time management skills, and an expert written and verbal communication style Back to Duty

S50: : Assess the impact that they have on key external relationships, and adjusts their style to ensure that they achieve maximum benefit for the business Back to Duty

Behaviors

B1: Acts as an ambassador for the buying and merchandising function and the business Back to Duty

B2: As a leader, Is resilient, responsible, commercially aware and takes the initiative Back to Duty

B3: Seeks opportunities to develop themselves and the team Back to Duty

B4: Builds relationships across the whole function and beyond. Back to Duty

B5: Is creative in their approach to the role Back to Duty


Qualifications

English & Maths

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.


Additional details

Occupational Level:

6

Duration (months):

24

Review

This apprenticeship standard will be reviewed after three years

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 6
Degree: non-integrated degree
Reference: ST0668
Version: 1
Date updated: 20/12/2019
Approved for delivery: 16 July 2019
Route: Sales, marketing and procurement
Typical duration: 24 months
Maximum funding: £10000
Options: Assistant Buyer, Assistant Merchandiser
Trailblazer contact(s): linda.guthrie@steinhoffretail.co.uk
Employers involved in creating the standard: Ocado, Steinhoff UK Ltd, Allen Apprenticeships and Skills, The Fashion Retail Academy, People 1st, Superdrug, Arcadia, M&S, Debenhams, JD Sports, John Lewis, Co-operative Group, Sainsburys, Mothercare, Travis Perkins, Retail Trust

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Version log

Version Date updated Change Previous version
1 20/12/2019 Updated structure Previous version
1 16/07/2019 Assessment plan and funding band first published

Not available

1 13/02/2019 Standard first published

Not available

1 15/01/2018 Initial creation

Not available