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Overview

Shopaholics unite! If the mall could be your second home—not for the sale racks but because you’re fascinated by what makes people buy what they do and how their decisions are influenced—have we got the major for you. As a merchandising and buying operations major, you’ll explore the customers’ innermost desires and needs—and how best to meet them. You’ll keep up with the latest trends, examine how the fickle market responds to various factors, and discover what it takes for retailers and wholesalers to survive and thrive. You’ll learn how to analyze merchandising data and be able to crunch numbers to determine possible trends and changes in the market. You’ll learn how to plan sales, how to manage inventory, and how to skillfully evaluate and select merchandise. You’ll gain the skills necessary to artfully (and wisely) develop, buy, and present retail products, from fashion to home furnishings.

The field of merchandising and buying operations (often listed individually at some colleges) is concerned with the entire buying experience. That includes all the decisions and elements that go into a customer’s journey—from entering the store to examining the merchandise to making a decision to making the actual purchase. Plus, you’ll be set to build an entire career out of shopping if that’s your wish. This major will prepare you to function as a professional buyer of resale products and product lines for stores, chains, or other retail empires. You’ll be primed for any number of careers in the merchandising world—a sales representative, a buyer, a store manager, or a boutique owner. You might go the route of business analysis, or find yourself involved in catalog retail. The possibilities are far-ranging and exciting, and your newly developed eye for smart merchandising strategies will put you on the path to success.

SAMPLE CURRICULUM

  • Accounting

  • Buyer Behavior

  • Consumer Studies

  • Customer Service

  • Dress, Society, and Culture

  • Macroeconomics

  • Mathematics

  • Microeconomics

  • Nonstore Retailing

  • Principles of Marketing

  • Private Label Merchandising

  • Retail Buying

  • Retail Promotion

  • Textile Analysis

  • Visual Merchandising


HIGH SCHOOl PREPARATION

To prepare for a major in merchandising and buying operations, you should build a foundation of knowledge in math, science, languages, and the humanities. Communication skills are vital to this major, so take English courses to strengthen your writing and speaking skills. Math courses will prepare you for the business side of this major, and art courses will prepare you for the creative side. Take courses that challenge and interest you.