Marketing vs Merchandising
Marketing, merchandising, and sales are three words that are very confusing for the students of MBA and for all those who are starting a retail business. This is because of the many similarities between marketing and merchandising, both of which are tools to achieve higher sales of products and services. Despite the evident overlap and the similarities, there are subtle differences between marketing and merchandising that will be highlighted in this article.
What is Marketing?
Marketing is a set of activities that begin with identification of need of the product or service and ends with taking the product to the customer and keeping him happy with it. Marketing is not merely promoting a product or service to create the need for it among the targeted consumers but anticipating and satisfying the needs of the customers while at the same time keeping an eye upon the goals of the organization. Marketing may have originated from the old concept of going to a market place to buy or sell a product or service, but today it has become a very broad term that encompasses production and distribution, in addition to advertisement and actual selling.
What is Merchandising?
Merchandising is a subset of marketing. It is the process of presenting the products to the buyer in such a manner so as to affect his buying pattern. It is a very subtle process that affects the buying decisions of a customer in a market place without him getting to know anything about it. Thus, it primarily has to do with placing of products in a manner so as to catch the attention of the customer. This involves providing all buying information to the customer in an eye catching manner and placing the product in a shelf in such a manner so as to make him go for a particular product. Without merchandising, many products find themselves languishing in the shelves of the stores, in the malls as they have to compete with dozens of other products on their own. This proves it easier for big companies as their products get picked up on the basis of reputation and costly advertising.
Merchandising is an art that makes use of eye catching display and alluring information to affect the buying decisions of customers who are already confused considering a sea of products they have to contend with when they are moving in a grocery store, in a mall. With a proper merchandising strategy, it is possible for a marketer to sell out a particular product despite severe competition from bigger and better brands. Merchandising takes advantage of the plight of the consumer who faces a glut of information and finds himself with far too many choices. This is done by helping a customer arrive at a buying solution by simplifying his decision making process.
What is the difference between Marketing and Merchandising?
• Merchandising is just a part of marketing that is a very wide and generic term encompassing lots of processes and sets of activities.
• Merchandising begins at the end of the retail consumer that is at the point of sale whereas marketing begins in the minds of the marketers where they identify the need for a product or service.
• While the aim of both marketing and merchandising is the same (higher sale of product), merchandising is concerned with display and providing eye catching information only as it is meant to facilitate selling of a particular product.
• Marketing is more about identifying and satisfying the needs of customers in a bid to retain customers and to add to customer base than just making selling easier and more effective, which is what merchandising is all about.