The Role of the Merchandiser in an Export House

A merchandiser ensures product compliance with buyer specifications.
A merchandiser ensures product compliance with buyer specifications. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Export house is a business term used primarily in global markets outside the United States to describe a company that develops products for its country's export market. The job functions of the export house merchandiser compare closely to aspects of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics job descriptions for the wholesale and retail buyer; production, planning and expediting clerks; and the shipping, receiving and traffic clerk.

Product Development

A merchandiser can have both buyer and seller roles. As a buyer for materials needed in production, his duties might include sourcing vendors, securing samples and communicating between the export house and suppliers. In the seller role, the merchandiser helps buyers with developing merchandise specifications for export house orders.

Export house duties can include developing samples and presentation portfolios used to secure prospective buyers. An educational background in design may be sought for an export merchandiser whose primary duty is to assist clients with product development. In the garment industry, for instance, the merchandiser may help a client develop custom specifications for garment designs, including fabric and color selections.

Production Coordinator

The export house merchandiser's role may also include coordinating at every stage of the manufacturing and production processes. This entails the general flow of work and materials within and among departments. The merchandiser might participate in developing production and shipment schedules and milestones. And she might coordinate meetings among department supervisors, designers and sales teams to monitor the progress and completion dates for projects.

Other Duties

An export merchandiser might analyze past buying trends, sales records, pricing and merchandise quality to determine value and yield. Duties might also include overseeing the assemblage, addressing, stamping and arranging for transportation to export markets. He might also be expected to ensure that export products comply with the quality control and export specification standards required by national regulators.

Country Variances

The role of the merchandiser in an export house will differ among countries and export houses. An Indian export house will operate under different regulations than an Australian export house. This will shape the work functions of the merchandiser within each market's export house. Some export houses have a home country and international offices. As an example, the export house Mandakini Fashions' home office is located in Mumbai, India, but it has multinational offices in Paris and offices in other parts of India.

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