“Must-have” skills and knowledge for apparel merchandising professionals in South Africa

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Elena Karpova, Putman & Hayes Distinguished Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: Employing competent merchandisers has become a global challenge for apparel companies. This study aimed to prioritize merchandising skills and knowledge required to function in merchandising positions. Adaptive conjoint analysis was employed to prioritize 29 identified skills and knowledge types and 116 individual dimensions describing these types. An online survey was developed and administered using Sawtooth Software Inc. A total of 172 merchandising professionals participated in the study. Sawtooth Software built-in regression analysis was used to analyze the survey responses. A priority order for the 29 skills and knowledge types was established, consisting of 13 “must-have”, 13 “fairly-important”, and three “nice-to-have” types. The 13 “must-have” skills and knowledge types included a mix of six soft skill types (communication, diplomacy, flexibility, administrative/managerial, positive attitude, teamwork), one hard skill type (technology), five explicit knowledge types (retail operations, manufacturing, marketplace awareness, assortment management, product development), and one tacit knowledge (professional experience). Based on the prioritized 29 skills and knowledge types, an apparel merchandising competency framework was adapted for the South African retail industry. Out of the 116 individual dimensions only half (58) were determined as essential and included in the final framework. The findings indicate that a competent merchandising professional should have a well-balanced skill and knowledge set to succeed in the apparel retail industry.

Additional Information

Journal of Global Fashion Marketing, 14(2)
Language: English
Date: 2022
apparel merchandising, competency framework, adaptive conjoint analysis, skills, knowledge

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