Merchandiser’s Role In Product Development Process

Merchandiser’s Role In Product Development Process

The first step in bringing a fresh look to the market is product development. A specification sheet (tech pack) must be received by the merchandisers before they can begin categorizing distinct product styles and their details into a single format.

Merchandisers of clothes should therefore ensure that junior merchandisers are well instructed on product style so that they can help sample coordinators prepare development samples from the sampling department.

What is Job Analysis

With an eye on both functionality and aesthetics, the process of product development transforms a 2D drawing into a 3D model. There is a strong connection between garment merchandisers and the sample department in the garment business.

The sampling division is known as the product development section in the buying house of garments. Apparel merchandisers must be involved in all stages of product creation. When it comes to apparel exports, product development is typically handled by the design department. In any sector, whether there is a design section or not, the work of the clothes merchandiser is crucial in product creation.

Merchandiser’s Role In Product Development Process

Merchandiser’s Role In Product Development Process

The most important role of an apparel merchandiser is in the design and development of the company’s products. The following are typical, but not exclusive, duties of a garment merchandiser in product development.

The position a person holds within a company and the location of their manufacturing facility can be vastly different. The product development process for the garment industry is summarised in the following steps.

Merchandiser’s Role In Product Development Process

1. Selection of fabric

Product development would be incomplete without consideration of the importance of fabric selection. Fabric selection is a crucial step in the design process because fabrics are designed for specific applications; a fabric manufactured for one purpose, may not be adaptable for another.

When it comes to making clothing, selecting the right fabric isn’t the only consideration. For a given project, the fabric is chosen as a component of the overall design. For successful fabrics, designers may create new designs.

Apparel fabrics can be chosen according to their physical and chemical properties. Although yardage per pound can be measured statically, the fabric’s characteristic response to an applied force is what distinguishes it from simply being “property.” There are three main viewpoints from which to choose a fabric:

The point of view of the customerViewpoint from a textile millClothing manufacturer’s point of view

Fabric for clothing is primarily chosen by consumers based on its appearance and wearability, not on any other considerations like its durability, practicality, or aesthetics. Production of textiles is primarily driven by consideration of fabric characteristics rather than properties.

If a fabric property does not control a fabric characteristic or cost factor important to the apparel/fabric manufacturer, or if the property itself, such as thickness or weight, has definite utility or style value, it is of no interest to the manufacturer. The same principles apply to the manufacturer of clothing.

Fabric selection begins with designers and merchandisers visiting major fabric markets in order to gather ideas, check out the latest trends, and inspect a few samples. In addition to domestic and international fabric shows, the designer and merchandiser may also visit the showrooms of fabric manufacturers.

As part of their marketing strategy, they attend fashion shows and meet with representatives from textile fabric manufacturers. The garment’s aesthetics and technical requirements are taken into consideration when selecting the fabric. Things to keep in mind as you choose the right fabric for product development:

choose the right fabric for product development

Apparel designers and merchandisers consider the product’s purpose when deciding which items to include in their collection. Thereby, they can focus on either technical features like abrasion resistance, UV protection, elasticity, colour fastness, tensile strength, etc. or aesthetic features such as texture and structure to better meet the demands of the garment.

2. Silhouettes:

An important part of garment development is the development of silhouettes, which are hand- or CAD-rendered renderings of both the front and back of a garment, showing stitching details.

Technical drawings are used when construction and styling details are critical to the design and do not include body silhouettes. Sketches can also be made using computer graphics software. In order to store a database of body silhouettes, or croquis as they are also known, designers use this type of software.

Designers frequently use these kinds of graphics-related software because of the software’s ability to repurpose old croquis. It also has a feature that allows you to use fabric images to transform the croquis into garment styles. Additional features include a database of fabric details and scanned images of fabric for most of the specifications that are available.

Fabric images are brought into the software and can be viewed from all angles once a user selects a particular fabric type. The future of the design industry lies in tools like these. They help people in the fashion and design industries meet two critical needs: reducing time consumption and minimizing the need for highly-skilled employees. Rather than spending hours together to see how the final garment will look, the designer can quickly see what they’ve imagined.

Designers and merchandisers will meet to discuss and evaluate the designs after the croquis have been created, whether manually or automatically using the software. Merchandisers and other representatives from buyers (rarely) will review the designs to see if they are suitable for the market.

Technical feasibility will be combined with market or customer requirements by the merchandiser. Several designs may be rejected during this stage of the product development process, while others will be selected for the next phase.

3. Prototype sample development

After silhouette creation, the prototyping process is the next step. Prototype samples will begin to be made after the silhouettes are approved. Even though prototyping is the final stage, “Spec (specification) development” and “Line sheet development” are crucial steps in the process before the prototype can be made.

Line sheets or specification sheets are developed in this process for each style that falls within the chosen silhouette (for different line). Line sketches of each style in that particular line are drawn along with fabric swatches that the designer has chosen for that particular style.

Prototypes are made after the designer and merchandiser agree on the technical parameters of the garment and develop a specification sheet with all relevant information. Designers may also use style boards to monitor the progress of their product development teams. The style board displays sketches of various looks from a particular line or group.

The sampling department will begin the proto sample development process following the development of the specifications. To get a sense of how a garment will look and fit on a fit model, a prototype is the first step in the process. It’s possible to create a prototype using one of two methods.

a. Draping method:

Dressmaking is the art of using a mannequin to cut, shape, and drape fabric. Both ready-to-wear and haute couture designers commonly employ this technique (client-specific or fashionable clothes). It is possible to test how well a fabric will work with a specific design while also conforming to a 3D shape, making this a valuable tool for designers and product developers.

b. Flat pattern method:

Initial pattern blocks are created using this method. A silhouette is created by modifying basic blocks after making basic patterns/slopers. Prototyping is commonly used in the apparel industry. In order to better target the target market group, the company refines the basic blocks every season.

India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other Asian Pacific countries dominate the apparel manufacturing industry. A dedicated design team develops the design requirements in all of these countries. Customer and manufacturer information needs to be effectively transferred during prototyping.

Prototype samples from global sourcing partners take time and money to make. In order to avoid styles that don’t meet the line plane’s requirements, the merchandiser must closely monitor the product development process during the early stages. Communication between buyer and manufacturer is the only way to solve these problems.

Important requirements of proto sample request process:

Important requirements of proto sample request process:
Important requirements of proto sample request process:

4. Pre-costing:

  • Prototyping helps manufacturers and merchandisers understand the product’s raw materials, trims, and accessories. This helps them estimate the product’s production cost.
  • Before making a pre-costing decision, the merchandiser must understand the nature of each raw material.
  • To make this process successful, the garment merchandiser needs a comprehensive product cost database and effective cost accounting support.
  • Material, labour, overhead, design, distribution, general, administrative, and profit percentage must all be included in the pre-costing for that particular garment.
  • Fabric consumption details and other cost factors such as factory overhead and average labour cost should be known to the merchandiser. In order to avoid major losses, he should update his database or knowledge regularly.
  • In a competitive environment, a garment priced too low or too high may put the company at risk.
  • A product’s estimated cost is too high for any particular company to receive an order, or industrial facilities for product development are scarce, it is recommended to cancel the order rather than wasting time developing it.

5. Technical specification sheet (Tech Pack):

The review committee, comprised of all department heads and company executives, approves the styles that are estimated to meet the acceptable price points. Initially, the pre-production specifications are developed. The final production patterns are created using the provided measurements. Patterns are graded and sent to production.

Individual departmental specification sheets are more detailed to educate. Manufacturers’ specifications may vary depending on production methods and technology. Provides the merchandiser with a detailed operation breakdown with machine and manpower requirements.

This aids the merchandiser in cost estimation. This initial costing will be followed by a meeting with industrial engineering and production planning to help the merchandiser reduce production costs without compromising product quality. This will finalize the product cost for product development companies.

Other parameters like fabric, sewing thread, print or artwork designs, placement details of design, care label instructions, etc. are mentioned in detail during specification sheet development.

6. The final price/costing:

The most critical step in the product development process is determining the product’s final cost. The merchandiser’s initial cost is cross-checked with the actual cost of the product during each stage of manufacturing in this process.

Changes in the initial price may occur during this process. The cost sheet will be revised in light of the new information provided by the product prototyping process, such as the exact raw materials needed and the factors affecting their price.

The final costing process is dependent on the results of the style adoption and garment selling prices, so it is critical that the costs fixed at this stage be as accurate as possible.


  • Karthik, T., Ganesan, P., & Gopalakrishnan, D. (2016). Apparel manufacturing technology. CRC Press.
  • Nayak, R., & Padhye, R. (Eds.). (2015). Garment manufacturing technology. Elsevier.
  • Role of Merchandiser in Product Development Process – Textile Learner. (n.d.). Retrieved January 1, 2022, from
  • Rathinamoorthy, R., & Surjit, R. (n.d.). Apparel Merchandising.

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