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Retail Merchandising

Entry Level Assessment Blueprint

Specific Competencies and Skills Tested in this Assessment:

Advertising / Promotion

  • Explain the concept and purpose of advertising and cooperative advertising 
  • List the forms of advertising media and the advantages and disadvantages of each 



  • Apply effective verbal and telephone communications, including proper grammar and vocabulary 
  • Prepare basic written reports and presentations  
  • Follow oral and written directions 
  • Describe nonverbal communication 


Visual Merchandising

  • Plan, schedule themes, and arrange effective and attractive displays  
  • Explain the use and effect of visual merchandising 
  • Use safety precautions when setting up displays 


Marketing / Merchandising

  • Characterize how merchandising impacts a retailer’s perceived image  
  • Explain the role of wholesalers and distributors 
  • Operate point-of-sale terminal/calculator  
  • Receive incoming stock, verify invoice accuracy, process inventory for sale 
  • Process returned/damaged inventory
  • Explain functions of store space planning, maintenance, and cleanliness 
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of marketing mix and segmentation  
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the buying process  


Technology in Retail Merchandising 

  • Describe benefits of technology in retailing 
  • Describe digital pricing and inventory systems  
  • Compare advantages and disadvantages of electronic payment to the retail establishment 
  • Characterize how technological changes impact a retailer’s perceived image 
  • Describe various forms of digital retail technology (e.g., Internet, cellular, reward cards, social media) 
  • Compare advantages and disadvantages of “brick and mortar” versus online businesses 



  • Display knowledge of the concept of supply and demand
  • Distinguish between consumer wants and needs 
  • Explain the concept of opportunity cost 
  • Describe the concept of global opportunities related to goods and services 
  • Define characteristics of economies related to government involvement 


Customer Service, Sales, and Selling 

  • Explain the importance of positive customer relations 
  • Determine the customer/client needs and buying motives 
  • Demonstrate product knowledge
  • Contrast sales approaches (e.g., greeting, “soft” sell, up-selling) 
  • Close the sale and provide customer maintenance activities 
  • Interpret business policies to customers/clients and handle customer complaints and issues 


Professionalism in Retail Merchandising 

  • Abide by OSHA and safety standards 
  • Define personality traits and skills important to retailing (e.g., positivity, enthusiasm, creativity, organizational skills) 
  • Promote a positive company image 
  • Describe appropriate professional appearance
  • Respect diversity 
  • Exhibit business ethics and maintain confidentiality 
  • Abide by policies and procedures 
  • Demonstrate team and interpersonal relationships 
  • Identify leadership traits 

Retail-Related Mathematics

  • Solve addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, and percentage problems pertaining to business/retailing 
  • Make change with or without change indication 
  • Calculate amount of purchase, discounts, and special charges for purchases
  • Complete sale transactions, including  cash, check, charge, and sales tax 
  • Apply the concepts of commission sales and sales quotas 
  • Open/close out register/terminal and prepare deposit slips 
  • Calculate price changes 



  • State the advantages and disadvantages of small business ownership
  • Explain franchising and other types of business ownership (e.g., partnership, corporation) 
  • Display understanding of trademarks, patents, copyrights, and brand names


Written Assessment: 

Administration Time: 3 hours   

Number of Questions: 199


Areas Covered:

Advertising/Promotion: 6%

Communications: 6%

Visual Merchandising: 6%

Marketing/Merchandising: 13%

Technology in Retail Merchandising: 9%

Economics: 8%

Customer Service, Sales and Selling: 10%

Professionalism in Retail Merchandising: 18%

Retail-Related Mathematics: 15%

Entrepreneurship: 9%


Sample Questions:

Which of the following is a correct response to a customer?  

  1. “This store don’t carry them.”
  2. “We don’t have none in stock.”
  3. “This store don’t got them.”
  4. “That item is  out of stock.”


The marketing process can best be described as the 

  1. purchase of goods at the local grocery store 
  2. planning, pricing, promoting, and distribution of goods and services 
  3. manufacturing, selling, and consuming of goods and services 
  4. mining of raw materials, pricing, promoting, and selling of goods 


Government helps to maintain a free enterprise system by setting up laws to control 

  1. working conditions land taxes  
  2. monopolies and promote competition 
  3. relationships of business with competitors 
  4. quantities of merchandise available 


When interviewing for a retail sales position, one should 

  1. dress in the latest fashion 
  1. choose an outfit appropriate for the job 
  2. choose a solid color outfit 
  3. wear something distinctive that the interviewer will remember 


The manager may periodically remove excess money from the register to 

  1. discourage customers from asking for cash refunds 
  2. stop other checkers from taking change 
  3. eliminate the chance of miscounting change 
  4. reduce amount in the cash drawer in case of robbery 


Performance Assessment:

Administration Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes   

Number of Jobs: 5


Areas Covered: 

19% Inventory  Check-In  

Unpack shipping carton, packing list, damaged/missing inventory sheet, turn in forms, repack shipping carton, and time to complete Job 1.  


19% Cash Handling  

Greeting the customer, total amount due and amount tendered, making change, transaction closure, customer sales receipt, and time to complete Job 2.  


16% Handling Customer Returns 

Determine problem with item, offer resolution to problem, explain store policy, customer service skills, and time to complete Job 3.    


  16% Product Knowledge and Selling

Customer service skills, product presentation, product specifications, transaction closure, and time to complete Job 4.  


30% Virtual Cash Drawer Closing of a Retail Business 

Virtual cash drawer amounts – Table A, End of the day amount – A1, cash deposit amount – A2, cash shortage – A3, total checks – Table B, total electronic payments – Table C, bank deposit slip – Table D, daily cash reconciliation form – Table E, and time to complete Job 5.  


Sample Job:

Inventory Check-In 

Maximum Time: 25 minutes 

Participant Activity: The participant will mark the packing list provided to check in the inventory; indicate any discrepancies found, complete Damaged/Missing Inventory sheet; turn in complete Packing List and Damaged Missing Inventory sheet to the evaluator; and repack the shipping carton.