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Retail Merchandising

Entry Level Assessment Blueprint

Specific Competencies and Skills Tested in this Assessment:

Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing

  • Explain the concept and purpose of advertising and cooperative advertising
  • List forms of advertising media and the advantages and disadvantages of each
  • Apply knowledge of advertising in social media
  • Characterize how merchandising impacts a retailer’s perceived image and/or brand
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of the marketing mix and segmentation


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


  • Participate in executing effective in-store and window
    displays and floor sets
  • Explain the use and effect of visual merchandising and
    store layout
  • Use safety precautions when setting up displays
  • Explain the role of wholesalers and distributors
  • Operate point-of-sale terminal/calculator
  • Receive incoming stock and verify invoice accuracy
  • Process returned, unwanted, or damaged inventory
  • Explain functions of maintenance and cleanliness

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., reward programs, loyalty cards) 
  • Compare advantages and disadvantages of “brick and mortar” versus online businesses 


  • Display knowledge of the basic economic concepts, including 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 an understanding of the buying process
  • Demonstrate product knowledge
  • Contrast sales approaches (e.g., greeting) 
  • Close the sale and provide customer maintenance activities 
  • Interpret business policies to customers/clients and handle customer complaints and issues 

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, charge cards, and sales tax 
  • Apply the concepts of commission sales and sales quotas 
  • Identify various measures used by retailers (e.g., conversion, UPT)
  • Open/close out register/terminal 
  • Calculate price changes 

Professionalism in Retail Merchandising

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


  • 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, and copyrights


Written Assessment:

Administration Time: 3 hours   

Number of Questions: 193


Areas Covered:

Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing: 11%

Communications: 7%

Merchandising: 14%

Technology in Retail Merchandising: 10%

Economics: 8%

Customer Service, Sales and Selling: 12%

Retail-Related Mathematics: 16%

Professionalism in Retail Merchandising: 16%

Entrepreneurship: 6%


Sample Questions:

A form of community relations is

A. reflecting the poor reputation of the business
B. having hidden service fees
C. sponsoring a sports team
D. offering a store coupon

What should an employee do to demonstrate whether or not directions given by a manager are understood?

A. identify the purpose
B. determine the speaker’s needs
C. restate the information given
D. overcome emotional blocks

Time utility means having goods

A. in the right place for the season
B. at the right price before a holiday
C. that are fashionable for evening use
D. available when consumers want them

Human relations in retail marketing deals primarily with

A. Meeting the customer’s needs
B. completing a benefit package
C. understanding the wholesaler’s needs
D. getting promoted to manager

If a customer buys 4-1/4 yards of fabric, and the total cost before taxes was $12.38, what is the per yard cost of the fabric?

A. $2.75 per yard
B. $2.91 per yard
C. $4.25 per yard
D. $12.38 per yard

Performance Assessment:

Administration Time: 1 hour and 55 minutes

Number of Jobs: 4

Areas Covered:

26% Inventory  Check-In

Participant will unpack shipping box, correctly mark the packing list and the damaged/missing inventory sheet, turn in forms, and repack the box.

29% Cash Handling

Participant will greet the customer, inform them of the amount due and tendered, make correct change, write up the correct receipt and close the transaction.

17% Handling Customer Returns

Participant will determine the problem with item, offer a resolution, explain the store policy, and display good customer service skills.

28% Product Knowledge and Selling

Participant will use good customer service skills, present the product, explain the product specifications, and close the transaction.


Sample Job:

Inventory Check-In

Maximum Time: 30 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 completed Packing List and Damaged/Missing Inventory sheet to the evaluator; and repack the shipping carton.