The First Friday Retail Academy

Retail fundamentals training for everyone
Understanding Retail: The Product Lifecycle

This course covers the basics of buying and merchandising together with the retail product lifecycle. The training will give you an awareness of the retail tools, techniques and processes used by the retail buying, merchandising and planning teams.

The Understanding Retail course is a series of ten video-based online modules packed with information on the tools, techniques and process that different retailers use to help them interpret and deliver their strategies and present their offer.

The topics covered give an overview of merchandise planning, sourcing, buying, range & assortment planning, WSSI, allocation, distribution and trading. 

Insights are shared into the roles & responsibilities within buying, merchandising, planning and commercial departments and how success is defined and measured in commercial terms.


A must for anyone who would benefit from understanding the retail product cycle from concept to display, and how retailers react and respond to trends, challenges and opportunities within their fast-changing environment.

Suitable for:

  • Those beginning their careers in buying, planning and merchandising
  • Employees within retail support functions e.g. HR, Finance, Systems
  • Suppliers of products or services to retailers


Following the training individuals will be able to:

  • Display awareness of the retail industry and appreciate current trends & complexities affecting retailers today 
  • Identify the retail cycle and the roles and responsibilities within a retail business
  • Describe the high level tools, techniques and processes that take place throughout the retail cycle, enabling a product to get to market
  • State the key calculations, retail concepts and business drivers used within typical retail organisations


1. The retail landscape
Introducing the current retail landscape and some of the key trends, challenges and 
opportunities facing today’s retailers 

2. The retail cycle 
The high level steps that all retailers use to manage their business 

3. Retail structures 
The functions, job roles and retail hierarchies within a typical retail organisation 

4. Financial Planning 
An overview of the key elements of a financial strategy and merchandise plan and an introduction to the WSSI 

5. Customer, markets & competition
How we analyse and understand these critical influences 

6. Product and range planning
The process associated with developing a product assortment or range 

7. Supply base and sourcing
How to select and manage suppliers and product sourcing options 

8. Supply chain and logistics
How intake is managed and its journey through a warehouse or distribution

9. Allocation and launch
Sending stock out to the selling channels and ensuring a strong product

10. Trading 
How to analyse and understand performance to make the right decisions and 
maximise trading outcomes

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