Retail and Merchandise Marketing

Interested in a marketing career working in the dynamic industry of retail on a strategic level in both brick-and-mortar and online? Learn about opportunities in Retail and Merchandise Marketing with classes and real-world projects to prep for internships and entry-level career opportunities.

picture of laptop computer in the background, with a miniature shopping cart filled with an assortment of bags inside and outside the cart

Retail and Merchandise Marketing Opportunities in the Marketing Major

Gain a flexible foundation to hit the ground running and pursue your passions

Interested in a marketing career working in the dynamic industry of retail on a strategic level in both brick-and-mortar and online?  Marketing students at the Penn State Smeal College of Business will enhance their portfolios for career opportunities in Retail and Merchandise Marketing as a part of the Business Development and Sales specialty track in the marketing major.

Employment of advertising, promotion, and marketing managers is expected to grow significantly by 2026

Smeal marketing majors entering the workforce after school secure competitive starting salaries which are dependent on industry, location and company. Many alums become managers and executives later in their careers.  More on career options and salary statistics of marketing careers and Smeal marketing graduates


Smeal Marketing Alumni in Retail and Merchandise Marketing

Some of our Marketing Alumni that built careers in Retail and Merchandise Marketing are, but not limited to:

  • Allocation Analyst
  • Buyer
  • Customer Journey Analyst
  • Digital Marketing and Promotion Manager
  • E-Commerce Data Analyst and Business Intelligence Manager
  • E-commerce Manager
  • E-commerce Sales Analyst  
  • Merchandise Planner and Merchandising Assistant
  • Omnichannel Manager
  • Planogram Specialist 
  • Retail Strategist
  • Sales Promotion Marketing Coordinator
  • Store Manager and Regional District Manager
  • Marketing manager and senior management roles in the aforementioned roles

Employers who have hired Smeal students specializing in Retail and Merchandising include retailers such as Kohl’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target, TJX, Burlington, Wegmans, ALDI, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Amazon. Brands also offer retail and channel management jobs such as Hershey, PepsiCo, Apple, and many others.  

Core Courses in Retail and Merchandise Marketing

MKTG 327 (3): Retail Management Managing marketing organizations in distribution channels from producers to consumers.

MKTG 437 (3): Advanced Retailing and Merchandise Management Managing new retail formats and business models. Analyzing and planning the merchandising effort, including procurement, vendor relations, product presentation, and inventory control.

MKTG 498 (3 total): Jacobs Fellows Engages students in the world of luxury retail through experiential projects, seminars, and travel. The two-semester program consists of a one-credit course in the fall semester, followed by a two-credit course in the spring semester.

The Jacobs Fellows Program, in tribute to Melvin Jacobs, a graduate of Penn State and former Chairman and CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue, encourages outstanding marketing students to further their interest in the retail industry. Jacobs Fellows attend exclusive events, deepen their retailing knowledge, and gain valuable networking opportunities, which prepare them for a promising career in retailing. Every year, Jacobs Fellows execute a consulting project for a luxury retail and/or fashion company, network with industry speakers, attend a retail conference and travel to a fashion capital.

Eight to ten candidates are carefully selected annually as Jacobs Fellows. Interested students should apply when announcements are made each Spring for the next academic year.

Full Marketing Course List and Descriptions offered at the Smeal College of Business


Opportunities Outside the Classroom

Penn State American Marketing Association (PSAMA)

Picture of Penn State chapter of the American Marketing Association club at the national conference.

PSAMA earned the AMA International Chapter of the Year award in 2020-21

About PSAMA, including a Retail Marketing division

Marketing majors concentrating their studies in Retail and Merchandise Marketing have opportunities to further their experience participating in PSAMA. The goal of the Retail Division is to expose our members to resources, events, and exclusive career opportunities needed to be successful in the retail industry. Through partnerships with top retailers, industry leaders, and our alumni across the world, we offer a variety of projects to help develop future retail talent and enhance the status of our students in this rapidly evolving industry. 

Learn more about the Business Development and Sales specialty track or the Strategic Insights & Analytics specialty track in the marketing major at Smeal.