Is Retail Merchandising for you?

Is Retail Merchandising for you?

As with most professions, not all jobs are for everybody, and retail merchandising is no exception. Let’s take a look and see if Retail Merchandising is the right fit for you!

Common qualities retail merchandising company’s desire, (“PROPPED”):

  • Professional – Professionalism is an essential quality of any retail merchandiser. You may find yourself interacting with many different individuals, all with unique personalities while on the job, (IE: store customers, store managers/associates, team members, clients, and your own manager). If you’re an RSM for a brokerage company for example, you may be representing not only your company, but also a client, and a retailer while working in their store on any given day. That’s a lot representation, therefore displaying a professional image at all times is a must in order to make it as a retail merchandiser.
  • Reliable – Whether a client gives your company one day or two weeks to complete a service, RSMs & RCMs have to come through for that client! If your company fails to produce the coverage it originally agreed to, those clients may look elsewhere. Missed coverage may equal lost revenue, (IE: Product can’t sell if it’s not on the shelf!)
  • Organized – If you work chaotically by nature, you more than likely will find retail merchandising a very frustrating experience. The most successful merchandisers work systemically in a neat and organized manner.
  • Personable – Being outgoing is a plus in most jobs, but you don’t necessarily need to be outgoing if you’re naturally not. However you should be personable, (positive, friendly, and approachable). The elite retail merchandisers are personable while in the field no matter what pressure or obstacles they encounter.
  • Prideful – In this field the great merchandisers care about their work, and take pride in what they do! Remember, one of the main goals of retail merchandising is to ATTRACT consumers to the merchandise so they will BUY IT! Presentation is everything, and it’s your job to deliver that presentation for your company, clients, & retailers.
  • Efficient – You don’t necessarily need to be lighting quick, but you do need to be efficient. The old saying “work smarter, not harder” definitely applies in retail merchandising. By working intelligently, you can cut down the time it takes to complete a merchandising task, such as a reset, substantially!
  • Detailed – Attention to details is a must in retail merchandising. From making sure items are in their correct locations, to making sure the correct price tags are with the right products , to making sure shelves are clean, to making sure photos are taken carefully - a perfectionist mentality is one of the top qualities that separate the top-notch / desired merchandisers from the rest of the pack!

Is retail merchandising for you?

When you interview for a retail merchandising position, the recruiter will be looking to see if you meet specific job qualifications. Below are some common attributes that you will more than likely need to possess.

Common qualifications retail merchandising companies look for…

  • Reliable Transportation: Manufacturer, Brokerage, and Third-Party merchandisers commonly travel to multiple different locations, sometimes in the same day.
  • Specific Availability: Though most RSM positions will be flexible, you will still need to be clear up front on what your availability is as not all positions are equal. Make sure to let the recruiter know if there are any specific days of the week in where you can’t work, if you can’t start work until a certain time, and if you need to work at least X amount of hours per week.
  • Clean Driving Record: If the position requires traveling, most companies will look into your driving record to make sure it’s clean. How far they go back and what they look for will vary.
  • Clean Background: Not all merchandising companies perform background checks, but some definitely do. How far they go back and what they look for will vary.
  • Computer / Internet Access: Now days almost everything is done online! There is no punching in and out when you’re an RSM / RCM, so all of your completed work, photos, and time will most likely need to be reported online.
  • Comfortable with Technology: Just as other job fields have evolved through technology, the world of merchandising is no exception! The days of hand-writing data are numbered as more and more merchandising companies are turning to technology such as hand-held tablets for their reps so data can be entered and submitted for clients in real time. Devices such as tablets allow RSM/RCMs to take photos, videos, check email, and access company website resources….all while still being in-store.
  • Camera: A lot of merchandising companies will supply devices that will allow you to take pictures. However if they don’t, you’ll definitely need a way to snap photos, (IE: smart-phone or personal camera).
  • Storage for POP/POS: If you take a position as an RSM or RCM, more than likely you’ll receive various POP material in the mail for certain projects. You’ll need to be able to safely store these materials until it’s time to complete those services.

Reliable Transportation is important in Retail Merchandising

As discussed, there are many different types of retail merchandising jobs. The most in-demand ones though, (RSMs / RCMs), have some GREAT benefits!

Common PROS:

  • Flexibility – There are currently NUMEROUS job opportunities out there that allow you to basically create your own schedule each week!
    • You want to hit the beach in the morning, and get your calls done in the afternoon?
    • You need to drop your child off at school before you can start your work?
    • Do you have college classes later in the day, and therefore need to get into your stores early?
    • Do you have another part-time job that you need to work around?
  • In most cases, It’s all OKAY! If you’re looking for flexible work that fits around your existing schedule, working as an RSM for a brokerage or third-party company would definitely be a great fit for you.
  • Diverse Scenery – Does the idea of not having to work in the exact same location performing the exact same job every day sound appealing? The most in-demand retail merchandising jobs right now allow you to travel to different locations, performing various types of unique / ever-changing retail merchandising activities every day!
  • Independence – Does the idea of being on your own, working independently sound appealing? Yes, you’ll have a supervisor you’ll need to communicate with, but in most cases there won't be anyone hovering over your back each day. If you are the type who does not regularly need supervision, but rather thrives when empowered and trusted to complete your work independently, then you’re in luck!
  • Ability to Network – While visiting these various locations to perform projects, you’re bound to meet or even assist the actual clients. These situations give you the perfect opportunity to make a great impression. Company recognition, promotions, or even client job offers are all possible when you impress your company's clients!
  • Opportunity – If your goal is to advance and have a career in retail merchandising, you’re in luck as there are numerous opportunities within these companies for you. A lot of managers actually started in the field as merchandisers, including myself and my business partner here at RMHQ. From District Managers, to Business Managers, to Field Development Managers, to Client-Solution Managers, to Directors, to VPs, to Presidents! – Countless people began their careers as retail merchandisers, and then advanced. The trick is to stand out, to go above and beyond! - These are the people who climb quickly if that’s their goal.

As like any job, there are also some cons associated with certain types of RSM positions. However not all positions are equal so some of these don’t always apply.

Common CONS:

  • Traveling – If you don’t mind traveling, then this may not be a con, but some positions do require a lot of traveling. It’s important to ask the recruiter of the company when interviewed what radius of miles you would be expected to cover. You’ll also want to find out if the company reimburses for business mileage incurred on your vehicle, (most do). Traveling requirements will vary depending on the position.
  • Inconsistency – Part-time RSM job positions sometimes aren’t guaranteed an exact amount of set hours each week. The work may change from week to week depending on client and customer needs. However these job positions usually will have a “range” associated with them, (IE: 24-28 hours a week, or 36-40 hours per week, etc.) Again this will all depend on the company and position. NOTE: However RCM / other types of retail merchandising positions usually DO give consistent / set hours.
  • Unpredictability – RSM’s may come across many different store managers whom they will need assistance from, (IE: for work approval, new item tags, backroom access, shelving, etc.) Unfortunately some of these managers may not always be in the most friendly / helpful of moods when your first meet them. Not only may they be busy, but they also will need to decide if they can trust you to work in their department. However there are some key steps you can take if you do encounter someone like this:
    • Have a professional and friendly attitude – this is KEY!
    • Have your name tag on, as well as a store vendor badge if the store supplies one.
    • Quickly summarize why you are there in a way that shows what you’re doing will benefit his/her department.
      • (IE: “Nice to meet you - I’m here for P&G today to stock your P&G holiday displays for you. Any way you could show me where you keep your P&G stock out back? I know you’re busy - I really appreciate it….thank you”)
    • Find another store manager. When all else fails, find someone else who may be able to assist.

Pros and Cons of Retail Merchandising

Suggested Links

 Getting prepared as a retail merchandiser

Getting Prepared

 Retail merchandiser in store procedures

In-Store Procedures

Retail Merchandising common job tasks

Job Tasks - Introduction

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