After I got out of doing alot of mystery shopping since we didn't live in town, I started doing something called merchandising. There are many different forms of this and I will tell you about them in this article. Merchandising takes more time than Mystery Shopping but you are also compensated better and you have more opportunities to keep working with the company by them contacting you for jobs when they are available, rather than you trying to find the jobs on your own.
When I worked for a merchandising company I had a fairly important job. Since I had alot of experience working in retail and mystery shopping I was hired as a Territory manager which means I not only worked here but I supervised other workers in South Dakota and North Dakota as well. The company paid for many business trips to North Dakota during the time I worked for them as well. For my job I had a mini laptop, I would go to a few different stores around town a few times a week and scan certain items and record numbers and inventory and report my findings to the headquarters in Chicago. I liked this job because I could do it on my own time. I had a certain day I had to work but not a certain time so I usually ended up working late at night when I could make the time. It worked out well for a while. (I only had to quit because of how busy this site got! 🙂 )
Anyways, it was a good job, with a good company. I could work on my own time and at my own pace. It worked out well for me to work independently.
There are several different types of merchandising jobs.
1. Demonstrations: This is pretty self explanatory. A company will hire you to go into a retail, grocery, or discount store to set up a table and demonstrate how to use a product. You might also be giving away samples. For jobs like this the company will send you all the things you need for the demonstration or they will send it to the store. Most jobs like this pay by the hour.
2. Assembly: For these jobs you will have to set up something in the store, usually some kind of a display for a certain brand or something similar. These jobs usually pay by the job.
3. General Merchandising: My job that I described above would fall into this category. General merchandising involves working with products, taking inventory, ect. These can be a wide range of different jobs, they either pay by the job or by the hour or a combo of both. The job I had paid by the hour AND also depended on how many items I scanned.
There are a few more odds and ends jobs that merchandisers can get also, but those are the 3 main categories.
If you are looking to get started in merchandising...first, a background in retail really helps, it may even be required in many jobs. The companies and brands want to know that you know stores and how to handle goods. Merchandising is a more in-depth job than mystery shopping so for most of the jobs you will have to fill out an application and apply for the position, maybe even have interviews if it's an ongoing job. They also might want to hire you as part of a team instead of as an individual rep. If you want to work on your own, make sure you check what the job will be about first so you don't end up working with others if you don't want to. (Sometimes its fun to work with others but depending on the job, if you want to work on your own time you will have to work alone.)
The best place to search for merchandising jobs is the NARMS website. Almost all of the professional merchandising companies and brand looking for merchandisers will use that website. Also, in this case you might have a huge advantage if you live in a small town as they are often looking for people that live in smaller towns to work in smaller stores, or if you live near a small town and can take the job, most companies are more than willing to pay you for mileage to get the job done.
Merchandising can be a full or part time job, but the advantage of it over working a regular job is that most of the time you can work on your own hours and you can only accept jobs that you have the time to do instead of working regularly scheduled hours.
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