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 Suggestions for starting out in merchandising work
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NVEkas
Contributor

Central Valley, CA
USA
69 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2003 :  9:37:56 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am currently a mystery shopper, and I've noticed a lot of MS companies also do merchandising work. I am curious as to where a good starting point would be to getting involved in merchandising? I've done simple audits and the sticker change job, but that's about it.

Thanks

MBailey
Star Contributor

Barksdale AFB, Louisiana
USA
267 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2003 :  10:18:51 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I kind of jumped in to merch work after mystery shopping for a while too! The best advice I can give you is to register at Narms.com and submit a data profile. Also, consider if you want ongoing work (the same thing every month) or one-time jobs. Some companies are self-assign but others hire you for a territory/area and you get different jobs for your area. Even if you don't have much experience, many companies will give you a chance as long as you can follow simple directions. I have found that most merchandising work is relatively easy as long as the company gives adequate directions.

Melanie
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MsJanetJones
Contributor

San Antonio, TX
USA
84 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2003 :  06:40:19 AM  Send MsJanetJones an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
NCPMS also offers a merchandising workshop that is full of information on merchandising. www.ncpmscenter.org
I highly reccommend NARMS. Also, Pat Henry will usually give newbies a break. Hope this helps.

Ms. Janet Briggs-Jones
Independent Merchandising Specialist
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Ray Sola
Volition.com Staff

Prescott, AZ
USA
3052 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2003 :  10:40:38 AM  Visit Ray Sola's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
And be sure to read these related threads:

Merchandising - What if don't have any experience ?

Where do you look for Merchandising Leads?
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PhyllisM
Valued Contributor

Las Vegas, NV
USA
119 Posts

Posted - 03/11/2004 :  1:10:27 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
The best place to start is to call or email companies that post merchandising jobs. I always hire people with absolutely no experience. The things that really count are being dependable and that you are willing to learn the specifics of the job. In merchandising, as in most jobs, accuracy and details are of the utmost importance.

Phyllis Monkiewicz District Supervisor/Las Vegas
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ElaineHN
Star Contributor

Georgia
USA
462 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2004 :  07:14:44 AM  Visit ElaineHN's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hi Naomi:

I only do a little merchandising, though I'm always watching for more, so I can't offer as much helpful info as the more experienced merchandisers as far as where to find work and what companies are best, etc. But I thought I'd add a few comments about my experiences as an occasional merchandiser that might help other complete newbies.

1. For merchandising to truly be worthwhile, it seems that you need to do multiple locations for an assignment ... such as 6 different product placements in a chain grocery store in multiple towns along a 100 mile route. (I tried this and didn't care for it, I really prefer just doing a job or two here and there that is relatively close by.)

2. Many locations only want you to visit during week-day daytime hours. They don't want merchandisers in their customers way during busy times such as weekends or early evenings. (Makes perfect sense, but just doesn't work for me)

3. I'm guessing 99.99% of schedulers and companies are good to work for and aren't "out to get you" ... but be sure you do ask for ALL details of an assignment and if in doubt ask to review the paperwork or requirements before accepting it based only on vague information via e-mail or on the phone.

I've had one instance where a set of assignments that I was told should take 10-15 per store and could be done 'anytime' ... ended up looking more like an hour job and the managers of the stores were VERY unhappy when I showed up on a Sunday afternoon. I realize weekends probably aren't the best time to try to plan to do assignments, but I had SPECIFICALLY told the scheduler that I worked full time during the week and could only do assignments in the evening or on weekends and I had asked if this would be a problem. She replied that it was fine. Apparently from the merch. companies perspective weekends weren't a problem ... but from the store managers perspective (at two locations) they were. FWIW, the store was practically empty when I entered, maybe 2 customers in the entire place ... but the manager made it clear that he was not happy I was there and said things like "interfere with business" "be in customers way" "have stuff spread out all over the place", etc. I left the location and said I'd be back during a weekday. Went to the second one, got basically the same thing but this manager added that she "was extremely busy and I couldn't expect her to babysit me". I didn't need babysitting! Again, I apologized for the intrusion and stated that I'd check back on a weekday. I went home packaged the materials and returned them to the scheduler. I e-mailed her and explained that while I had specifically asked if these could be done on a weekend and she had said yes that the store managers made it clear that they did not want me there. I also reminded her that she had said these were 10-15 minute "in and out" jobs but that there was no way to do an inventory, replace stock, and prepare a return of as much merchandise as was on the list in that amount of time. I felt totally mislead. I may have lost any chance of every working for that company again, but considering this experience, I don't really mind.

4. Be prepared for super friendly or super unfriendly reception by store/office managers and staff. For some reason merchandisers are sometimes looked upon like most of us look upon the telemarketer that calls during dinner time. I've had some super friendly, very welcoming experiences ... but then I've also had very unsettling rude ones. On my last Dr. office brochure reset, the receptionist was prickly chilly and probably could have reduced a meeker person to tears .. even after I told her my contacts name, that I had an appointment, that I'd called two days before, etc. But then when she finally got one of the office staff to the front, that person was SUPER friendly and seemed happy to see me. So don't let the meanies get you down. Go into things with a positive attitude and try to be as considerate as possible ... but don't let them walk over you ... be a tiny bit politely insistent if you have to.

5. If you do demos ... you may run into other demonstrators in the same store on the same day. I was surprised when I did my first one in a supercenter ... one of the other demonstrators was super friendly and very personable ... the other one seemed to view me as the enemy ... even though we were demo-ing completely different products in different areas of the store for different companies. I really couldn't understand her very pessimistic and condescending attitude when she visited my table ... everything was set up correctly, neat, orderly, customers seemed to be enjoying the little trivia game that was part of the event ... but her facial expression and few remarks were notably snide. Thank goodness for the other gal (doing a 'beauty' product demo) who reassured me that it looked like things were going great and I shouldn't worry about the meanie!

So while I'll happily accept and complete assignments if they fit my schedule and if they are in a convenient location and are a reasonable task for a reasonable fee ... I'm just not looking to do this 'full-time' or as a long distance 'route' kind of thing. Major merchandising just doesn't 'fit' my needs or schedule right now. However, this doesn't mean that I'm not 100% committed and reliable when it comes to assignments that I do accept (assuming they aren't misrepresented to me in the first place as in that one instance). If I'm given a job I do it. I'm not looking to take work away from the more 'full-time' merchandisers, but I'll happily take the occasional local assignments that seem to fall through the cracks and get offered to me.

Hope some of this is at least a little helpful. I know it's kind of rambling but it's the kind of nitty gritty stuff that seems obvious in hind-sight but that I wish I'd been more prepared for ahead of time. I guess it helps to have a bit of a thick skin and realize that there are a lot of people carrying around a lot of negative energy out there. Not everyone is going to be nice.

Elaine

~*~ Shopping West Georgia (Carrollton, Douglasville, Newnan, etc.) & Metro Atlanta ~*~
MSPA Gold Certified Shopper
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TaraM
Member

Alamogordo, NM
USA
19 Posts

Posted - 03/15/2004 :  09:03:32 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I started out in merchandising by applying for a job that I saw here in a forum. I explained straight off that I had no experience, but that I was willing to learn. The company gave me a shot and I found that I liked the work. After that, I registered my profile on NARMS, outlining in my profile that I was new to merchandising, but that I am a hard worker and willing to learn. After about 2 weeks, I started getting phone calls offering me jobs in my area. All the companies that have hired me told me that they were impressed with my honesty concerning my lack of experience. They all decided to give me a shot. I now work for 5 different merch companies servicing stores in my town. The best advice I can give you is to put yourself out there, be honest about your experience, be willing to learn anything and be flexible, meet your deadlines, and you will see that jobs will come rolling in! Good luck!
Happily shopping and merchandising the southwest New Mexico area!

Tara Murdock - Shopping and improving Southern New Mexico. And enjoying every minute of it! :)
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JennyW
Valued Contributor

Bartlett, Tennessee
USA
106 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2004 :  5:31:26 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have been mystery shopping since early July 2004, and I would like to add some merchandising jobs. I have no merchandising experience, but I am interested in learning and getting started. I created a profile on NARMS, and I was wondering if I should pay to take the test. I'd like to hear from some veteran merchandisers out there - did you take the NARMS test? If so, did you see a noticeable increase in job offers you received? I appreciate any feedback you can give me. Also, can you tell me some of the companies you enjoy working for and those that might be willing to give a "newbie" a chance to prove herself? Thanks so much!

MSPA Silver Certified 7/21/04 #oitvxn

Shopping Memphis, TN and loving it!
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MaryL
Valued Contributor

Richmond, VA
USA
185 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2004 :  8:43:08 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I took the test and paid the 9.95 but have not rec'd more calls from it. I thought the test is about termology used in merchandising. You can pick that up as you work in retail stores. The training manuals are good and I would take the time to read them.

I think Archway Merchandising and MCA are good companies to start with. They give very detailed instructions and have on going work.
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ShaunaInOregon
Valued Contributor

Canby, Oregon
USA
231 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2004 :  11:12:35 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have also recently started applying at merchandising companies, in addition to my mystery shopping work, and I was wondering if it hurts our chances of being hired if we do not want to do demos? I would love to start merchandising as much as possible, but I don't think I could handle doing demos at all. I would just hate to be excluded from a companies merchandising list because of my lack of interest in demos.

Any help would be appreciated!

Shopping the Portland and surrounding areas.

MSPA Silver Certified Shopper
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Vonette
Star Contributor

Walla Walla, WA
USA
867 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2004 :  11:52:23 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I've never done a demo and probably never will since weekends (with the kids home from school) are the worst time for me to try to work. None of the companies I work regularly for have ever asked me to do one. I expect it depends on the company, but since merchandising and demoing have such a difference in expected hours (primarily weekday vs. primarily weekend), I'm sure there are many merchandisers who are simply not able to do demos. Don't let that stop you from trying to break into merchandising.
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DEaton
Star Contributor

Troup, Texas
USA
335 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2004 :  3:19:17 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Some companies have demo jobs on weekdays, I did one last Fri. and I've seen demos being done in some large retail discount stores on weekdays. Most are done on weekends, but there are some that can be done other days. Try GreetAmerica.com .

Diane
MSPA Silver Certified
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.MattJH
Inactive

Clifton Forge, VA
USA
32 Posts

Posted - 09/08/2004 :  07:31:44 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I think that the NARMS test is probably very good for beggining merchandisers, however, I dont believe that for well seasoned merchandisers it makes much of a differnece. If your good word will get out.

Matt
Servicing Western Virgina, as well as the Carolinas
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GaryMiller1
Member

Perrysburg, OH
USA
40 Posts

Posted - 09/10/2004 :  12:46:10 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
ShaunaInOregon

Out of the 15 companies that we merchandise for only 2 do demo work and only one asked us to demo a couple of times last year. So I wouldn't worry about turning down demo work. There are tons of merching jobs out there. (Merching for 8 years).
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JennyK22
Member

Marietta, GA
USA
34 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2005 :  12:04:06 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Previously posted quote:
quote:
"The best place to start is to call or email companies that post merchandising jobs. I always hire people with absolutely no experience. The things that really count are being dependable and that you are willing to learn the specifics of the job. In merchandising, as in most jobs, accuracy and details are of the utmost importance."
I thought I had seen a thread on "How to get merchandising jobs," but maybe it's really not there Anyhow, I have a question and would really love to hear opinions.

I get my fair share of work, but I have been applying with some companies through their online apps. My question - is there anyway of following up with these online applications? A lot of these people have jobs posted on NARMS and when they ask you to go to the website and apply, NARMS says you should apply in the manner requested. So, with that said, has anyone ever followed up by calling or sending an e-mail, etc.?

Also, I have filled out online apps for companies that have not had listings and I am wondering if it would be appropriate to follow up in that manner.

And last, but definitely not least, when you reply to a job posted here on Volition, do most of you get responses vs no responses? I have resubmitted my information on a few things (things I really wanted) but to no avail. Just wonder if that aggravates the schedules. So any scheduler reading this, please let me know your thoughts. And I'll see if you are one of them - and if you were - I'm sorry!!!! I figure if you do not try, you'll never know.

Thanks for your feedback!

Jenny
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CarmenBolin
Valued Contributor

Camarillo, CA
USA
199 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2005 :  08:23:05 AM  Send CarmenBolin an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Jenny,

I am not a scheduler, but thought I would add my two cents...

You place your profile on NARMs, and apply on each company's website. However, in both cases those are generic... you are applying to work for the company, not a specific project. Although merchandising schedulers I wouldn't imagine are not quite as busy as mystery shopping schedulers, I would think they would appreciate looking through their inbox, and finding someone who volunteered to do a job they are having problems filling. I have received quite a bit of work from replying to merchandising schedulers who post in the jobs forum.

In the case that the job was already filled, or I didn't meet the criteria, I usually did not receive a "no thank you" response. However, I had applied to one of these, apparently didn't get the job, then four months later was offered another project from the same company. The scheduler said it was because of my previous email...so, don't worry if you don't get a response...Just figure they might be keeping you on file.

I started as a mystery shopper, but then ended up in merchandising too. I currently work for 9 different companies with regularly scheduled weekly work. I have also added project work from some other companies. The key to getting jobs is: a) apply for them, b) do them correctly and ontime, and c) make relationships with your scheduler/manager, the store managers, other store employees... It is amazing how much quicker a job can go when the store manager recognizes you and already has a "friendly" relationship with you. Even if he or she is having a bad day, they probably will be nicer to you...

Um, I registered on NARMS, but did not take either of their tests. I read the manuals for basic information. I cannot tell you if the certification makes a difference or not. After finding nine companies in just a couple of months, I just really wasn't looking for any more work!

MSPA Gold Certified July 2005
Shopping & Merchandising Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles Counties
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HeatherShops
Star Contributor

Lake Placid, NY
USA
277 Posts

Posted - 12/27/2005 :  06:01:18 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I applied to many companies and also registered with Narms. Good luck and you will get work soon.
Do we register at Cathy's Corner just like we do here and are there job listings there by different Merchandising companies?
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KimG
Star Contributor

Orlando, FL
USA
606 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2005 :  06:19:00 AM  Send KimG an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I started mystery shopping in May 2005. After reading these boards, I decided to try merchandising for some steady income. I started by self-assigning a gift card reset with a company I ms for. Not enough pay for that job, though. I have been registered with NARMS since I started ms'ing. I saw a listing for another gift card reset, either on the Volition board or on NARMS, I don't recall. It was in IC job, a one-time project, that paid fairly well. Applied, and got it. Then, I really started hunting on NARMS. I applied to any job submitted to my profile that appealed to me. I searched the job boards, and applied when jobs were posted on Volition. I am currently doing a one day a week job resetting costume jewelry at Sears, and I have 2 other job offers. I can't take them both, because the times would conflict. I am actually choosing the lower paying job with less hours, because it will give me more flexibility, and allow me more time for mystery shopping. I really prefer ms'ing, because I hate being tied down to any job, but I need a steady income right now.

And I did all this without taking any of the tests posted on NARMS. However, with mystery shopping, I did get my silver certification right off the bat. Whether or not that made a difference, I don't know.

Kim
silver certified njtwnf
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Lisa Marie Socal
Member

CA
USA
20 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2006 :  3:46:10 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Merchandising DVD's is also a great way to start if you're new to merchandising! That's how I started.

I have been told that Eyewear can be a real pain to deal with...so if your new, you may want to keep that in mind. It was mentioned that you are constantly having to clean them all, and they are put back in the wrong places by everyone who tries them on, so setting them to POG each time can be a real hassel.

That's my !
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MaryRod
Star Contributor

El Centro, CA
USA
542 Posts

Posted - 01/10/2008 :  9:34:14 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Most merchadisers I know started with Certified, Convergence Marketing and Naional in Store, they'r all willing to train and packets are mailed to you with instructions. Read them carefully.
Mary

~~ Please consider the environment before printing unnecessary pages.~~
~*~Mary~*~
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Jeff68005
Star Contributor

Bellevue, NE
USA
1122 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2010 :  9:02:14 PM  Send Jeff68005 an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Try a holiday seasonal job at Wal-mart or Target stocking shelves and displays. Low pay, but good training for a merchandiser to be.
Then when you go to those stores, you will know stuff some experienced merchandisers do not know.

Jeff Hix
Serving metro Omaha, Nebraska including Bellevue, Papillion, La Vista, Ralston, Plattsmouth and Council Bluffs, Iowa.
MSPA Silver Certified - MSPA Gold Certified - NARMS Proficiency Test PASSED
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