Retail stores have their own staff, but many tasks are performed by outside workers who come in on a less regular basis to provide merchandising services. Merchandising is a form of marketing, an in-store form of customer service and product promotion. Employees of merchandising companies give the extra attention that manufacturers and distributors value in getting their products out to customers.
Merchandisers perform all sorts of services, working with the permission of store management to set up displays in the proper way and place, keeping them tidy and well-stocked, placing orders for new stock, and bringing back stock out onto the sales floor. By alerting managers to out of stock items, processing returns and getting credit for damaged stock, making sure discontinued and recalled products are removed from the sales floor, and helping display product to the best advantage, merchandisers are helping the store do the best job it can in sales promotions and growth.
Manufacturers have found it effective to have representatives enter the store for the express purpose of keeping their products fully stocked in an attractive way. They work for the most part through companies that specialize in providing marketing help to major manufacturers. You are almost certainly familiar with those who cannot guide you around a department store because they are working with just one display. They will not be in the distinctive chain uniform, as a rule.
You may be familiar with merchandisers, who act like employees of a store but generally cannot direct you to a particular product. They may be rearranging potato chips or stocking wine in a grocery store, setting a greeting card rack in order or bringing out new videos in a discount store, or assembling a cardboard display for a special promotion. Those who serve food samples or who promote newspaper subscriptions or other special deals are usually outside marketers.
There is a district manager who sets the schedules and is available via email for answering questions and helping to solve errors and problems. You will be working on your own, however. It is important to establish good communication with the managers of the stores you will visit; it is usual to have certain stores that you will visit over and over.
Merchandising companies contract with manufacturers to perform certain tasks and assign those tasks to their employees, the merchandisers. Being a part-time worker, the merchandiser does not get benefits but does have taxes withheld and receives a W-2 tax form issued at the end of the year. Assignments are sent over the Internet to the employee’s personal page, and reports of work done are also submitted online.
Paychecks will usually be direct deposits to your bank account, although it is possible to have them sent by mail. The hourly wage is often periodically augmented by bonuses for completion of all work in store and online. Benefits are not extended to part-time hires, and mileage is not generally reimbursed unless you are on special assignment to areas outside your usual range.
Merchandising services also include those who offer samples at grocery stores to promote certain brands, who man booths or tables with special offers of newspaper subscriptions or special offers, and who help with customer service during special events. It is a fun and easy way to be a part of the excitement of retail.