Merchandising can be a great way to earn a part time income and can eventually be turned into a full time pursuit for those who are truly interested in doing so.
Many companies farm out their merchandising tasks to independent contractors who work out of their home and often times can work a very flexible schedule.
Dictionary.com defines merchandising as:
the planning and promotion of sales by presenting a product to the right market at the proper time, by carrying out organized, skillful advertising, using attractive displays, etc.
When you are first getting started in merchandising, you will normally be doing fairly simple tasks such as restocking existing displays, switching out promotional signage, pulling defective or discontinued product, or doing some basic resets.
As you gain experience and build trust with the company(ies) you’re working for, you can get into more elaborate and often better paying projects.
Finding merchandising jobs can take a bit of effort and time. In addition to doing searches on sites like craigslist and job sites like indeed or monster, you can use sites like Volition to find a long list of companies that may have merchandising openings in your area.
As with mystery shopping, you should rarely, if ever, have to pay anything up front to get involved in merchandising. If a website is asking you for any money to find work, move on.
The typical needs for most merchandising positions these days are computer access, a working printer, a smartphone or tablet, and possibly a fax machine. Reports are often filled out and submitted from the field through a company’s website or an app.
If you are attempting to generate a more significant part time income or a full time income via merchandising, you’ll probably need to get registered with quite a few companies at first. Then you can search their openings and begin putting together a route to work. In my case, I used to group various merchandising and mystery shopping projects by ZIP code to make things more profitable and put fewer miles on my vehicle. Travel time is usually not compensated, so the less time spent driving the better.
Over time, you will find out which types of assignments you prefer to do and which companies you like to work with. You may have opportunities that aren’t publicly posted offered to you or be offered bonus money to pick up the slack from other contractors who blew off their assignments or did them incorrectly. The longer you do it, the chances of it becoming more lucrative increase.
Always keep your field manager updated if you run into any issues that you may have out in the field. As in so many things, communication is a big key in creating a successful relationship.
Don’t forget to be on the lookout for better projects and if you are so inclined, possible full time openings within the companies you work for. Turnover in the industry is fairly high because of the independent nature of it. Many people can’t handle being in charge of their own schedule and end up blowing off assignments because it’s so easy to do so. It’s not quite like having a regular job where your boss is on site and if you call off or come in late, you’re going to have someone to answer to the next time you show up.