If you’ve spent any time working in retail or as a mystery shopper, you might want to take a look at retail merchandising as another interesting job opportunity, particularly if you prefer to be an independent contractor with a flexible schedule.
All types of Merchandising Jobs Available
There’s a great variety in the types of merchandising job opportunities available, but the main one is where manufacturers hire merchandising firms to make sure that their products are always well-displayed and kept current and fully stocked in retail stores. Other types of merchandising jobs involve product demos to customers (food tastings at Costco, etc) or product training and demonstrations for retail staff associates during new product launches. I worked for several months merchandising books and magazines in several big box stores every week for about 10 hours a week which involved pulling old magazines off the shelf and shipping their covers back to the magazine company, putting new magazines on the racks and generally making sure that the displays were clean and dusted and all the display signage was visible and in good condition. I also merchandised sunglasses in several drugstores a couple of times a month.
With the exception of product demonstrations which usually happen on weekends, merchandising is generally a Monday to Friday job that needs to be done during business hours, often early in the day in order to avoid peak shopping periods. So if you’re looking for a second job after your regular workday ends, you’ll probably want to try something else, but merchandising is the perfect job for anyone with a flexible schedule during the day. As long as I finished my route every week, it was up to me to decide what days I wanted to work and how many stores I’d visit in a single day. I was easily able to fit the work into an already busy schedule.
Many merchandisers work part-time servicing a small number of stores every week, but it is definitely the type of job that can scale up to full-time if you find you really enjoy it and there are even opportunities to move into management or become a member of a reset team that travels within a region doing large-scale resets of displays and merchandise.
Where the Jobs Are
If you are in the US and are looking for a retail merchandising job, the best place to start is with the National Association for Retail Marketing Services (narms.com) who maintain a very active job bank. Just add your profile to their website, and you’ll start getting job opportunities posted to you as they become available in your area. Craigslist is another possibility. Just search the job postings with keywords such as “merchandising”, “product demos”, etc. Many retail merchandising jobs requires at least some retail experience, but if you’ve ever done mystery shopping that counts, and there are plenty of opportunities that don’t require retail experience specifically since much of the work is easy to learn.