A retail merchandising service is a great way to create a successful home based business. It is a business where you can create your own schedule, and manage from your home.
Retail merchandising companies provide services where they represent a product or company and ensure that the goods are shown appropriately in a store or online. You ensure that the businesses that you represent have their goods displayed in the right store, the right place, the right price at the right time.
Yes, I know, that is a lot of “rights” in that phrase, but hey, it really is what it is.
My wife and I provided this type of service for a drywall company for 7 years on a part-time basis. We were able to supplement our income while my wife and I were able to be at home to raise our young children.
I had a full-time job at the time but had a variable schedule, so the day I was off during the week, my wife would go out to do the merchandising. When she was pregnant with our second child, I would do the merchandising while she stayed home with the kids. It really worked out well for us at the time.
What We Did As Merchandisers
Brenda and I had a contract with a drywall company that supplied drywall, mud, and related supplies.
We would go around to the big box stores to ensure that their products were properly displayed. Making sure that all the signs were still in the proper place showing the latest advertised prices and specials.
The stock would be checked, and recommendations for re-orders were provided to the store managers.
This type of service ensures the company’s products have the best competitive edge over the other products in the store. In most cases, the companies add this service cost into the wholesale price of the product, in exchange, the stores do not need to hire staff to maintain the products in the store.
How To Get Started
Most larger companies like the one we provided merchandising services usually contract out to well established merchandising agencies.
We were able to get the contract with the drywall company by negotiating with a regional representative. He signed us up on a trial basis, once he knew we provided great service with a local and personal touch, we were set for the long run.
To me, this is the best way to secure leads to getting a contract with large suppliers.
It would be difficult to approach a company the same way as the big boys like Spar Group or Mosaic. They have years of experience and a bankroll to back them up. Trying to compete with these types of companies head to head will leave you squashed like a chipmunk trying to stop an transport truck on the highway.
Using the same chipmunk analogy, instead of coming head to head with a company on the highway, wait until they are parked and stroll up to the driver while he/she is eating their lunch in the truck.
The fact that you are approaching them this way will likely be intriguing to them and they might just leave you something to nibble on.
In other words, you can go to big box stores on the weekends, when regional representatives are providing workshops or special incentive demonstrations in the store and conjure up a conversation with that representative.
You will need to show interest and knowledge in their product, so do your homework prior to approaching them. You’ll likely only have 1-2 minutes to make your sales pitch because they are there to make sales too.
Show that you know your stuff, explain quickly how you can offer them a service that the big companies are not able, have a business card or pamphlet ready to give them.
Close the deal in ensuring you have their email or phone number and that you will contact them on the next business day to discuss with further details, this way you are in control of the next step.
You are catching them at the first level of the buying stage, so when you contact them on the next working day, you will rapidly know if they have an interest or even have any say in the process of having a local merchandiser.
One aspect you can spin is the idea that they will no longer need to do those demo days on the weekend, that could be the clincher to selling your service right there.
You may be asking, “What can I do if I can’t find regional reps in stores in my area?”
Then I say, don’t give up! Start by visiting stores and walk through the isles.
Look at how different products are presented on the shelves.
Are there some products not being represented as well as other companies for the same product line?
Write down the names of the products that look lost on the shelves, not well organized, low stock, not properly or well labeled.
Then ask the stock personnel on the floor if it is themselves that fill the shelves with that product or the company for that product who manage the display, find out if by chance they know the representative.
I think you get the idea here, you see a brand that is not well represented, find out by questioning the staff in the store to find out who you need to contact to offer your services.
If possible, take pictures of what you saw in the store, then clean it up and take an after picture. Show them proof and advantages other companies can’t offer. Be original, show initiative, show that you will take charge of a situation and know how to fix anything.
Show the representatives proof and advantages that other companies can’t offer.
The other part that will sell the idea to go with you will be the price. You having much less overhead you will be able to provide a price that will sure to beat out the big boy competition.
Tips to Consider Before Starting
Understand Marketing – this tip will make or break you!
To go in saying you can do better when you have little to no marketing experience will certainly leave you in the company rep’s dust.
If you are not able to speak the lingo and understand the far-reaching intricacies within marketing, then get that training or experience first before embarking on the development of your own merchandising business.
As I mentioned in other blogs, there are a couple of ways you can gain the knowledge required to start your own business without going to business school.
**Remember some of the most successful business men or women never had any business schooling.
The first way of learning while earning (I’m not a fan of learning while paying) is by working for a company like Spar or Mosaic, and get the experience that way (a similar method shown in “How To Start House A Cleaning Business“).
The second option, my preferred option is to sign up for my #1 recommended online university.
I will provide more detail on this option lower down, but not only will it provide you with a limitless wealth of marketing information, it provides you with the opportunity to start your online business with unmatched support from thousands of people already working in the online marketing business.
If you read any of my other blogs about starting a work from home business you will notice my constant reminder to create a business plan.
Hold it…no need to run. It’s not all that difficult.
All you need to do is list all the things you know and want to do and put it down on paper. Here is a sample template for your convenience provided by BDC-Business Plan
Tools – depending on the type of merchandise you will be representing, you will need to have the appropriate tools.
We worked for a drywall company, so we were not expected to bring a truckload of the merchandise to the stores daily, that of course was all managed directly by the company.
We were expected to ensure that the products were clean, had proper signage and pamphlets available for the customers.
So we did have a van for all the boxes with signs, pamphlets, the point of sale display holders, cleaning tools, you name it, we had it all in that van.
Some companies may want you to bring the merchandise to the store yourself, so you will need to adapt accordingly.
Communication – one key factor that pleased the company we represented was our commitment to clear and timeless communication.
We agreed on weekly reports to be sent to the representative with the information they felt was invaluable and not provided by other merchandising companies.
Any concerns, complaints or compliments the store staff provided would be communicated back to the representative for his follow up. This was invaluable to the representative to respond in a timely manner with his customers, boosting his accountability with them and consequently boosted our value with the representative and stores.
We provided that old small town personal touch!
Market your Service – Most Important Step to be Successful!
This should be a given, but if you are not able to provide a good impression of your business, how do you expect to sell it to companies that you are trying to represent. Having cards, pamphlets, and a website is good, but if they don’t stand out from the crowd or look just plain dated and ugly, then it will be a hard sell no matter how you spin it.
I mentioned earlier that I would explain My #1 Recommended, it is called Wealthy Affiliate! This site will not only teach and support you during your marketing education but it provides you with everything that is required to start your online representation online. You will be able to create your own websites perfectly catered to your audience.
You can read my review all about their services here ==> Wealthy Affiliate Review.
I hope all this information helps you to get one step closer at starting your own business. It is not impossible, only you can make a change in your destiny today.
The business motto I go by:
“You don’t have to be great to start a business, but you have to start to create great business!”
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