The outsourcing industry is beginning to be known as an innovation for businesses, bringing in more business for Third Party Merchandising firms. These firms must prove to prospective clients that their staff is accountable and equipped to perform merchandising at a higher level than the client’s current staff. To develop a team of rockstar merchandisers and stand out from the competition, these firms should seek out and instill team members with these three qualities:
1. Service Oriented
Because outsourced merchandising is a service, it is critical that reps are always performing their duties with this central focus. Their responsibilities may be to place products on a shelf or set up a promotional table, yet it is the attention to detail while performing these tasks that makes the difference. This may mean going the extra mile to answer in-store customer questions about the product or double checking shelf facings. It is crucial for merchandising reps to consistently provide excellent customer service as a way of demonstrating to clients that their brand is important. This will not only instill a sense of trust with current clients, but will show to prospective clients the benefits of the firm. Since choosing a third-party firm is a serious financial consideration, clients may want to observe reps in action. Building a team of service-oriented individuals will help nurture current client relationships and create opportunities for new clients.
When a rep merchandises as a third-party, it is not always immediately clear who their customer is. An outstanding third-party merchandising representative needs to be flexible because at any given time they could be directly serving the firm that hired them, the manager of the store they are working in, or even the customer in the store. To address each of these responsibilities, it is essential that great reps not only be attentive to details like the placement of price stickers, but have the ability to perform as a brand promoter and provide competent advice within the category of products they are working in. The ideal third-party merchandising representative will have both analytical and interpersonal skills.
Merchandising service firms can do their best to seek out both service-oriented and flexible team members during the hiring process, but there are also options firms can use to boost the performance of their current reps. For example, some firms leverage solutions like Field Activity Management software that enable their reps to perform optimized audits. To keep track of performance, it is essential that merchandising reps perform continuous audits to ensure the correct shelf placement, facings, and stock of products. A software solution like this allows managers to create custom forms that reps can fill out with the details of each project. Enabling the team with tools will help optimize their time and show accountability to management. Through careful hiring and intentional technology choices, the best third-party merchandisers are simultaneously focused on service, flexible to take on different roles, and equipped with tools that serve core responsibilities.
Erin P. Friar
Erin Friar is a Content Marketing Journalist Intern at Repsly, Inc. and is completing a Journalism degree at Suffolk University. She is a master of grammar and is passionate about creating fresh content to help foster efficiency and overall success in small businesses.