Category: Career Resources

Aug

21

 

There’s a common perception that career paths move in straight, pre-planned lines; but that’s rarely true. Careers have twists and turns, new opportunities, and unexpected challenges that change our trajectory.

We sat down with a few #PeopleofPremium to hear how they’ve maneuvered the curves to grow their own careers at Premium.

 

 

What led you to your career at Premium?

 

Chris: My background is in consumer electronics. I worked in big box retail stores like Circuit City and Best Buy in the home theatre department. After that, I was a field market manager in Austin, TX for a major appliance company.

Sherry: I come from a totally different background. I spent 23 years in banking. I began working at the Federal Reserve Bank in the securities vault in Birmingham, AL; worked in many other roles and departments for 13 years then went to a commercial bank, working my way up to an AVP position in Correspondent Banking.  When I left banking, I started my own business advocating for people with disabilities for 7 years.

I got to a point where I needed a part-time job to stay home and help my grandfather. I talked to a friend who knew someone that was working as a Premium Zone Leader and through that connection, was lucky to start at Premium a week later. When I first walked into Walmart as a Merchandiser in 2012, I had no retail experience whatsoever.

 

What roles have you had in your time at Premium?

 

Cristina: I began my career with Premium in 2013 after completing grad school. I was a Retail Market Manager and worked on some international projects in Mexico and Canada. Now, I’m in a corporate training role.

Chris: I started at Premium in 2017 as an Associate Regional Manager on a dedicated team for a major technology brand. After a year, my program was reduced so I transitioned into Recruiting. A Program Manager position on the Operations team became available and was a perfect fit. I was able to help launch a group of field market leads and trainers and assist at a major national retail chain.

In 2019, I accepted a role as a Regional Manager on one of Premium’s newest dedicated teams. The Pet team has 100+ field reps representing Royal Canin and Eukanuba brands in PetSmart, Petco and other regional retailers. Since then, I have been promoted to Senior Regional Manager. It has been incredible getting to interact with cats and dogs while promoting a brand that really supports pet health and nutrition.

Sherry: I started in 2012 as a Retail Merchandiser in Birmingham and became a Zone Specialist. After a couple of years, I became a Zone Leader. Then in 2017, I accepted a position to be a Field Coordinator for Florida and Georgia. Three months later I took an interim position as a Retail Market Manager for the Atlanta market. At the end of 2017, Premium blessed me with the company’s first-ever Field Excellence Award.

In 2017, Premium was announced as one of Walmart’s 5 Preferred Service Providers and we began developing our Walmart-Dedicated PSP team.  I wanted to be a part of a brand-new program, something I’d never done before, so I interviewed for the Territory Manager job in Alabama. In May 2020, I moved up to the Regional Manager position for the Southeast and am still one of four Regional Managers on our recently merged the Walmart PSP team which is one of Premium’s largest programs.

 

 

What experiences at Premium have prepared you for where you are today? 

 

Chris: Launching an entire program from the ground up was a bit stressful and intimidating. I had seen others do it, but I had to rely on the guidance of those managing above me. There was pressure to make sure that the team I was leading offered the right support to the field. We came through it unscathed, and now I think about those challenges as a significant point in my career. Challenges help us improve – they aren’t something to shy away from.

Cristina: Once you’ve survived the launch of a new program at Premium, you can do anything in the world, right? There’s so much involved in order to bring it to life including working with various corporate teams at Premium – HR, Recruiting/Onboarding, Training, Field Management, Client Service, Operations Support Center. We work hard to make sure we have the right team in the field, and that they’re prepared to take on the project. It’s incredible what can be accomplished at every turn and is rewarding to know you helped create that growth.

 

 

What advice would you give to someone just getting started at Premium?

 

Sherry: Speak up and share your thoughts and ideas. If the instructions are wrong, let us know.  If something could be done differently to make a job easier, share your thoughts.  Reps help keep us headed in the right direction in the field of operations. One of the things I say to my team is “If you’re going to come to me with a problem, please come with possible solutions. Help the team by thinking outside the box.”

Cristina: Similarly, when there is an obstacle, don’t just complain about it. Instead, recommend a thought-out solution. Every idea won’t be gold. But you may point out a flaw that other people haven’t solved. Your idea may spark another, even more significant, idea.

 

 

Even on our Facebook groups, you’ll see reps sharing best practices while they’re at the store. They’re going above and beyond to help the team. Going that extra mile is crucial to success wherever you end up.

Chris: Make sure to prepare in advance. Always follow up with additional questions to ensure you can deliver what the client is trying to achieve. Learn from your mistakes and challenge yourself to be better.

Cristina: We’ve all had to learn lessons the hard way. No matter what, be sure to start building relationships with those around you right away.

 

What’s the best way to build relationships with stores?

 

Sherry: We have to build strong relationships to partner with our stores. Premium team members go into the store as a guest and as a partner. We have to balance our clients’ needs with what the store must accomplish. It’s okay to ask stores, “How can I help you?” or “What are you looking to accomplish?” Once you understand how you can help the store be successful and show the store you’re ready to work with them, it opens up the dialogue to accomplish goals for our clients and the store; making for a strong Premium presence in Walmart!

Chris: Adding on to that, once you’ve introduced yourself, make the dialogue a bit more personal. Many times, I’ve seen conversations start by showing off photos of kids and dogs. Eventually, stores won’t see you as a vendor coming in to perform a service, but as a partner and a resource.

 

What should an employee do if they’re ready to advance their career with Premium?

 

Chris: Listening plays a big part. Whether you’re a part of a team or leading a team, you need to listen and watch. You can learn from everybody, and that’s how I realized the difference between a manager and a leader. Field reps shouldn’t be afraid to ask their manager what they can improve on.

 

 

I would also encourage anybody to reach out to co-workers. Share what you know and invest in the people you work with. What would you like to see improve? What questions do you have? It’s never bad to hear too many ideas.

Sherry: We always need to be open to learning. You can see when someone is ready to move up. Every time they achieve a new goal, they’re ready to take on more. They show it in the way they carry themselves, the way they interact with others, and the solutions they bring to the table.

Cristina: Say something to your management and express it at any opportunity you get. Don’t be shy! Be open to constructive criticism to help you grow. Show off your skills that you feel would benefit the role you are interested in. That may include going above and beyond a job role, but it is worth it! Ask your manager about our management development opportunities as well. Premium has a lot of skills-based training to offer you may not know about.

 

Why do you like being a part of the Premium family?

 

Cristina: We aren’t just dedicated to the client. We’re dedicated to our teams and to helping each other. Our clients set a high bar, but we do a great job of balancing our resources to set realistic expectations, preparing the team to hit goals, and communicating through the process.

It’s easy to be dedicated to something that you love. I love the people that I work with. I love the support system that we have. Whatever it is you’re doing, I believe you should do it with passion and dedication. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at. When you love your job, you’re going to be really good at your job.

Chris: No other company has helped me grow so many different skills or has shown they actually care about your growth. I always try to build that same loyalty and exhibit that care with those that I manage. We know it can be stressful. But like everything else in life, getting past those things gives us the skills to keep improving.

Sherry: I do a lot of reflecting on how far I’ve come at Premium. Ron Travers (Premium’s founder) had a genuine desire to see people succeed and wanted them to have the opportunity to move up within the company. This man’s vision has really changed my life to have the opportunities I’ve had here. His spirit of leadership still lives on within us. The culture and everything he believed in is still here and the reason Premium is still successful today.

Thank you, Cristina, Chris and Sherry for sharing your Premium stories and bringing Premium’s culture to life!

Jun

11

Haven’t worked in retail before? You may have seen one of our job postings seeking retail merchandising or sales experience. Still, you aren’t sure if your previous jobs qualify. No problem, we’ll help you learn the ropes.

 

First, what exactly is Premium Retail Services? 

Premium provides sales and merchandising services for retail. Our impressive list of clients includes brands across a variety of product categories. Nearly half of our 200+ clients are Fortune 500!  

We partner with most major retailers, and we’re even a preferred provider for many. Search all of our open opportunities now!

 

*Denotes retailers in which we are a preferred partner 

 

What does a Merchandiser do? 

Great merchandising makes products stand out and captures the attention of shoppers. It enables customers to find the products they love quickly and easily. As a merchandiser, you’ll visit retail stores to stock products, build displays, or install promotional materials, ultimately increasing sales.  

These part-time, flexible roles are perfect for students, parents, or those looking to supplement their income while maintaining a busy lifestyle. Merchandisers thrive on independence and make their own schedules within a given week.  

Premium provides instructions and support, but it’s up to each Retail Specialist to get the job done in stores. There’s a huge sense of accomplishment taking each project from start to finish and stepping back to see the improvement. 

Want to learn more? Review our glossary of the merchandising terms you’ll need to know. 

Join the team as a merchandiser today! 

 

What does a Brand Ambassador do? 

While Premium was founded as a merchandising company, our capabilities have expanded. We have a variety of field sales and marketing teams located across North America offering full-time and seasonal positions. 

Brand Ambassadors become product experts in the brand and category they represent. Retail marketing is an excellent fit if you take pride in providing exceptional customer service, love solving problems, and go above and beyond for others.  

Brand Ambassadors visit multiple store locations each day to educate retail associates on an assortment of products. They help shoppers find the right product, answer questions or provide demonstrations. Outside of the store, these teams also represent the brand online or at events, collaborate to deliver widespread impact and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the latest products. 

Ready to become a Brand Ambassador? Click here! 

 

Can retail be a career? 

Yes! Premium is the perfect place to start or pivot your career. Passion and willingness to learn can offer limitless possibilities for your career. Merchandising Specialists and Brand Ambassadors often advance into market leadership or corporate positions within field operations or training.  

We’re always adding new opportunities! Sign up for Premium’s Talent Community and we’ll send you jobs that match your criteria. 

May

27

When our merchandising reps are hard at work in retail stores across North America, they come across what seems like hundreds of terms and acronyms. Think you know the ins and outs of retail merchandising? Check out our glossary of commonly used retail lingo below.

1. Action alley: The central aisle around the store where there is generally the most open space. Retailers prompt impulse purchases by positioning displays along this main thoroughfare. Also known as the racetrack.

2. Audit: A way to ensure compliance and performance of a merchandising display. Tasks of completing an audit include ensuring products are in the right place, the display is set to POG and correct labels/signage are used. Premium completes 985K+ audit visits per year.

3. Backstock: Inventory that is kept palletized in boxes in the back room until it is needed to replenish displays on the sales floor.

Clip strip in Walmart Health & Beauty aisle.

4. Clip strip: A retail product display, so named because it is a length of either plastic or metal with clips or hooks at regular intervals, upon which merchandise is hung. These can be found in the aisle, on an endcap or at the registers and is often an impulse purchase. It depends on the retailer for the rules.

5. CPG (Consumer-Packaged Goods): Merchandise that customers use and need to replace on a frequent basis. CPG examples include food, beverages, cosmetics and cleaning products.

6. Cut-in: Shifting or removing merchandise to make space on the retail shelf for new or promotional products. Cut-ins typically occur between major merchandising resets to introduce items more quickly. Also known as NPI (New Product Introduction) or EOL (Product End of Life).

7. DC (Distribution Center): Where products are stored prior to arriving at a retail store. The velocity of products moving through a distribution center is based on the sales volume occurring in the retail store. The more products people buy, the faster the store will need to replenish with additional inventory from the DC. Premium’s National Logistics and Distribution Center (NLDC) is 130K+ square feet. Last year, we shipped 470K packages to stores such as Best Buy and Walmart.

8. Display: A presentation of a store’s products used to attract and entice customers.

The Honest Company endcap in Walgreens.

9. Endcap: A display at the end of an aisle. Endcaps provide a competitive advantage for brands to call special attention to new or seasonal products, or to capitalize on impulse purchases from customers who would otherwise walk by. Premium builds endcaps in stores such as Walgreens and Walmart.

10. Facing: A way to describe how many “rows” or items should be front-facing on the shelf. This is the typical language used in a planogram. For example, a product may have 2 facings on the 2nd shelf up from the floor. It’s also the process of pulling products forward to be flush with the front of the shelf. Also known as blocking, zoning, straightening or fronting.

11. Fixture: Any piece of furniture or equipment that is fixed in position and displays or presents products. Fixtures are strategically arranged within the store to streamline the shopping experience and entice customers to buy.

12. Freestanding: A display that stands on its own in an aisle.

13. Gondolas: A freestanding fixture that consists of a flat base and a vertical component featuring notches or peg boards. Stores customize gondolas with shelves, hooks, or other display accessories.

14. Islander: An independent display positioned on the floor in a store’s main aisleway or racetrack. It generally has merchandise on all sides and features a distinct category of products. Premium ensures battery islanders near the registers are merchandised with multiple battery brands. Also known as a quad.

15. MOD (Modular): Different retailers utilize the term MOD in a variety of ways. MOD is yet another word for planogram (POG) and is sometimes used to refer to one 4-foot section of an aisle where a category of goods, like laundry detergent, is on display. For example, the laundry detergent is on MOD 4 in aisle 12.

16. MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price): The price that the manufacturer of the product believes the item should sell for in stores.

17. Mystery shopping: When a decoy shopper is sent into a retail store to evaluate the product merchandising or the customer experience. The mystery shopper behaves like a regular customer but then provides feedback to the store, the brand or the employee to help improve its performance.

18. OOS (Out of Stock): When a product sells out, it leaves an empty slot on the shelf. Premium’s Shared Services merchandising team ensures our clients’ products are not OOS by visiting more than 8,000 retail locations each week.

19. OSA (On-Shelf Availability): Walmart uses the acronym OSCA, meaning On-Shelf Customer Availability.

Cereal packed out in Walmart.

20. Pack out: The total number of packages of an item for the shelf to be at capacity or fully stocked. Packing out refers to the process of filling the store shelves with replenishment products from the store’s backroom supply. Premium packed out 1MM+ unique products in 2019.

21. Pallet: A wooden structure used to support goods while they’re being moved.

22. POG (Planogram): Visual diagrams that show exactly where to place specific products on shelves within an aisle in order to maximize sales. Think of a POG as a blueprint to follow as you build a section of facings for several products. Also known as plan-o-grams or schematics.

23. POP (Point of Purchase): Promotional collateral or signage that is not part of the regular store but is placed next to the product it’s promoting. POP may call customer attention to a discounted price, new packaging, coupons or special offers. Also known as shelf talkers or IRCs (Instant Redeemable Coupons)

24. PSP (Preferred Service Provider): Premium is 1 of only 5 approved PSPs who are allowed to merchandise products in the world’s largest retailer, Walmart. We are also a preferred partner for Walgreens, Target, Best Buy and several others. To join our PSP team, click here. To learn more about what our PSP team does click here.

25. RSA (Retail Sales Associate) or RSP (Retail Salesperson): An employee who works directly for the retailer. At Premium, we work in tandem with these folks on behalf of our clients. Last year, Premium trained 475K+ Retail Sales Associates.

Premium Retail Specialist with battery sidekick.

26. Sidekick: Refers to a display that requires little to no assembly in store. These displays are generally made from corrugated cardboard and are pre-packed when they arrive in stores. Different from POP, sidekicks contain merchandise within the display whereas POP is simply promotional collateral. Also known as shippers or PDQs (Predetermined Display Quantity).

27. SKU (Stock-Keeping Unit): A unique number (usually eight alphanumeric digits) assigned to an item by a retailer for the purpose of tracking their inventory. The category of chips can easily have 40 SKUs, in various combinations of brands, sizes and flavors. Pronounced ‘skew.’

28. Top stock: Additional inventory that is stored on top of store shelves for quick re-stocking to the products’ home location.

29. Top stock cart: Merchandisers often use utility carts to move products from the backroom and onto the store’s shelves. Also known as rocket cart.

30. UPC (Universal Product Code): SKUs and UPCs are commonly confused. The difference is that SKUs are unique to a single retailer whereas a UPC is placed on the product by the manufacturer and applies to that product no matter what store is selling it. If two stores are selling the same product, that item will have different SKUs, but the same UPC.

31. Quad: A display with four sides of merchandise.

32. Quantity on hand: This describes the physical inventory that a retailer has in possession at the store. Also known as on hand or OH for short.

Learn more about what Premium teams do.

Ready to apply? Search for retail merchandising jobs here.