At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the upward trend of e-commerce and digital technology usage erupted as concerned shoppers looked to decrease their store visits.
Shopping apps experienced record downloads. Stay at home orders delivered an explosion of new search queries. And consumer engagement with brands through social media, multimedia platforms and e-commerce sites like Amazon skyrocketed.
Shoppers who were previously skeptical of the online shopping process for some categories will continue using BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) services and will begin future transactions on retail mobile apps. Some customers will adapt and learn to love the process of making an appointment to pick up their orders. Other shoppers will continue to prefer walking and browsing in a store.
The customer experience remains the key to success. Retailers must deliver convenient, contactless shopping and facilitate safe sensorial showroom experiences. Brick-and-mortar has updated its sanitation practices, but they’ll also need to be fluid in restructuring in-store roles, labor hours and how they allocate square footage.
Kathy Risch, Premium’s Vice President of Consumer Insights and Analytics recommends placing an emphasis on communicating with empathy and being helpful to the individual shopper by providing contextually relevant solutions, now more than ever.
“Are your customers balancing working from home with kids? Do they have less money to spend? Are they looking to escape or treat themselves? Success lies in the ability to make data-informed choices about what they need in the moment to tailor the right message in the store and online.”
And, as customers are forced to become more comfortable with technology to shop, it’s important to lean into digital solutions – both for customers and store associates. It’s vital that the efficiencies enabled by technology not be absent of personalized, human connection.
That’s why Premium’s digital engagement solutions are designed to meet the moment and facilitate interactions that provide the customer both with the tools they need to make an informed decision as well as the experience they want to remain comfortable given the current state of retail.
Online Brand Champions
Retailers and manufacturers can take control of their brand and ensure satisfaction by leveraging experts to engage with consumer reviews and answer product questions.Learn more here.
Instantly connect shoppers with virtual product experts via video, text, or chat through a variety of in-store and online triggers. Read the case study here.
Grab attention and increase retention with engaging content strategically delivered to intercept and attract customers.
Engage retail associates and win mindshare with a mobile product knowledge game created exclusively by Premium.
“The adoption of virtual support will grow with shoppers, either through live video from the store or brand experts supporting customers when they’re unpacking their purchase. Retailers and manufacturers will need to accelerate targeted offers for shoppers both pre- and post-purchase.”
Haven’t worked in retail before? You may have seen one of our job postings seeking retail experience in visual merchandising or sales. Still, you aren’t sure if your previous jobs qualify. No problem, we’ll help you learn the ropes of the retail industry.
First, what exactly is Premium Retail Services?
Premium provides sales and merchandising services for retailers and for brands. 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.
*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 retail merchandiser, you’ll visit retail stores to stock products, build displays, or install promotional materials, ultimately to increase sales.
Part-time, flexible merchandising jobs 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.
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 Ambassadorsbecome 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.
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.
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 shoppers to make 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.
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.
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.
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 merchandisers exactly where to place specific products on shelves within an aisle in order to maximize sales. Think of planograms as blueprints to follow as you build the assortment (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 brick-and-mortar retailer. At Premium, we work in tandem with store management on behalf of our clients. Last year, Premium trained 475K+ Retail Sales Associates.
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 and managing their inventory. The category of snack 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.