Merchandising: Expectations vs. Reality

Posted in | | By Georgie Hillier

Merchandising: Expectations vs. Reality

Merchandising: Expectations vs. Reality

A lot of people usually think straight to visual merchandising when they think of merchandising, which is a type of merchandising that focuses on the way a display is presented and the way it looks. But actually merchandising covers off a whole lot more than that. Here at RMS our team of merchandisers work on a really wide range of different projects and tasks in a retail environment. 

You might know a little about retail merchandising, or you might know a lot, either way we wanted to cover off some expectations vs. reality of working as part of a retail merchandising team. We believe in honesty and transparency so that you can make a really informed decision as to if a career in retail merchandising is the right one for you. 


Expectation: You are mainly stocking shelves

Reality: Fully stocked shelves are important, in fact they are absolutely essential to a successful retail operation. So yes you will be stocking shelves, display units or promotional displays but this is just one small element to the role. In reality, you will be doing so much more than that! There’s a lot of other tasks that need to be done before a shelf can be filled and that’s where RMS comes in. You might be reprofiling shelves to a new height, implementing a new planogram and point of sale and then restocking the shelves to a new plan. Or you might be completing a total range change for a group of products and that has a lot of different stages to it. Also, as you’ll be working for RMS you’ll get the opportunity to work for different retailers and work on different projects so you’ll always be doing something different to keep things interesting!


Expectation: There is only part time and temporary work, not full time work

Reality: We work with a totally transparent and flexible model. Yes we offer part time work and work for as long as you would like it, but there absolutely is as much work as you want there to be, for as long as you want there to be. A lot of our merchandisers have been working with us full time for over 10 years! So there definitely is a career to be had if that’s what you’re looking for and we would absolutely love to have people fulfil their full career with us. But if you’re just looking for some part time work, that is totally fine too, the most important thing is that you are the right fit for the role with the right skills and experience. 


Expectation: I’ll be working in the same store

Reality: We like to keep people in regular teams and regular stores when possible so that teams can get to know each other and you can get to know the store well. But as we are usually working on different projects each month, most of the time you will work in one specific skilled area e.g. grocery or DIY stores and you will then travel to different stores and you will have paid accommodation meaning you can work in stores all across the UK. For a lot of our team, this has given them the opportunity to explore parts of the country that they never would have had the chance to go to otherwise. But it’s all in your control - you can decide if working locally or working away from home is right for you. 


Expectation: I’ll be working a lot on my own

Reality: You might need to complete some tasks on your own but all of our projects require a team of skilled merchandisers and installers so usually you’ll be working as part of a dynamic and great team. We try to keep teams the same where possible so that you can work with people you have come to know and work well with. 


Expectation: There isn't a long term career available

Reality: There most definitely is! If that’s what you want of course. Everybody is different and some people are very happy with their careers at the stage they are at and wouldn’t want to progress into a more senior position or a management role and that is absolutely ok - everyone wants slightly different things and we respect every individual's choice and career path. But if you are looking to progress then we have lots of opportunities to progress to a team leader role or working as part of our central office team. Lots of our office management team have progressed and worked their way up to where they are now from a field based role. 

If this all sounds like something you would be interested in, we are currently recruiting for roles across the UK. You can apply online on our vacancies page: