Stacking the deck

Attracting passing customers is as important as it has ever been, and today, merchandisers play a key role in the process.

By Peter Howard.

What do those mysterious yet vital cogs in the retail machine, known as merchandisers, do? How can contracted marketing organisations support retailers as they emerge from a pandemic that has brought significant change to the retail landscape?

It’s a small army

To understand the opportunities and benefits of outsourced sales and marketing, Retail World spoke with Association of Sales and Merchandising Companies Australasia (ASMCA) Chair Keith Quigg.

“If we look back to the early stages of the pandemic, when significant panic buying and many other problems in supply arose, particularly in the grocery industry, we saw the role of merchandisers become part of the essential services to the retail industry,” he said.

“There was quite a bit of communication between the likes of the Prime Minister’s office, state Premiers and others to make sure there was recognition of the services required by the retailers, from both their suppliers and within their own realms, and to make sure there was plenty of people available.

“We get an idea of the scale of the industry when we see Woolworths instantly employ 10,000 people released by Qantas and others in the airline industry, just to make sure there was manpower available.

“There are currently anywhere between 50,000 and 100,000 merchandisers out there helping to keep retail stores as active as they possibly can be. It’s difficult to be precise, but at the moment I’d say service providers are probably employing as much as 50 per cent of all those people.”

 Read the sales and marketing feature in the May issue of Retail World magazine.