How to Start a Personal Shopping Business in Canada

by Sean Ross

3 min read

Imagine getting paid to browse a wide selection of products, following your instincts to select the best ones that fulfill a specific need. This is personal shopping in a nutshell, and shopping for others is a fun and rewarding business you can do from the comfort of your home. If you’re someone who loves to shop, have good customer service skills, and have lots of patience, being a personal shopper may be your dream career.

Study Shopping Trends

As you begin learning how to become a personal shopper, your first task is to do research by studying current shopping trends. It’s not enough to just have good shopping instincts. You also need to have a handle on what’s popular, and what’s no longer trendy. Your customers are expecting you to be the expert, and that requires visiting stores, browsing catalogues, and attending a trade show every now and then.

Seek Paid Training

A great way to gain experience is to take a job as a personal shopper at a local retail outlet. Brand name stores in Canada that offer personal shopping services include Anthropologie, Topshop, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Online marketplaces such as InstaBuggy hire people willing to shop for groceries and make local deliveries. While working as a paid shopper, you’ll gain invaluable insight into customer desires, how to shop efficiently, and how to handle various issues that arise. You can also attend a seminar or take a training course offered by a professional personal shopper.

Become a Master of Cross-selling

Personal shopping customers have a basic idea of what they want, but that doesn’t mean you’re limited to a narrow list of items. Use your expertise to expand options by mastering cross-selling, a sales technique that enhances the basic shopping list with complementary items. For instance, if a customer wants a nice evening outfit for a special occasion, you can suggest accessories that complete the look. Cross-selling gives the customer more value, and your company earns additional profit.

Reliable Transportation

Having a reliable mode of transportation is a must when offering personal shopping services. The lifeblood of your business depends on being able to travel back and forth to retail stores and client homes. If you own a car, keep it well-maintained to avoid breakdowns. Showing up late, or not at all, hurts business. If you rely on taxicabs, set aside money for transportation costs.

Personal Stylist Shopper

Helping people look great by choosing trendy clothing and accessories is rewarding and lucrative. Everyday people from all walks of life use personal stylist shoppers to help them update their appearance. The Refinery is a great example of this type of personal shopping business. During the consultation phase, customers provide detailed information that helps you assess their individual needs. Outfits are selected based on what you’ve learned, plus your great eye for colour, fit, and style.

Personal Gift Shopper

Finding the perfect gift for a spouse, relative, or business associate isn’t easy for busy people who don’t have time, or for those who hate shopping. You, on the other hand, love shopping for gifts, and that’s why you’ll make this service a huge success. Because most of your earnings are going to come during big holidays, you may want to offer this as an additional service of your main shopping focus.

Personal Groceries Shopper

There is an increasing demand for grocery shoppers who can take over the physical shopping duties of those who find shopping difficult or inconvenient. Older Canadians with physical limitations are a good target market. Busy professionals who simply don’t have time to shop may also need your services. Customers give you a shopping list, you select and make purchases, and then you deliver the goods to their homes.

Get Organized

Juggling customer consultations, appointments, shopping duties, and deliveries requires organization. There are several great organizing apps that can help keep you on schedule. A personal shopping business gives you the opportunity to do what you love, help people in need, and work flexible hours.

References & Resources

Related Articles

Human Buycology: A Small Business Marketing Guide to Consumer Shopping Behaviour

The average consumer pays little attention to the specific sights, sounds, and…

Read more

Maximize Product Exposure with Google Shopping Campaigns

Since Google rolled out the Shopping tab on its search engine, more…

Read more

Tap In: How to Build Customer Relationships With Location-Based Marketing

Consumers’ shopping habits are increasingly affected by mobile and digital technologies that…

Read more