Retail consists of the merchandise, display and sale of products within small retail shops, large department stores or retail franchises.
The Retail industry is large, diversified, grows constantly and offers several opportunities for employment. People interested in this sector may initiate their career as a shop assistant in order to gain experience dealing with customers and obtain knowledge about the fundamental tasks of maintaining a shop. It is advisable to have a basic interest in the products a shop or store division is commercializing. A genuine enthusiasm about products and the ability to advise others competently is highly valued by customers and facilitates long hours of work. Besides advising clients, shop assistants may also perform the tasks of cashiers, who are responsible for checking-out goods by scanning them and collecting payment from customers. Shop managers increased responsibilities and need to oversee entire divisions or stores. They are responsible for the day-to-day management of a store, track stock and sales figures and supervise shop assistants, cashiers, merchandisers and other personnel. Persons interested in the field of Retail need to demonstrate that they can advise and work with others, are punctual and accurate.
People working in Retail interact directly with clients. A friendly shop assistant leads to happy customers that are likely to return to the store. A competent store manager is able to select the right candidates for the job, trains personnel adequately and knows how to manage a good team. A large advantage for some is that this sector offers shifts outside of the 9 to 5 window, including weekends (grocery stores) and night shifts (gas station). When interested in Retail, one has to be aware of the long hours standing and walking while attending customers, which at times can be demanding. Generally, all backgrounds qualify for a job in Retail. Experience in essential tasks such as stock management or cash registration is highly valued by employees.
Requirements and skills
People working in Retail perform a range of tasks that require the following:
- Communication skills
- Arithmetic skills
- Being able to work under pressure and solve customer problems
- Being polite and attentive
- Have teamwork skills and knowledge about the products that are sold
Often, personnel of stores are required to pay close attention to personal appearance or wear a uniform. Vocational training may be required, work experience and willingness to learn, however, can amount to much. There are plenty of career opportunity within the field of Retail.
Within Retail one may find employment at different levels:
- Assistants: work as shop assistants, cashiers, stock assistants or merchandisers and are responsible for the advisory of customers, display and sale of products.
- Supervisors: depending on the size of a shop, middle managers such as staff supervisors or floor managers supervise specific units and divisions of a store. They usually report to managers and ensure that assistants work in line with the shop policies.
- Managers: usually oversee different divisions at the same time, may be responsible for an entire store or even various stores of one city or region. This level usually requires previous experience in supervisory roles and within the Retail sector.
Job titles include but are not limited to the following:
- Part-time Shop Assistant
- Retail Manager
- Retail Assistant
- Store Manager
- Shop Assistant
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