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A Guide to Retail Careers

by
Mizio de Sousa

If you're good with people and you have strong leadership skills, retail could be an exciting and rewarding career for you. There's more to the field than you think and a wide range of roles to choose from. Here are some of the more common positions and what you'll need to succeed.

Custom Service Manager

To succeed in customer service, you'll need to be patient, a natural problem solver, and a great communicator. Your job will be to solve problems for unhappy customers in a professional manner. It's an important role, as you'll be responsible for increasing the chances unhappy customers become returning customers.

You won't need a degree to land an entry-level customer service position, but some employers look for proven client handling experience. Most customer service agents quickly work their way up to customer service managers, where your role will focus on handling more severe cases.

Retail Store Manager

As a store manager, you'll be responsible for a store's daily running and operations and its employees. Tasks will include ordering stock, hiring workers, arranging shifts, and improving efficiency. A good store manager will have strong leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills.

Most retailers offer a graduate management programme, where you'll be trained from the ground up, but you could climb your way into a management position without a degree. From store management, you could find yourself progressing into area management and head office.

Sales Manager

One of the essential areas for retail businesses is sales. Without a steady inflow of new business, companies wouldn't be able to stay profitable. To succeed in sales, you need

to be an expert communicator, comfortable talking to clients, and knowledgeable about the product you're selling.

Typically you don't need a degree to get a sales job, especially entry-level positions in clothing retail stores. Employers mostly look for experience, but a degree could help land a more competitive position, such as a tech sales job.

Retail Buyer

A retail buyer is responsible for identifying, sourcing, and introducing new products for stores and client bases. The position is popular with supermarket chains, clothing retailers, and department stores. Your tasks could include pitching new ideas/products, researching market trends, and analysing sales performance to identify products that could be let go.

Most professionals end up in the role after doing a graduate retail management scheme; however, it is possible to work your way up in-house with experience.

Logistics and supply chain

If you're a graduate or school leaver with solid leadership and problem-solving skills, you could excel in a logistics and supply chain management career. Most starting roles will involve managing warehouse staff during the shift, ensuring that they hit targets and that operations run smoothly.

With experience, you can work up into an operations management position, where you'll get to manage production schedules, handle client communications, and deliver project targets. Most companies offer a graduate scheme which is usually open to applicants from any discipline. However, it would help if you had a qualification in supply chain management or a business degree.

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