If you consider working in the retail industry there specific steps that will define your career path.
Career Paths, Careers advice

Choosing retail for your career path

Do you love working with people by delivering an exceptional service? Then you should consider the retail industry

If you are considering positions in retail industry, you should reflect on the type of working environment you are looking for: small stores or the ones belonging to big corporations. If you choose the former, you will probably find a calm, relaxed and more welcoming context. If you are aiming high and going for the bigger brands, you will have to follow specific guidelines, rules and a more formal working routine.

There are nine specific areas that define job opportunities within the retail sector:

  • Store Operations
  • Human Resources/Training
  • Finance and Administration
  • Buying
  • Customer Contact Centres
  • Marketing
  • Logistic
  • Information Technology (IT)

Before becoming a Director of Operations, considered a top management position, there are entry-level positions to commence with, such as assistant store manager or retail worker on the floor. Starting with junior roles and steadily growing within the retail industry, you will get a lot of transferable skills that can be later used in higher positions in the field: as a store manager, operations officer, merchandising specialist or a buyer.

Always perform a vertical research when looking for a job in this industry. For example, in the UK, logistics is the fifth biggest industry, involving a wide range of goods across more than 11 supply chains. Choose the retail category that fits your personality and your expectations in terms of career path and development. If you are looking for completely retail-oriented podcasts or videos don’t miss some of the best practical tips!

What are the retail skills and qualities that employers are looking for?

Communication skills define the way you interact with your customers

For this specific job you have to master powerful interpersonal skills because your main efforts will be on communicating in a natural manner. And you will be required to understand in a very short amount of time what the customer wants. Being attentive, empathetic and able to read between the lines is fundamental when it comes to interpreting the desires and needs of people without being pushy or invasive.

Proactivity is crucial for an excellent service

A good degree of proactivity will allow you to be an efficient team member, able to help your coworkers during difficult moments. Everyone talks about being proactive, but what does this mean? Basically, ‘proactive behavior aims at identification and exploitation of opportunities and in taking preemptory action against potential problems and threats, whereas reactive behavior focuses on fighting a fire or solving a problem after it occurs’. The capacity of knowing when and how to be proactive can save you a lot of time when you have to quickly solve a problem. But do not exaggerate – avoid conflicts in terms of leadership.

Organized and detail-oriented qualities

Two of the most required competencies are good work management/organization and a keen eye for detail, especially when you have start managing the employees and communicating with the top management. You will be required to multitask and keep in order a hole system that needs to work perfectly. The quality of your job exposes you directly to the final buying experience of the customer.

Finally, you have to be a natural-born seller if you are passionate about this industry because at the end of the day you have to sell a good product, become a brand ambassador and retain the customer by building a relationship based on loyalty.

Learn more about the Customer Service Tips all Retailers should try in order to acquire new skills and knowledge about this sector.

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