If people value personal connections and relationships, there will always be a need for retail jobs.
Retail workers are critical for driving sales, elevating customer service, and ensuring smooth operations for both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce stores.
What Is a Retail Job?
A retail job usually involves sales, interaction with customers, and overall customer service.
While many retail jobs are in a store setting, retail professionals also work within online businesses and offices.
Because most businesses engage with customers to generate sales, there is a high demand for retail workers.
There are also several types of jobs to consider in the retail sector, which we describe below.
What Kind of Stores Offer Retail Jobs?
Apart from online businesses and offices, the most typical retail job is in the storefront.
Retail workers are the “first line” of customer service for store visitors.
When a customer has a question about a product or service, they will turn to a retail associate.
Retail workers serve as “subject matter experts” about the store or retail establishment.
Customers will ask about item availability, promotions, discounts, and other general store questions.
Below are the most common types of stores where retail workers work.
According to Zippia, there are over 2.89 million people that work within the U.S. food industry in 2021.
Grocery stores need retail workers to help shoppers find food items within the food market.
Retail workers in grocery stores are also responsible for stocking inventory, maintaining a clean building, and ensuring an optimal shopping experience.
Many groceries also moved into the e-commerce space, which has created more retail jobs.
Customers will place their shopping order online, and then pick it up at the store.
Retail workers are in charge of processing orders, gathering the necessary items, and preparing orders for e-commerce customers.
People will always need food, so grocery store retail workers will always be in high demand.
While online shopping continues to rise, there are still several people who enjoy the in-store shopping experience.
Retail workers in fashion stores drive sales for a wide range of clothing items.
Shoppers rely on retail associates to check the availability of an item.
If a store does not have a clothing item, the retail workers will work with the customer to order it to the store or directly to the customer.
Retail workers in fashion stores also consult shoppers on any promotions or bundle discounts.
Customers will typically ask the workers if the store is running any sales.
They should have a clear idea of what shoppers like, and which clothing items are good deals.
Furniture and Appliances
Retail workers who work in furniture and appliance stores will deal with big-ticket sales.
Couches, sofas, and chairs can sometimes cost thousands of dollars.
Therefore, customer interactions are even more critical.
The buyer will put much more time and thought into their decision.
The retail worker should operate as a consultant to make sure all the customer’s needs are met.
Retail workers at furniture and appliance stores will also serve as a liaison between the customer and the furniture manufacturers.
Typically, customers will place an order, and the retail worker will provide updates on when the item arrives.
They will also update customers on any shipping delays or other critical information.
For animal lovers, pet shops are also popular places for retail work.
Retail workers have an extra responsibility because they are in charge of a living animal.
Retail workers in pet stores will also administer opening and closing procedures.
Keeping the store clean and safe is also important so that customers can have a seamless shopping experience.
What Kind of Retail Jobs Are There?
So, what are the best retail jobs? Below are some of the most popular retail jobs with the most opportunities for advancement.
- Cashier – in charge of executing financial transactions, while dealing with customers at the end of the buying process.
- Sales Associate – consult customers on any promotions and discounts. They also answer all customer questions who are browsing through a store.
- Store Manager – oversees all operations within a store, including human resources, inventory management, training and development, merchandising displays, and customer service.
- Cleaning and Maintenance – in charge of handling maintenance requests, building safety and addressing any concerns with building appliances or equipment.
- Security – prevents theft or damage from taking place in the store.
- Stocker – these retail workers ensure that the product is always available for customers, and they answer any questions on item availability.
- Warehouse Worker – receives and organizes stock products, prepares deliveries, and takes warehouse inventory.
As you rise in the ranks, here are some of the jobs you can advance toward:
- District Manager
- Customer Service Representative
- Purchasing Agent
- Loss Prevention Manager
- Visual Merchandiser
- Store Manager
- Customer Service Manager
- Retail Account Manager
- Purchasing Manager
- Assistant Store Manager
- Pharmacy Technician
Who Is Eligible for a Retail Job?
Based on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the minimum required age to work in a retail store is 14 years old.
Apart from the legal age requirements, below are the required skills and competencies to earn a job in retail.
The skills and requirements for a retail job will depend on several things.
First, different positions will require a different set of skills.
Online and traditional retail jobs will also demand a different collection of capabilities.
Here is a breakdown of the top skills and requirements for retail jobs:
1. Customer service
Retail workers need to interact with buyers, investigate their needs, and recommend product and service solutions.
They also need to understand how to address questions, issues, and different buyer personalities.
2. Technology skills
Retail workers will need to operate point-of-sale technology when making transactions.
They need to feel confident with devices like barcode scanners, cash registers, receipt printers, and EFTPOS machines.
3. Communication skills
Not only do retail employees need to engage with customers, but they also need to communicate effectively with other employees.
4. Business knowledge
Retail employees must possess an in-depth understanding of their company’s products and services.
Customers’ questions will usually involve these things, so retail workers need to bring unique insights to the table.
5. Creative problem solving
Each day represents a different challenge in retail, which is why workers need to think on their feet.
If other team members are sick and cannot work, they need to find a solution.
If a product is damaged or unavailable, the retail worker needs to think of a worthy solution for the customer.
There are a lot of responsibilities that go into a retail job, and it may require the sales associate to perform multiple at a time.
In addition to stocking inventory, retail workers will also need to balance incoming questions from customers.
7. Time management
Every minute counts in retail, especially when there is a laundry list of tasks and responsibilities to fulfill during the shift.
To complete the list, the retail worker will need to manage time effectively and utilize the non-busy periods.
8. Teamwork skills
Retail workers must know how to collaborate with team members of different personality types.
How Can You Find a Retail Job?
When it comes to finding a retail job, you must put in the effort.
The number of opportunities you create for yourself will be a reflection of your work ethic.
There are several ways to find an entry-level or management-level retail job.
One way is to walk into a store and apply in person.
This strategy could be effective if you see a decision-maker in the store.
If you want to ask questions about the role, you can speak with someone directly.
The other method to apply for a job in retail is through an online application.
We will list out the best sites in the next session, but you could also apply directly through a company’s website.
When you navigate to the company’s page, there is usually a “careers” page.
This page will show the current open opportunities at the company, including a link to apply.
List of Sites To Find Retail Jobs
If you’re looking for a good spot to find sales associate jobs, here are some of the top websites to check out:
- LinkedIn – is great for networking, and each job will tell you how many applicants have applied.
- Indeed – another great option with jobs of all industries and experience levels, including the option to sign up for “job alerts.”
- Monster – a free option for job seekers of all expertise, and each posting include comparison tools and research on salaries.
- Glassdoor – this option provides the best salary insights on the list, and there is also a “reviews” section where you can get honest feedback on company culture from the employees.
- FlexJobs – the best solution that posts remote, work-from-home retail job opportunities.
How Much Do Retail Jobs Pay?
Several factors affect a retail job salary or hourly wage, such as location, experience level, and position.
Below are some of the critical questions answered about retail jobs.
Do Retail Workers Get Tips?
Retail employees who make minimum wage or more can receive tips from customers.
If the company is private, it is ultimately up to the leadership team.
The argument against tipping is that customers will expect something extra in return.
However, retail employees always have the opportunity to go above and beyond the scope of their duties, which would warrant a tip.
Do Retail Workers Get Benefits?
Depending on the company’s policy, sales associates will receive core employee benefits.
In addition to health and life insurance, retail workers can get vision care, long-term disability coverage, financial education, stock options, 401k plan, and tuition assistance.
Typical Retail Job Salary
According to Payscale, the average retail or sales associate makes $11.77 per hour.
This average pay will depend on geographical location, experience level, and job title.
How To Apply for a Retail Job
The process for applying for a retail job is simple.
It all starts with relationship building, but here is a set of straightforward steps:
- Perform the job search – search for your ideal job opportunities on LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor and FlexJobs
- Tailor your resume toward the job description – identify skills in the job description, and then make sure these terms are also listed in your resume. Back up the skills with proof of when you applied the skill.
- Submit your resume and complete the application – make sure you follow all instructions
- Follow up with the recruiter if you don’t hear back within a week
Retail Job FAQs
If you still have questions about jobs in retail, check out a couple of our frequently asked questions below.
Can You Get Promoted at a Retail Job?
Yes, you can get promoted to a retail job.
Like most companies, retail organizations have different levels of management.
If you excel at a role and showcase your ability to build relationships, you can move up to a management role.
When you interview for jobs, it would be smart to ask the recruiter if there are advancement opportunities at the company.
Are Retail Jobs Available to Workers with a Record?
Retail job applicants in the retail industry are subject to a background check, and there is nothing illegal about not hiring someone because of a criminal record.
Depending on the company, there might be an opportunity to work there with a criminal record.
As you can see, the retail world is full of exciting jobs and opportunities.
If you love meeting new people and solving problems, retail may be the path for you.
However, it is important to get into an industry that you will enjoy.
Retail jobs require hard work and sacrifice, so you should gravitate toward areas of interest.