Working in retail offers the chance to be on the frontline of customer service and to work with interesting products.
There are many opportunities in the retail sector and different types of role and level of responsibility – from a customer service assistant right up to a store or area manager.
Who can I work for?
You can work for any kind of retailer from a small, independently run shop that is one of a kind to a large, chain brand with stores across the country or even globe.
Retail offers many different types of sector – from technology to fashion and food.
Where and when can I work?
Anywhere! Shops and retails outlets are found across the UK but you will have more choice in larger urban areas.
Most large retail stores and shops found in major towns and cities are open all day, every day, with the exception of major public holidays such as Christmas and Easter Sunday.
Many stores open on Sundays and offer late-night shopping and major supermarkets can be open 24 hours a day – so to get the best opportunities, be prepared to be flexible.
What can I earn?
Starting salaries in retail can be the minimum hourly wage for people new to the industry. However, once you gain experience and take on extra responsibilities, such as running teams, the benefits increase steadily.
Store managers can earn anything from £15,000 to £35,000 but those working in very large or high profile stores may earn considerably more.
What are the benefits?
Working with the public, allowing you to meet many different types of people every day.
Discounts are often offered as an employee benefit in your store.
You may receive on the job training and there will be plenty of opportunity to progress once you gain some experience in your chosen area of retail.
Are there chances of promotion?
Yes. Retail is a fast-paced industry and you can easily move around similar stores once you become experienced.
From working on the shop floor, you can progress to a team leader or supervisor and onto running a store or several stores within an area.
What will I be responsible for?
Basic retail work involves serving customers by giving advice about products and taking payments. You may also have to deal with customer returns or complaints.
You may have to showcase products and talk about the benefits or man fitting rooms.
Often you will be tasked with getting the store ready for opening and tidying up throughout the day and at the end of the day to ensure the area is appealing to customers.
At supervisor or manager level you will manage teams and ensure performance targets are met and get involved in ordering and auditing stock.
Do I need any experience?
Most retail jobs prefer some similar experience or at least experience of working with the public or in a customer-facing role.
However, your personality type can make a difference. If you are confident, helpful and polite you are likely to be the right type of person to work in a retail role.
What attributes are needed?
You need to have a desire to work with the public and the ability to speak to different types of people.
You must be polite, helpful and friendly and willing to learn about the product/s you are selling. Confidence in tackling challenges and finding solutions are helpful traits to have, especially if you are a supervisor or manager.
A flexible approach to shift work is also essential.