Tips for Pursuing a Career in Retail

Besides sales, retail offers career options in consulting, technology, merchandizing, and supply chain

Tips for Pursuing a Career in Retail

One of the careers students and graduates alike might consider pursuing is in the retail industry. The retail industry should not be stereotyped as a part-time and seasonal sales job, especially for students because it is a business that can offer many different and interesting career opportunities.

Below are a number of job areas you can go into if you like to work in retail.

Visual merchandising
If you are artistic, and you are enthusiastic in terms of store tasks, you can bring in those two qualities together and pursue a career in visual merchandising. However, you also need a keen eye for detail because part of the task in this field is to draw attention to the store’s brand. Look at the store in the way that the customers see it and determine where you can improve the overall shopper’s experience. In a way, being in visual merchandising is a consulting career in itself, wherein you can either work in store for a particular store chain or in a corporate setting wherein your firm offers services for different retail shops.

Supply chain management
The logistics behind the retail industry is one of the most challenging avenues where you can hone your skills. Efficient supply chains and inventory management are often critical to a firm’s bottom line. At the same time, being successful in this area has lucrative rewards for you. Even if you start as a warehouse worker, you can eventually work your way up towards being a logistics and dispatch manager. However, this entails the need for you to have competent project management skills, aside from being good with numbers. On the legal side, you can start training on contracts and procurement processes. Buyers and planners are also under the supply chain management sector of the retail industry. You can also venture out in being a buyer or a planner and be deeply involved in managing the store's inventory and running some of the logistic aspects.

Field management
You might start as an upfront store sales clerk, but there is nothing that can stop you from working your way up to becoming a store manager, and eventually climbing up the management ladder, and going into regional management. Many firms prefer to promote internally to recruiting outside managers. Venture out to jobs offered by big chain department stores and you may even find yourself filing a Walmart application to jump start your career in retail. Apart from being enthusiastic and hardworking, you need to be equipped with strong leadership skills to be able to manage your team effectively. Nevertheless, a successful career in field management can definitely be rewarding.

Technology and digital transformation
The retail industry has been associated with the continuous advancements in modern technology. However, this can prove to be challenging, especially for small-scale retailers. But in order to pursue a career in the technological side of the retail industry, you need an ample know-how in the information technology sector, particularly in digital transformation. Digital transformation includes the various ways in which the manual processes in retail can be automated, to eliminate the risks of human-related errors.

Consulting services
With prior experience in the retail industry and a strong theoretical knowledge on how the processes in the industry work, you can even set up your own retail consulting firm or join an established one. You can offer services that offer strategic marketing and optimization of the store operations, including reporting and analytics, as well as corporate sustainability. The consulting services available in retail often require you to be flexible and technologically adept.

The security field of the retail industry is also a good avenue to hone your skills and personality as a loss prevention manager. You can even work as an undercover specialist to ensure that a retail store has the necessary measures to prevent theft and other crimes. Being a specialist in security and loss prevention requires you to have critical thinking skills, as well as a keen eye for detail.

The retail industry is vast and you don’t have to be trapped in just a sales job. There are various sectors where you can grow your skills that will help you move up the corporate ladder. Perhaps the most important tip is that you should also focus on functional cross training to broaden your options and increase the breadth of your knowledge of the industry. There are several possibilities for career growth in the retail industry that can benefit students and graduates alike. Apart from sales, consulting, supply chain, merchandising and technology are just a few of the avenues that have been covered in this article. A retail occupation can just be the answer to finding your personal career growth and success.


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