Retail is one of the biggest industries in the country and can cover a lot of different jobs. In general, retail industry jobs require you to sell different goods to customers, though in some cases you might be selling services to these people as well. In most cases the person selling these services will not be the person that actually provides the service later. Sales can take place online, in a retail shop, door to door, over the phone or any other mechanism that puts you in contact with people. Advances in technology have made it much easier for people to get into the retail industry because you can even start your own retail business from home with a computer or a phone line.
Jobs in the retail industry will require you to be in contact with people on a regular basis which some people can find tiresome.
You will need to answer questions, provide quick service and act as an expert for the different products in the store where you work. You may need to recommend different products to customers on top of helping manage the items they have picked out on their own. You may spend a lot of time on your feet or conversing with people so it’s important to be prepared for this when you start working.
On top of selling products to people you will need to help maintain the store where you work. You will need to help people make transactions, keep the store clean and help to keep the shelves stocked with merchandise so they look presentable. This might include staying after hours to take inventory of the items which are in the store to help track profits. Depending on the types of items your store sells you may be asked to perform some heavy lifting while stocking. Retail industry job applications may note a specific amount of weight that you need to be able to lift in order to be considered for the job.
Most jobs in the retail industry have flexible hours, which is ideal for people who have children, are going to school or work another job. The downside here is that your hours may change from week to week which can make it somewhat difficult to plan ahead for events. Retail industry careers will allow you to build seniority which will give you more say in the hours that you choose and the types of tasks that you do while on the clock, though it is important that every member of the team pitch in when necessary.
Job applications in the retail industry will usually specify the various shifts that are available to those that will be joining the sales team. You can note if there are certain shifts that you are unable to work. Those that are underage may not be able to legally take part in stocking or inventory activities that take place after hours due to legal restrictions, though this will vary based on your location.
While you may normally work a specific shift in a retail department, there may be times when you are expected to alter your hours to help with a special event. Many retail departments such as fashion or housewares stores change out their stock to suit the needs of the season. You may need to come in early or stay late to help set up or tear down holiday displays and prepare new merchandise for the season. Similarly, retail departments will frequently extend their hours or ask for an increase in people working to manage the increased crowds during the holidays which could alter your hours.
Careers in the retail industry may require you to work hours that are less conventional. People tend to shop more in the evenings and weekends when traditional offices are not open, so this is a time when people will need to work increased hours in retail. With a bit of advanced planning this can be easy to manage with your schedule, though you may find that you have to celebrate holidays or other special events around your work schedule. Many find that with a few years in the industry this becomes a tradition that is easy to manage.