While the retail industry may be the focus of much doom and gloom, smart retailers are finding ways to adapt and even thrive. These retailers are creating positive in-store experiences, eliminating long lines, and improving customer service.
The key to these changes? Amazing employees. Building connections with customers is still the most important part of the retail business. Salespeople are still the faces of their companies. As customer preferences change, the retailers with the best employees are able to stay competitive.
Why does this matter for you as a job seeker? First of all, more than 15 million jobs are connected directly to physical retail locations. Furthermore, retail offers an excellent way to enter the career of your dreams. Many people in the fashion and beauty industries, for example, started in retail roles that allowed them to showcase their strengths. From there, they were able to climb the ladder.
Retail is a great – and often overlooked – starting point for many careers. In retail, you can put your skills on display and gain exposure to major brands.
When thinking about retail jobs, your thoughts may turn first to cashiers, stylists, and personal shoppers, but there are many other positions out there. Here are some entry-level retail opportunities that could be the perfect way to launch your career:
1. Seasonal Support
Seasonal employees typically work from the beginning of the fall season through the winter. Retailers look to these employees to help them handle the increased traffic of back-to-school and holiday shopping. In some stores, seasonal staff are also needed for brand- or industry-specific events, like anniversary sales or collection launches. Working seasonally is a great way to earn experience and extra income.
2. Merchandise Handler
Brands rely on merchandise handlers to move products through the distribution process. Experience in merchandise handling can be particularly helpful for those who wish to work on the business end of fashion, as it will teach you all about business operations and logistics.
3. Visual Merchandiser
If you’re drawn to the design side of the business, you can try your hand at becoming a visual merchandiser. In this role, you will arrange eye-catching displays to advertise great products and draw the window-shoppers into your store.
4. Stocking Assistant
Retail stores require stocking assistants to maintain full shelves and organized stores, especially during busy times of year. Cluttered or otherwise aesthetically displeasing stores will turn customers away, so retailers rely on the attention to detail and strong organizational skills of stocking assistants to keep the in-store experience positive for shoppers. Great stocking assistants often develop an eye for style and visual merchandising.
4. Omni-Channel Employee
Thanks to the rise of online shopping, stores now need omni-channel employees – people who can meet the entire range of shoppers’ needs. Omni-channel employees play an important role in making online and in-store experiences more cohesive. Whether they are checking product information or placing eCommerce orders, omni-channel employees are key hires in the future of retail. Furthermore, being an omni-channel employee will help you cultivate modern tech skills that can easily translate from role to role as you move up in your career.
Glenn Laumeister is the CEO of AllWork, a talent-matching platform for brands and retailers.