Career Development

What Does a Retail Worker Do?

Find out what a retail worker does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a retail worker.

Retail workers are the people who make your shopping experience a pleasant one. They’re responsible for helping customers find what they’re looking for, answering their questions, and providing general customer service. Retail workers may work in any number of different retail establishments, including department stores, clothing stores, electronics stores, grocery stores, etc.

Retail Worker Job Duties

A retail worker typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Performing inventory checks to ensure that items are in stock and recording any discrepancies
  • Providing customer service to customers by answering questions about products and services, making recommendations, processing transactions, and handling complaints
  • Help customers find merchandise by locating items in inventory using computerized scanners or manually searching through shelves
  • Handling returns of defective merchandise and processing credits to customers’ accounts
  • Maintaining store environments by cleaning shelves and windows, replacing items on shelves, rearranging items on shelves to attract more customers, dusting shelves and fixtures, and sweeping floors
  • Scheduling staff work hours to ensure that the store is staffed during all operating hours
  • Receiving shipments of new merchandise and unpacking boxes of items to be put on store shelves
  • Performing clerical tasks such as scanning barcodes on merchandise with a hand-held device to record prices in an inventory system
  • Selling products and services by providing customers with information about available items and follow up with customers after purchases to ensure satisfaction

Retail Worker Salary & Outlook

Retail worker salaries vary depending on their level of experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $47,000 ($22.6/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $24,000 ($11.54/hour)

The employment of retail workers is expected to decline over the next decade.

The growth of e-commerce has allowed customers to do more shopping online, reducing their need to visit traditional retail establishments. In addition, some consumers are using mobile apps to find deals and compare prices while in stores. As a result, fewer people may be needed to work in retail establishments.

Retail Worker Job Requirements

A number of qualifications are often necessary to become a retail worker, which may include:

Education: Retail workers are typically required to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Those who have a degree in a related field, such as business or marketing, may be able to transition into a retail role more easily.

Training & Experience: Retail workers typically receive on-the-job training from their supervisors or managers. This training may include how to use the cash register, how to organize merchandise and how to clean the store. Training may also include how to interact with customers and how to handle customer complaints.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications are not typically required for this role. However, some certifications could make you a more competitive candidate when applying for jobs.

Retail Worker Skills

Retail workers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Communication skills are necessary for retail workers to be able to interact with customers and coworkers. You might be required to answer customer questions, help customers find products or direct customers to other employees if you can’t help them. You also need to be able to communicate with coworkers to receive instructions and relay information to customers.

Customer service skills: Customer service skills are an essential part of the job for retail workers. You should be able to greet customers, answer their questions and help them find the products they need. You should also be able to handle any customer complaints professionally.

Organizational skills: Retail workers are often responsible for keeping track of multiple tasks and projects at once. Having strong organizational skills can help you manage your time and responsibilities more efficiently. This can help you be more productive and complete your tasks on time.

Product knowledge: Retail workers should have a thorough understanding of the products they sell. This can help them answer customer questions and help customers find the right product for their needs. It’s also important to know the store’s return and exchange policies so you can help customers make informed purchasing decisions.

Technological skills: Retail workers should have basic computer skills, including the ability to use a mouse, keyboard and other common computer programs. They should also be comfortable navigating websites, social media and other online resources.

Retail Worker Work Environment

Retail workers are employed in a wide variety of settings, including department stores, grocery stores, drugstores, florists, jewelry stores, and clothing stores. They may work in small, family-owned shops or in large, national chain stores. Some retail workers are employed in malls, where they may work for several different stores. Retail workers typically work on their feet for long periods of time and may be required to lift heavy boxes or stock shelves. They may work evenings, weekends, and holidays, and their hours may vary depending on the needs of the store. Some retail workers are employed part time, while others work full time.

Retail Worker Trends

Here are three trends influencing how retail workers work. Retail workers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Rise of the Digital Shopper

The rise of the digital shopper is a trend that is quickly changing the retail industry. As more and more people shop online, retailers are having to adapt their strategies to meet the needs of these shoppers.

This means that retail workers need to be familiar with the latest technologies and trends in order to provide the best possible customer experience. They also need to be able to work effectively as part of a team, as many businesses are now moving towards a more collaborative model.

More Focus on Customer Experience

As customers become more demanding, retailers are focusing more on providing a great customer experience. This means that retail workers will need to be well-versed in customer service skills, such as communication, empathy, and problem solving.

In addition, retail workers will need to be knowledgeable about the products they are selling in order to answer questions and provide recommendations. They will also need to be able to manage their time effectively in order to handle the demands of the job.

Greater Use of Technology

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the retail industry. This is evident in the increasing use of technology in stores, which is helping to improve the customer experience.

As technology becomes more prevalent, retail workers will need to learn how to use it effectively in order to keep up with the competition. This includes learning how to use software to track inventory, manage sales, and communicate with customers.

How to Become a Retail Worker

A career as a retail worker can be a great way to get started in the workforce. It’s a job that offers flexibility, so you can work when you want and where you want. You may also have the opportunity to move up the ladder and become a manager or supervisor.

The best way to start your career as a retail worker is to find a company that matches your interests and personality. Do some research on different retailers and see which ones seem like a good fit for you. Also make sure to read the company’s policies and procedures so you know what to expect on the job.

Related: How to Write a Retail Worker Resume

Advancement Prospects

Retail workers typically start out in entry-level positions and advance to higher-level jobs as they gain experience and demonstrate their skills. Some common advancement opportunities for retail workers include becoming a shift supervisor, assistant manager, store manager, or district manager.

Many retail workers advance to management positions, such as store manager or district manager. Some may eventually open their own retail businesses. Others may move into related fields, such as buying, merchandising, or product development. Still others may become sales representatives for the manufacturers of the products they once sold in stores.

Retail Worker Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we provide our customers with an exceptional shopping experience by offering high-quality products and outstanding customer service. We’re looking for retail workers to join our team and help us create a positive and memorable experience for our customers. The ideal candidate will have prior experience working in retail, as well as excellent customer service skills. He or she will be responsible for greeting and assisting customers, maintaining the sales floor, and completing transactions.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Greet customers in a friendly and professional manner
  • Answer questions about merchandise, pricing, and availability
  • Assist customers with locating items they are looking for
  • Help customers with loading merchandise into their vehicles
  • Stock shelves and displays with fresh merchandise
  • Keep the sales floor clean and organized
  • Return misplaced or unwanted merchandise to the correct location
  • Use the cash register to ring up purchases and process payments
  • Bag merchandise for customers
  • Help customers find gift cards and other store services
  • Watch for shoplifters and report any suspicious behavior to a manager
  • Complete other tasks as assigned by management

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Previous experience in retail sales, customer service, or related field
  • Basic math skills and cash-handling experience
  • Ability to stand for long periods of time and lift up to 50 pounds
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills
  • Flexible availability to work nights, weekends, and holidays

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Associate’s degree or higher in business, retail management, or related field
  • 1-2 years management experience in a retail setting
  • Working knowledge of POS systems and inventory management software
  • Leadership and team-building skills

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