Jobs in retail

Author
Jemma Smith, Editor
Posted
November, 2019

Retail careers span a variety of roles, from the shop floor to the showroom and head office functions to the warehouse. Discover what each job entails and which is right for you

Antiques dealer

Buying and selling old objects and collectors' items such as jewellery, art, furniture, glass and china, you'll research the identity and value of objects, buy items from auctions, markets and private owners and sell these to the public from shops or stalls at antiques centres.

Short courses, a diploma or degree in subjects such as art history may prove useful. The majority of antiques dealers are self-employed so salaries vary. You'll need good business sense, an eye for spotting treasure and excellent negotiation skills.

Bookseller

You'll need a love of books, good people skills and a keen business mind to succeed in this customer-facing role. You'll advise on the variety of titles available, order and display stock and liaise with publishers and their representatives.

A degree or HND in literature or business and management may increase your chances but isn't essential.

Starting salaries range from £14,000 to £17,000. At senior level you could earn £20,000 to £40,000.

Discover more about the role of a bookseller.

Car salesperson

Excellent communication skills and an aptitude for sales and negotiation are required as you'll work for a dealership selling new or used cars to customers.

You'll arrange test drives, work out finance, complete paperwork and meet sales targets. Working hours are typically 40 to 45 hours per week.

You don't need a degree but employers expect sales experience, knowledge of cars and a driving licence. You can also get into this job via an apprenticeship.

Commercial art gallery manager

You'll communicate directly with artists and dealers and select art and artists to enhance the gallery's reputation. You'll bring in money from the sales of artwork.

You may need to start out as a gallery assistant (£16,000 to £19,000) in order to gain experience. Gallery managers can earn £25,000 to £40,000, whereas gallery directors can earn in excess of £60,000.

You'll need artistic awareness, business acumen and interpersonal skills to succeed.

Find out more about working as a commercial art gallery manager.

Customer service manager

This retail job is about putting the needs of the customer first. You'll develop excellent customer service throughout the organisation by helping to develop policies, measuring satisfaction, managing a team of staff and handling customer enquiries face-to-face.

Salaries for trainee customer service managers fall between £20,500 and £25,000. With experience you can earn £30,000 to £45,000.

While open to all graduates some employers prefer candidates from disciplines that are relevant to their particular sector, such as retail or hospitality.

Learn more about what to expect as customer service manager.

Dispensing optician

You'll fit and sell glasses and other optical aids to adults and children, working from the prescriptions of optometrists and ophthalmologists. You'll advise customers on lenses and frames including how to wear and care for them.

To work in this field you'll need to pass a three-year course in ophthalmic dispensing at a training institution approved by the General Optical Council (GOC).

Pre-registration students earn around £14,000 to £18,000 a year.

Take a closer look at the qualifications you'll need to become a dispensing optician.

Florist

Designing and making floral bouquets for special occasions you'll advise customers, take orders, make the arrangements and deliver them.

You'll need attention to detail, excellent communication and customer service skills, creative flair and active listening ability.

You can work your way up to becoming a florist or take a college course. It's also possible to get into this area of work via an apprenticeship.

Learn more about retail apprenticeships.

Logistics and distribution manager

Not all retail careers are confined to the shop floor. As a logistics and distribution manager you can work in offices, warehouses or stockrooms as you organise the storage, distribution and delivery of goods.

Understanding the whole supply chain is important so that you can coordinate it effectively. You'll also need excellent time management, commercial awareness and numerical skills.

There is an increasing demand for logistics and supply chain managers thanks to growth of internet retailing. Discover how to get a job as an online retailer.

Read more about the role of a logistics and distribution manager and find out why you should consider a career in logistics and supply chain management.

Personal shopper

This retail job involves advising customers on the products that meet their needs, with an end goal of making a sale.

You'll need strong product knowledge and the ability to reassure customers of your expertise. There are no set entry requirements, although some employers look for experience in dealing with customers. Qualifications in fashion or design may prove useful.

At the beginning of your career salaries can range from £14,000 to £18,000. With experience you could earn up to £25,000.

Procurement manager

You'll buy the best quality equipment, goods and services, at the most competitive prices, to enable a company to operate.

Salaries start at £20,000. With relevant experience salaries of £25,000 can be achieved. With promotion you can earn £28,000 to £46,000. Senior managers earn salaries of £50,000 to £100,000.

While open to all graduates, large retail stores and wholesale distribution centres prefer applicants who have completed a degree with a business emphasis.

To find out more about career prospects see procurement manager.

Retail buyer

Responsible for planning and selecting a range of products to sell in retail outlets and for reviewing existing items to ensure products remain competitive, you'll need strong analytical and numerical skills, as well as creative flair.

A degree in retail or business will increase your chances of success. Graduate programmes are open to those who have secured a 2:2 or above.

A junior buyer can expect to earn £18,000 to £25,000. With experience and promotion this could rise to between £25,000 and £45,000.

For further information on qualifications and skills see retail buyer, and discover how to get into buying and merchandising.

Retail manager

You'll manage the day-to-day running of stores or departments, maximise profits and minimise costs. You'll ensure that staff work towards targets and that customer care standards are met.

While open to all graduates a HND or degree in accounting and finance, business, fashion management, marketing or retail management may prove useful.

You'll need skills in prioritising and planning workloads and motivating and leading a team.

To learn more about potential salaries see retail manager.

Retail merchandiser

Working closely with buyers, retail merchandisers predict up-and-coming sales trends to ensure maximum profitability. You'll ensure that products appear in the right store, or on a website, at the appropriate time and in the correct quantities.

This retail job is open to all graduates, although a degree in accountancy or finance, business, economics, mathematics or retail management will help.

Salaries for assistant merchandisers range from £16,000 to £18,000, rising to £22,000 with experience.

Take a look at what to expect as a retail merchandiser.

Visual merchandiser

Sometimes known as window dressers, visual merchandisers develop, deliver and communicate visual concepts and strategies to promote retail brands, products and services in-store, in catalogues or online.

You'll create eye-catching displays, using creative flair and imagination and your eye for design, colour and style.

Particularly useful subjects of study include fashion design, surface pattern design and textiles.

To find out more about salary expectations, see visual merchandiser.

Warehouse manager

Working hours include early starts, late finishes, weekends and shifts as you oversee the efficient receipt, storage and dispatch of goods.

Subjects such as business and information systems, management and economics, retail management, supply chain management or transport, distribution and logistics will be advantageous.

Salaries for graduate-training schemes in warehouse management range from £18,000 to £25,000.

Gain an insight into the role of a warehouse manager.

Find out more

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