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Retail Marketing Careers, Jobs and Training Information

The retail industry offers opportunities in merchandising, store management, central management, and buying. Retail continues to grow at a rapid rate offering face-paced, people-oriented, and service based careers. Online retail, or e-tailing, is a part of the retail industry that is quickly growing.

Skills and Talents Required by a Retail Marketer

  • Working in retail requires keen sales skills in order to be successful. Those looking for a career in retail also need to enjoy working with people since there is constant customer interaction. It is also important to know how to empathize with customer concerns.
  • Enthusiasm, flexibility, and a positive attitude are essential characteristics necessary to find success in the retail industry.
  • Generally little or no travel is required to work in retail. This allows workers to spend more time with their families. Those working in retail also have more time to become involved in the community. Buyers in the retail industry are required to travel.
  • The downfall of working in retail is abnormal hours. Because stores are often open nights and weekends, employees work long hours for usually minimal pay.
  • Although entry level jobs in retail pay little, workers can advance in specialty jobs or management positions that offer higher pay.
  • Education is not as essential in the retail industry as in other areas of marketing. Senior executives in retail typically do not have MBA’s, but are hired based on hard work, experience, enthusiasm, and speed. However, a business education can be helpful in retail because it provides a better understanding of finance, merchandising, and inventory control.

Job and Employment Opportunities in Retail Marketing

Management trainees are new employees hired to participate in a management training program. Trainees learn about the company by working for a period ranging from six months to three years. Employees are qualified to work as an assistant or store manager after the training is completed.

Store managers supervise employees and store procedures. They typically gained their experience managing store operations while working as assistant managers in retail. Managers receive yearly evaluations that generally reflect the store’s success during that particular year.

Buyers determine what merchandise retail stores carry. Most buyers are constantly searching for the best products to sell in the store they represent. Buying is often accomplished at semi-annual and annual markets.

Department managers hold the same responsibilities as store managers, but work at a department level. After gaining experience, department managers might have opportunities to work in corporate management or as a store manager. Managers work in department stores comprising of separate departments including home appliances and clothing.

People working in retail sales are responsible for selling products to the customer. They need to be knowledgeable about the merchandise in the store in order to provide good customer service.

Regional managers are responsible for a group of retail stores. They visit stores to observe performance and to help solve problems. Regional managers report store performance to company headquarters and make important decisions concerning employees.

Retail Marketing Job Outlook

Now is a good time to begin working in retail due to numerous job opportunities in fast-paced environments.

More companies are retailing on the internet. People are beginning to make purchases outside of conventional retail stores due to online companies like Amazon and Dell. Although e-tailing is growing in popularity, some products will never be successfully sold online. Also, this medium of retail will take a number of years to become widely accepted and used among consumers.

Because the retail industry has continued to grow for the past twenty-two years, jobs are always plentiful. Today retailing in the U.S. surpasses two trillion dollars in sales annually.

Since the 1990’s, retail category killers have become successful. These killers put competitors out of business because they offer a wide variety of products in one store. In category killer stores such as Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and Toys R Us, greater selection, better store appearance, and lower prices are typically offered.

Many retailers are expanding their business globally. Companies such as the Gap and Wal-Mart are opening stores all over the world.

Recently, discount retailers are closing the traditional gap between discount merchandisers, specialty retailers, and department stores. This is because discount retailers are now carrying higher end products that were carried in the past only in department and specialty stores. This has caused business in discount stores to grow substantially while sales in department stores continue to drop.

Before beginning a retail career, it is important to look at the company’s record you plan to work for. Since the retail market is highly competitive, it is not unusual for stores to close. Stores that have been in business for a number of years and large, powerful retailers are usually good stores to work for.

Entry-level jobs help workers gain experience as well as learn retail procedures and lingo. Terms such as cross-promotions, sales per square foot, and shelf space are commonly used in the industry.

Because we live in a fast-paced society, discount stores are catering to one-stop shopping. Many discount stores now include full grocery stores within their store to make shopping more convenient.

Relocation occurs frequently in retail. Those workers willing to move will have a better chance moving up in the company. Relocation expenses are often covered by the company.

Some retail stores, such as Target, are incorporating micromarketing into their stores. These stores stock their shelves by considering demographics and seasons. By evaluating computerized sales reports each week, stores can determine and quickly change the products they carry. Stores using micromarketing have gained an advantage in the industry and other stores are beginning to follow their lead.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that there are more than 2 million retail businesses employing more than 19 million people in the U.S.

The industry is constantly changing and consolidating especially as large corporations such as Wal-Mart continue to grow. To work in retail today, you must be able to handle changes.

Entrepreneurs have great opportunity in the retail industry. Many times people work in retail to gain experience before opening their own businesses. Success has been attained by many entrepreneurs who took retail ideas to a national level. Clothing stores such as the Limited and the Gap are examples of this.

Other forms of retailing include vending machines, catalogs, mail order, computer shopping, and home shopping networks. Opportunities are also available working in these settings.

Technology continues to improve the retail industry. Technologies such as Quick Response and Electronic Data Interchange allow retailers to instantly see sales, change shipments, make payments on merchandise, and place orders. This increases company efficiency and effectiveness.