How a Great Retail Staff Can Turn Your Business Around
When I was younger, I worked at a retail store. It wasn’t the best job in the world, but it taught me a lot about customer service and how important it is to have a great retail staff.
The thing that made the biggest difference for me was when our manager started investing in our employees. She gave us training on how to provide better customer service and she showed us that we mattered to her and the company. That made all of us work harder and be more dedicated to our jobs.
We went from being a struggling outlet to one of the top-performing stores in the district. It just goes to show you that having great retail staff can change everything in your business! If you’re looking for ways to improve your own company, then start by investing in your employees and giving them the tools they need to succeed.
Employees who work in a retail setting such as a store or a shopping center are called retail staff. They may work in a variety of positions, such as customer service, sales, or stock.
Retail staff typically work regular hours, although they may be required to work evenings and weekends.
What is Retail Work?
Any type of job that requires you to interact with customers and sell to them is classed as a “retail” position. While most people imagine a storefront when they hear the word “retail,” many offices and even online stores that sell to the public are technically engaged in “retail” sales.
The retail sector is diverse, so there are many different types of roles available.
Common Types of Retail Stores
The retail sector is vast and encompasses a wide range of work environments. Here are some of the most common types of retail businesses.
Department stores: These are large retail establishments that sell a variety of products, including clothing, cosmetics, and home goods. Everything in the store is organized and separated into sections so shoppers can easily find what they need.
Discount stores: These shops offer a wide range of merchandise at lower prices compared to other types of retail stores, making them a popular choice for budget-conscious shoppers who are hunting for deals. By selling a large number of products, they can offer their customers significant discounts.
Supermarkets: These are large grocery stores that sell everything from produce to prepared food to other household items — essentially a one-stop-shop for many people.
Convenience stores: These are small retail establishments that are open late at night and sell a limited selection of items like snacks and drinks. They are typically located near high-traffic areas like gas stations or residential neighborhoods.
Specialty stores: These are retail establishments that sell a specific type of product, like luggage, books, sports equipment, or electronics. They carry a wide range of models and brands for shoppers to choose from. This makes them a great place to find the perfect item for your needs.
Outlets and warehouse stores: These establishments sell products directly from the manufacturer at wholesale prices. They are a great option for those looking to get products at a discounted price. By selling directly from the manufacturer, these types of stores can offer their products at wholesale prices, which can save shoppers a significant amount of money.
Superstores: These are large stores that sell an enormous range of products, from groceries to food to clothing, so customers can perform all their shopping in one location.
Boutiques: These small shops offer a specialized range of products, often with a high level of customer service.
Showrooms: These are places where customers can get an up-close look at products before making a purchase. You can meet with sales staff and get a feel for what you’re buying, whether it’s a car, some new bathroom tile, or a deck or patio. With showrooms, you can make sure you’re getting exactly what you want before committing to the purchase.
Retail Job Responsibilities
As a retail sales associate, you must be familiar with the products that your company sells and the needs of the customers you serve.
Your job responsibilities will vary based on what type of company you work for, but you must learn as much as you can about both your products and your clientele.
For someone who sells outdoor equipment, it isn’t enough to know the difference between types of sleeping bags. To provide great customer service, it’s helpful to have personally tried both.
Most jobs in retail sales require a mix of both customer service and cash handling. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule, such as stocking clerks and managers.
Some sales positions involve upselling but others do not.
Job titles in the retail industry can vary depending on the company. The same job may be called a front-end associate, a cashier, or a checker, depending on the company. The duties of these positions may also differ according to the employer.
In some businesses, the cashier and salesperson are two separate positions. In other businesses, one person may perform both jobs. It depends on the company’s needs and preferences.
Certain jobs tend to be consistent across businesses. If you have done well in one role, you will most likely do well in a similar role in another organization.
Cashiers, stockers, and sales associates are some of the most common entry-level jobs. However, some workers stay in these positions for their entire careers while earning regular raises and increased benefits.
The cashier and sales associate are the faces of the company, providing customer service inside the store. Stockers, on the other hand, do not interact with customers but they must be accurate and efficient.
These jobs don’t include managing people, so they’re perfect for someone just starting.
These are entry-level positions that do not involve any supervisorial role.
- Automotive Parts Specialist
- Bilingual Retail Sales Representative
- Customer Service Assistant
- Display Assistant
- Inventory Associate
- Order Processor
- Order Filler
- Paint Specialist
- Product Demonstrator
- Sales Clerk
- Retail Sales Associate
- Retail Sales Consultant
- Retail Sales Representative
- Retail Security Officer
- Stock Clerk
- Warehouse Associate
- Wine Sales
Floor leaders, supervisors, and managers are all types of people responsible for overseeing the work of others. These roles often involve being in charge of a team.
The lead cashier is the cashier who coordinates the work of other cashiers. They make sure everyone gets their break at the right time, and that the flow of work is efficient. Although they don’t have any real authority over the other staff, they are an important part of keeping everything running smoothly.
Some customer service reps may also work as lead sales associates.
Customer service representatives have more power because they deal with irate shoppers.
None of the jobs listed here are management positions.
- Customer Service Representative
- Department Manager
- Floor Manager
- Promotions Coordinator
- Retail Administration Analyst
- Retail Marketing Specialist
- Retail Team Leader
- Service Supervisor
- Team Leader
In small businesses, managers are often the owners themselves. In larger businesses, however, there is usually a hierarchy of management roles.
A department manager might be a team leader who is responsible for heading the department and training the team. They might have an impressive title, but they are not technically considered part of management.
A sales management role involves training and motivating a sales force, as well as making key decisions regarding the team.
A regional sales manager is responsible for managing multiple stores in a chain, while a store manager is tasked with managing a single store.
Some management roles are structured in such a way that the managers and their assistants rarely interact with customers.
Although some managers may not often speak with entry-level associates, it is still important for these positions to have an understanding of sales principles.
- Area Manager
- Automotive Sales Manager
- Branch Manager
- Customer Service Manager
- District Sales Manager
- General Manager
- Global Logistics Supervisor
- Meat Manager
- Merchandise Manager
- Product Manager
- Regional Manager
- Retail Food Service Manager
- Sales Manager
- Store Manager
- Warehouse Manager
Buying and Merchandising Roles
The buyer and merchandising positions in retail stores are some of the most important behind-the-scenes jobs in the company. These employees are responsible for controlling inventory, preventing losses, and presenting products in a way that entices customers.
Typically, people start as entry-level employees and work their way to becoming buyers or merchandisers.
- Buyer – Fashion
- Buyer – Cosmetics
- Bulk Merchandiser
- Delivery Merchandiser
- Director of Merchandise Planning and Allocation
- Display Manager
- Inventory Manager
- Loss Prevention Specialist
- Merchandise Analyst
- Merchandise Planner
- Procurement Specialist
- Retail Buyer
- Visual Merchandiser
How a Great Retail Staff Makes a Difference
Having the right staff in your store can make or break your business. They can help turn a shopper into a customer, be there with an answer about your product, or help diffuse a complaining or angry consumer.
Great staff is invaluable, but they’re not created out of thin air. Instead, your management style and company culture play a huge role in developing your staff into superstars.
If you’ve found a great employee, it’s important to do everything you can to keep them.
If you’re looking to improve your retail business, start by investing in your retail staff and giving them the tools they need to succeed. Great customer service starts with great staff, so make sure you have a team that is dedicated to providing the best experience possible. With the right people in place, you can change everything about your company for the better!