Getting a Job in the Retail Industry

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In this article we would like to introduce you to different divisions and different work areas in the retail industry. Generally people know retail as buying and selling, but they don’t know there’s a lot more that goes behind it.

A retail company has many divisions or departments; thus, you can do a lot of jobs other than just buying and selling, or standing at the front of the store as a cashier. 

Here is the list of retail job opportunities, with descriptions of departments and the required experience and education necessary to break into each.

Before you embark on your career, begin with the following steps:

Step 1


Get information about different kinds of job verticals available in the retail industry. (A guide like this is a great start.)

Step 2


Choose a vertical which best suits you and interests you.

Step 3


Acquire the required degree/certification which is needed for each vertical.

Here are the list of verticals which are prevalent in retail industry, with an indication of skills required to apply for each:

Merchandising or buying team

The main job of the merchandising / buying team is to bring the right product, to the right person, at the right time, at the right place. They basically match the demand from customers to the offerings from various suppliers. They have to estimate customer demand, place orders for the company, manage availability of product in the store, provide offers to the customers, and negotiate with suppliers.

Skills required: Understanding of the market. Basic understanding of the buying function. Basic financial understanding.

Retail MarketingThe marketing in retail is a little different than other marketing. It basically has four different functions.

– Above the line marketing (ATL): This includes marketing of a retail company outside the store, through methradio, newspaper, catalogues, etc.

– Below the line marketing (BTL): It includes marketing and highlighting the product inside the store. It’s also called Point of Purchase marketing.

– Event management and Branding: It includes all events conducted by the company to promote the products and the brand image of the company.

– Market research: It includes conducting different market research exercises to understand the need and demand of the customer and give feedback to the buying and other marketing team

Skills required: A course or certification in event management or marketing based on the particular job.

Human Resources – As a retail organization has a high number of employees, this function becomes very important. 

HR is considered the single contact point for an employee, for any matter apart from his direct line of work. Human resource handles, payroll, medical and parental leave, rewards and recognition, appraisal, increments etc.

Skills required: Certification from a recognized institution commensurate with the level of the HR position.

Store Operations – the biggest division of the company, and has many sub-divisions:

Sales: Division which is directly in contact with customer and assists them in purchase
– Inventory: Division which manages the stocks of product in the store area
– Customer care: Division which helps the customers in case of any difficulties faced by them
– Other support staff: Other support staff includes helpers, cleaners, etc.

The finance department handles all financial transactions between the suppliers and the company, along with the company and the banks. 

Their major interaction is with the suppliers of the retail firm. Their job focuses on two major tasks: Payables and Receivables. They manage the cash flow of the company and prepare financial reports like balance sheets and profit and loss statements.

Skills: Certification from a recognized financial institute with a level based on the post applied for.

We hope this article gives you a basic understanding of the different career and work opportunities available in the retail industry.

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