The Best Career Pathways In Retail: How To Get Started
Do you love fashion? Do you love working with people? Are you interested in sales and marketing? If so, a career in retail might be perfect for you! There are many different career pathways in retail, and each one has its own unique set of benefits and challenges. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most popular career paths in retail. We will discuss what these careers entail, what kind of skills and training you need to pursue them, and what kind of jobs you can expect to find. So, if you’re thinking about a career in retail, read on!
The Begining: Retail Industry
Retail stores first started back in the year 1858. It was at this time that the first department store, called The Bon Marché, opened its doors in Paris, France. This store was different than anything that had come before it, and it quickly became very popular with shoppers. The Bon Marché was so successful that other department stores soon began to pop up all over the world, including in the United States.
Supply And Demand Cycles
Once supply chains were established in the retail field, career opportunities began to open up. The first retail jobs were typically in sales, but as the industry grew, so did the number of available positions. Retail managers, buyers, and supply chain professionals were needed to keep stores stocked with the right merchandise at the right prices.
The Internet Changes Everything
The development of the internet had a major impact on the retail industry. Online shopping made it possible for consumers to purchase goods from anywhere in the world without ever stepping foot into a store. This created a need for new types of jobs, such as web designers, online marketers, and e-commerce professionals.
Today’s Retail Landscape
The retail landscape has changed drastically over the last few decades. With the rise of online shopping, brick-and-mortar stores have had to adapt to compete. Many retailers now offer both an online and offline experience for their customers. This has created a need for new types of jobs, such as omnichannel marketing experts and customer experience specialists.
Different Careers In The Retail Industry
There are so many retail careers in the retail industry! Many retailers have career opportunities available with individual stores as well as at corporate headquarters. Here are some of the most popular career paths:
Store managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of a retail store. They oversee employees, manage inventory, and ensure that customers are satisfied. They also handle security and loss prevention as well as legal and ethical issues for new employees.
📚 – What To Know: Store managers typically have at least a high school diploma and leadership experience as well as customer experience. Management positions require a thorough understanding of the retail store’s policies and procedures. In a retail career such as this one, you can advance to positions such as regional manager or district manager.
💲 – Salary: The average salary of a store manager per year is $43,000.
When it comes to retail jobs, the retail manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the store. This career pathway includes overseeing employees, managing inventory, and ensuring customer satisfaction. Retail managers also handle any cross-training and training programs for entry-level positions.
📚 – What To Know: Retail managers will have a high school diploma or equivalent and strong leadership skills, required for working retail and people management. Dealing with customer complaints as retail workers requires human skills such as communication skills. This retail career can advance to a regional position or even a store manager of a larger chain.
💲 – Salary: The median salary per year for a retail manager is $45,000.
A district manager will usually work out of a corporate office while also handling business development in their assigned region, which could be a state or multiple states. To maximize profit margins, project management will create marketing strategies for the retail business with a visual merchandiser
📚 – What To Know: A district manager will have a bachelor’s degree in business administration or related field, and experience working in management. They should also have knowledge of the retail industry as well as computer skills.
💲 – Salary: The median salary of a district manager per year is $67,000.
Sales associates are the face of the store and are responsible for providing excellent customer service to shoppers. They will also need to have the product knowledge to answer any questions that shoppers may have, and be able to recommend similar items. Most retail stores have a sales floor that the retail business depends on to reach any sales goals.
📚 – What To Know: A sales associate will typically have a high school diploma or equivalent, but some stores may require a post-secondary degree. Some of the valuable skills that sales associates should have are problem-solving skills, communication skills, and customer service skills. With the right skills and new ideas, this entry-level job is a great career path starter for retail employees.
💲 – Salary: The median salary for a sales associate per year is $22,000.
Another great retail career path that you can learn technical skills in the retail field is a retail employee. You will greet customers, help with security and loss prevention, and manage the cash registers. Some of the other responsibilities aside from helping customers are making sure there is enough inventory and maintaining the store appearance.
📚 – What To Know: A job search for this retail career is easy to do but having the right skill sets will fast track your career at any company. As in most retail careers, problem-solving skills are among the many necessary skills needed when helping customers. There is no education requirement but having some knowledge of basic mathematics will help when handling cash registers.
💲 – Salary: The average yearly salary for most retail workers is $24,000.
There are not a lot of retail careers that handle the same responsibility as visual merchandisers do. Visual merchandising requires working with store layout, product display, and window displays. Many times you will find visual merchandisers working for larger department stores or specialty retail stores. This career is all about appealing to customers in an organized and creative way.
📚 – What To Know: There is no one path to becoming a visual merchandiser but most plan ahead with earning a college degree while studying e-commerce or marketing and sales trends. There are a few skill sets that make visual merchandising easier to handle and some of these technical skills are taught in college-level courses. But if you have a knack for being creative, love to work with your hands, and have an eye for detail then this career might be the one for you!
💲 – Salary: The average salary per year for a visual merchandiser is $57,000.
There are so many retail careers that also allow you to work from home with e-commerce platforms becoming more popular. Don’t be afraid to do a deep dive into research about the company or employees that leave reviews about the career you’re looking into.
Some careers in retail have more opportunities for advancement than others, so if that’s something you’re looking for make sure to look into companies that will invest in your growth. No career is perfect, but with a little research, you can find the right pathway for you!
Are Department Specialty Retail Stores A Good Career Path?
For the convenience store industry, customer service representatives offer experience by training employees from grocery stores, discount stores, drug stores, large retail stores, retail chains, and smaller specialty shops. For the retail sector, the ability to serve customers, is one of many invaluable skills to have aside from having cash handling procedures experience and greeting customers.
Many retail managers and retail district managers will evaluate store managers as well as inspecting store alarms, safes, and locks. Store managers also may be responsible for opening and closing the store, counting the register, preparing bank deposits, scheduling employees, ordering inventory, and handling customer complaints.
Some career paths in retail will have you working long hours including weekends with little to no days off. Many retail positions involve working in sales or service capacity and retail sales jobs off job seekers more job opportunities to advance in retail establishments.
Growth Outlook In The Next 5 Years For Retail Employees
Each retail career has a different growth expectancy and salary can depend on technical skills but in general the retail industry according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website is expected to grow about three percent in the next five years.
This growth is due to an increase in online shopping and e-commerce which will require more employees in warehouses and e-commerce distribution centers as well as customer service positions. So if you’re looking for a career with some stability and potential for growth, retail might be a good option for you!
Retail Manager Jobs Near Me
Will Retail Managers, Store Managers, or Retail Workers Survive Online Retail Stores?
With e-commerce becoming more mainstream and employees working from home, it’s no wonder people are wondering if retail management is a career that will soon be extinct.
However, with the growth of the retail industry as a whole, it’s unlikely that retail managers will disappear completely anytime soon. There will always be a need for someone to oversee operations in brick-and-mortar stores and manage employees.
Of course, the role of a retail manager is changing, and it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends if you want to be successful in this career.
Why Is Retail Management A Good Career?
For retail companies, many retail jobs have a high employee turnover but proper training for working in retail can lead from entry-level jobs to corporate positions. Managerial positions have development programs for other employees that want to take their retail experience and see if they are the right fit for becoming a department manager or area manager.
Most successful retail managers have strategic and operational abilities from taking a retail management course. This allows even an assistant store manager to have the same development opportunities as a general manager. Having the necessary knowledge of future sales volumes, customer relations, sales targets, market trends, customer demand, employee schedules, sales quotas, inventory reports, control receipts, and the ability to motivate are all something that you can apply to the next career step on your career pathway in retail.
Consider Starting In A Retail Store
A career in retail can be very rewarding. There are many different career pathways in retail, so finding the right one for you is important. With the right career pathway, you can have a successful and long career in retail. A successful retail management career can be determined by the customer relationship management system that is in place. Regional managers look for a successful retail manager that has great customer service and constant contact with product trends or visual presentation, especially with larger stores.
There are other jobs in retail business operations such as a retail store manager, office manager, or shift manager. For larger markets, product line reviews are important for meeting your customer needs and affect your weekly sales on your shop floor. A retail management career depends a lot on the retail store and how the retail store work aligns with the sales goals.
Employees that are working in retail can have opportunities to move up within the company they work for. If you start as a sales associate and show leadership qualities, some companies will promote you to a supervisor position.
The career growth potential is one of the reasons why retail is a good career. With the right training and development, employees can generally advance from an entry-level role and low pay or minimum wage to regular pay and better pay within a matter of months.
Customer Service Representative – Store Manager – And Beyond
Careers in the retail industry have many career paths to choose from and it doesn’t have to necessarily be in retail forever. It’s common for people to change careers from retail to something like human resources because you are still helping people as part of your job.
Not everyone will want to change careers to work in human resources but that shouldn’t discourage you from exploring any interest you might have in other career options. There are plenty of career options available in retail and it’s up to you to find the one that best suits your skills and interests.
Construction Industry – Construction Management
Similar to retail, the building industry with residential construction, is always in need of good people. A career in construction management might be a good fit for you if you’re interested in a career that involves working with your hands and being outdoors. Construction managers typically have a four-year degree in construction science, civil engineering, or architecture but there are many ways to get into this career without a degree.
There are also resources available on the Construction Management Association website that can help you get started in this career. Most of the construction professionals today started as construction workers and then moved up into management positions.
A construction career is one of the best careers there is with construction projects expected to be in high demand for the next few decades. There is some material knowledge and educational requirements for some work but what you don’t learn from technical school or trade school, you can learn on job sites with other skilled workers.
OJT – (On The Job Training)
Most positions for construction jobs have skilled workers teaching the basics to new hires with on the job training. Skilled workers have the experience and know-how to safely complete tasks on a construction site. Many of them are willing to take the time to teach new hires the proper way to do things so that they can be successful in their career.
The first step in getting a construction job is finding out what type of construction sites do you want to work on? There are commercial buildings, residential buildings, home construction, and even renewable energy with solar panels which is also becoming a growing industry.
Construction Equipment Operator:
A construction equipment operator is someone that works with construction materials and spends a significant time driving and operating large vehicles. Some technical schools help prepare you for operating heavy equipment which can lead to other career advancement opportunities.
💲 – Salary: The average salary in the construction industry for this construction career per year is $56,000.
Sheet Metal Worker:
Sheet metal workers are in high demand as the career offers a variety of job prospects. They are responsible for cutting, shaping, and joining sheet metal to create various parts and products. This position requires physically demanding hours and work overtime can vary depending on project needs.
💲 – Salary: The average salary in the construction industry per year for sheet metal workers is $50,000.
Heavy Equipment Operator:
Heavy equipment operators help with urban planning for residential buildings, home construction, or residential construction. The educational requirements are typically a high school diploma or associate’s degree with additional certifications for operating heavy equipment.
💲 – Salary: The average salary for heavy equipment operators per year is $63,000.
Project managers help other project stakeholders meet project deadlines. Most construction projects have their own boss aside from construction managers to help with daily operations. A college degree is common for construction management and average pay can vary depending on the job market or construction trends.
💲 – Salary: The average salary for project managers per year is $67,000.
Construction managers have a lot of job growth and are considered one of the best jobs to have in construction management. A construction manager can work in all kinds of areas, from residential construction and building materials to masonry work and moving walkways.
💲 – Salary: The average salary for construction managers per year is $62,000.
An elevator installer is one of the special construction jobs on a construction project. Elevator installers typically work on construction projects that are installing new elevators or repairing existing ones. A bachelor’s degree or higher is not uncommon for this career either.
💲 – Salary: The average salary for elevator installers per year is $82,000.
Is Retail Building Materials A Good Career Path?
If you enjoy the construction industry, working with building materials, and educating customers or sales team on a construction project layout, then a career in retail building materials may be a great fit for you. A career in retail building materials can offer job stability, good pay, and opportunities to move up within the company.
Construction workers have a lot of benefits aside from a higher than average salary and offer some of the best career advancement opportunities available.
Thanks For Reading!
Don’t be afraid to explore all the career options available to you in retail. It’s a great industry with plenty of opportunities for career growth. And who knows, you might just find the perfect career path for you.
What career pathway in retail have you been considering? Share your thoughts in the comments below!