If you have an eye for design, are thrilled by that look in a satisfied customer’s eyes, or enjoy watching a project come to fruition, a career in one of the many retail career paths may be on the horizon for you. The retail industry is huge. From design to development, manufacturing to delivery, and sales to management, retail workers dabble in vastly different areas of expertise, each with different responsibilities and varying skill sets.
4 of the most amazing career paths any job seeker with retail aspirations should consider:
1. Visual merchandising
Visual merchandisers are the creative artists behind retail marketing strategies. They develop, communicate, and implement visual advertising concepts and strategies geared towards promoting the retail company’s products and services in brick-and-mortar stores (window displays, posters), in print ads, or online. While most visual merchandisers are employed in retail stores, some work with museums and art galleries, curating the visual concepts behind promotional events.
The goal of the visual merchandiser is to find new, unique, and trendsetting methods to attract the attention and interest of the retail company’s target clientele, exciting and entertaining the customers with the products and services up for sale so they are driven to make purchases.
Employees working in visual marketing don’t need an advanced degree in a related field, but they must demonstrate stellar creative design skills, be up-to-date on current and future design and lifestyle trends, possess extensive knowledge on target market features and excel in communicating ideas and visions to colleagues – and to the public.
2. Retail planning and buying
Retail merchandise planners are realists, using backgrounds in accounting or IT fields, as well as the analysis of past data, to predict future demand trends in the consumer world. They control the retail company’s OTB (Open to Buy) allowance, matching it to budgets and forecasts, and adjusting it according to actual sales results. They are the retailers responsible for flash sales, seasonal promotions and discontinued inventory lines.
Merchandise buyers are visionaries, constantly seeking to push the consumer envelope. Working within the parameters designated for them by the company’s planners, the buyers select products they believe shoppers will want to purchase, taking into account style and market trends.
3. Supply chain management
Away from the bustling shop floor, supply chain management (SCM) workers help streamline the transfer of products from the manufacturers’ warehouses to the retail store’s service entrance, overseeing the distribution process from start to finish. They ensure that brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce shop stockrooms remain full and can readily serve the customers satisfactorily, certifying that products are stored and shipped properly and on time.
4. Retail field management
Strong leaders and team players delight: a career in retail field management may be on the horizon for you. Varying in degree of responsibility depending on their roles as store, area, district or regional manager, those who work in retail field management are charged with overseeing stores and their performance within the retail or commercial world.
Retail field managers visit store locations to gain a better understanding of the sales processes taking place on site. They later utilize this knowledge to assist in the modification of the company’s sales and marketing strategies, in an attempt to increase customer satisfaction and boost transactions.
Whether you’re working on the shop floor or high up in a management position, when it comes to the retail field, professional opportunities are far-reaching, tapping into various areas of expertise and manifesting as vastly different occupations. From conception to manufacturing, distribution to marketing and sales, the four amazing retail career paths described above are just a few of the many options available for job seekers mulling entering the retail workforce. As all of the positions’ end goals ultimately seek to ensure that a satisfied customer leaves the store with the desired product in hand, a career in the retail industry can prove to be extremely fulfilling.
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