12% of the American workforce operates in some facet of retail. That makes it one of the most popular job sectors in the country!
When you think about having a career in retail, visions of standing on a sales floor for hours on end probably come to mind. While being a sales associate is a great way to get your foot in the retail door, it's not the only facet of the business that you can get involved in.
Below, our team outlines a handful of common and not so common careers in retail you may want to consider.
1. Sales Associate
The most common retail position in America and around the world is being a sales associate. Sales associates wear many hats, most of which put them in front of customers on the sales floor.
Among the careers in retail that you might consider, being a sales associate is likely to pay the worst when looking at hourly rates.
That being said, there are associates that make well above the national median salary by selling big-ticket items and earning commissions on them.
At the end of the day, if you have the aptitude to sell and you partner with the right retailer, you can forge a lucrative career for yourself as a sales associate.
Next to sales associates, cashiers are among the most common careers in retail.
While it seems that being a cashier would require special experience given the amount of math and money handling involved, cashiers are actually entry-level positions. Cashier training is given on the job and in many cases, sales associates and cashiers will interchange positions depending on a store's needs day to day.
It's important to note that cashiers don't have the opportunity to earn commissions. They are also be held accountable for register discrepancies which happen even when working honestly from time to time.
3. Customer Service Specialist
The roles of customer service specialists change slightly depending on where you're working. In some settings, a service specialist could be in charge of handling returns. In other settings, service specialists may be in charge of keeping online customers informed regarding shipments.
Whatever your unique responsibilities are within the customer service niche, everything you do will be aimed at helping remedy customer concerns.
If you're good with people and have patience for the occasionally upset patron, you can fair well from an hourly pay perspective as a service specialist depending on the retailer you're partnered with.
4. Department Manager
Department managers in retail are responsible for ensuring that their section of a store is operating smoothly.
For example, in a grocery store, you might have a department manager for the produce section, one for the meat department, one for furniture, etc.
In a department store, there would be separate managers for men's clothing, women's clothing, fragrances... You get the picture.
As a department manager, you'll earn a better hourly wage than the sales associates you manage. Your opportunities to earn commissions, however, may be slim to none which could put you at an income disadvantage when compared to associates.
5. Merchandise Buyer
How do you think retailers source their products? Often times, sourcing occurs via a merchandise buyer that works at a retailer's corporate level.
Merchandise buyers will evaluate a number of manufacturers to find quality products to stock. They'll also negotiate rates with manufacturers to try and give their retailer the largest margin on acquired products possible.
Merchandise buyers enjoy a number of corporate-level benefits many other careers in retail don't get to partake in. These benefits may include retirement options, healthcare benefits, and more.
6. Merchandise Promoter
If you've ever been to Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, you've probably seen a merchandise promoter drumming up interest in a product.
In some cases, these merchandise promoters work for the store and are working to build interest in high-margin products. In other cases, merchandise promoters are working for the product's manufacturer.
In either instance, hourly pay for merchandise promoters is average. Commission potential can be immense though, so, if you have the aptitude to sell, you can do very well.
7. Online Merchandiser
Online merchandisers are in charge of building and managing a retailer's eCommerce website. Given that every year more retail sales move to the internet, the role of online merchandisers on retail teams has exploded in the last decade.
Some retailers will have an in-house online merchandising team while others turn to private contractors to manage their eCommerce needs.
As an in-house employee, you may have the potential to be a salaried employee in this position and may even qualify for benefits depending on your retailer and how many hours you work for them.
As a third party contractor in charge of managing a retailer's online sales, contracts are often lucrative and you may have the ability to manage multiple retailer's eCommerce platforms which can further boost your earning potential.
You can learn more from this blog about building successful eCommerce content.
Wrapping Up Fun and Exciting Careers in Retail That Are Hot in 2019
Whether you're out on the sales floor or are behind the scenes helping manage online sales platforms, there is no shortage of exciting careers in retail that can turn out to be extremely lucrative for interested parties.
We hope that our list above has given you valuable perspective on whether or not a career in retail is right for you!
For more information on all things careers, read more of our job-focused content on National Jobs by the Washington Post today!