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Retail & Sales careers

Retail: Store Management, Shopfloor & Sales Assistants

What is a job as a store manager, shop floor staff or sales assistant like?

When you go into a shop, you don’t meet the buying team or the visual merchandising department. You interact with the store managers, shop floor staff and sales assistants. These people are the friendly face of the retail industry and shopping would never be the same without them.

Careers in this area of retail are all about providing excellent customer service and making sure customers can find what they are looking for. If a shop is run in a friendly, helpful and efficient manner, it can increase sales significantly.

Without these guys, supermarket shelves would be empty, you would never be able to find clothes or shoes in the right sizes, and all transactions would be based purely on an ‘honesty’ basis (where people leave their money in a pot on the counter and take the right change for themselves). It just wouldn’t work, would it? A simple trip down the shops would turn into utter carnage.

Every single kind of shop needs managers, supervisors, sales assistants and other shop floor staff to operate effectively, from bookstores and bridal shops, to department stores and drum kit megastores.

Each and every type of role within these careers requires people who can work as a team, be friendly and offer great customer service. Every person who works on the shop floor will be required to deal with customers on some level. Therefore, they will need to know their particular establishment inside out and have impeccable communication skills in order to offer advice and help shoppers find the right products.

What are the responsibilities of a store manager?

Like any company in any industry, retail establishments need managers and supervisors to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Store managers are responsible for managing all shop floor staff and operations. When it comes down to it, if the shop isn’t clean, if the stock isn’t out on the shelves, or if sales assistants are providing poor customer service, the responsibility always rests on the shoulders of the manager.

These guys need to engage and motivate their employees, promoting the importance of excellent customer service within the team, and making sure everyone is doing their job effectively.

Additionally, store managers are responsible for overseeing the commercial and financial aspects of running a retail establishment: they might be in charge of monitoring stock, profits, sales targets and health and safety compliance. To enter at a store manager level, a degree is likely to be a prerequisite. However, people can progress to this level from sales assistants and supervisor positions.

What are the responsibilities of a store supervisor?

While store managers are dealing with the business end of things, they may need the additional managerial services of shop floor supervisors. These people are more senior than sales assistants and general shop floor staff. They are responsible for directly man-managing and training staff in regards to customer service and operational practice. Supervisors often carry out routine shop floor tasks too, but lead by example and ensure that all the staff on their shift are working efficiently.

What are the responsibilities of a sales assistant?

Sales assistants are at the true core of the retail industry. People are likely to start their retail careers at this level and their roles are primarily focused on customer interaction. They might be processing transactions at the checkout, stocking shelves and offering advice and guidance to the customers.

This lot are at the forefront of everything and are required to know the store’s products inside out. Specialist knowledge and interest in a certain area can be a great advantage and will allow them to make expert recommendations to curious customers. From this level, there may be opportunities to progress into supervisor and store manager positions.

What are the responsibilities of the customer service and hospitality staff?

Specific efforts to enhance customer service and hospitality are integral to making shoppers feel welcome, happy and relaxed. Some shop floor staff might be employed in specific roles where their entire responsibility is providing friendly customer service.

For instance, people may work on specific customer service desks to handle complaints and returns, people may be employed to meet and greet people as they enter and leave the store, and others may be responsible for assisting shoppers with modern self-checkout systems.

These latter dudes and dudettes are especially important, as we’re sure most people have experienced that feeling of frustration caused by when the robotic voice shouting “unexpected item in the bagging area.”

What are the responsibilities of shop floor staff?

Retail careers can also begin in a wide variety of other shop floor staff positions. People may be responsible for replacing stock and stacking shelves, working as changing room assistants, simply working at checkouts, or even working behind the scenes and coordinating inventories and storage facilities. These careers might be repetitive to begin with, but hard work and a consistent performance might open up opportunities for progression into more senior positions.

Are you one of those people whose photographic memory allows them to write their shopping list in order of where things are in the shop? Are you a fashionista or fashionisto who can readily dispense your knowledge of tones, cuts, and why bootcut jeans are all kinds of wrong? If so, then a career in this sector might be perfect for you!