What is the retail industry? When you stroll through a mall or any shopping center, you get a glimpse of the various types of retail stores and outlets that exist. However, the term “retail” extends to any professional who helps consumers acquire products and services. The front-line staff who customers see working in retail stores covers one level of retail, but retail positions also include a large range of support staff and multiple tiers of management.
Are you looking for a booming career in the retail industry? Explore this guide to the various types of retail jobs available, what they entail, and how to find and qualify for the highest-paying positions near you.
Industries Where You Can Find Retail Jobs
Retail covers a broad range of industries, and getting into one of these industries can be a great starting point for finding the highest-paying retail jobs. The industries where you can find many different retail jobs include:
- Major retailers (Costco, Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc.)
- Department stores (Nordstrom, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, etc.)
- Grocery and gourmet food (Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Publix, etc.)
- Hardware and home improvement (Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, etc.)
Additional industries may also include:
- Fashion and accessories
- Home goods and furniture
- Pet care
Types of Retail Jobs
If you are just beginning a career in retail, you may picture cashiers and sales associates. However, retail jobs expand far beyond these entry-level roles. Below is an extensive list of the various types of retail jobs and a brief description of what they entail.
- Cashier. This is the role you most likely think of when considering retail jobs. Cashiers are hands-on, full-time or part-time employees who work directly with customers. The term is commonly used in retailers such as grocery markets and department stores.
- Sales associate. A retail sales associate has the direct responsibility for all sales of a company’s products. These individuals may have monthly sales goals and have higher earning potential since they often make commissions or bonuses for the revenue they generate.
- Customer service representative. These representatives are typically designated to help with customer service concerns. For example, major retailers often have a customer service hub open for returns and other general issues at the front of the store. This keeps the cashier lines moving faster while customer service reps focus on improving the customer experience. In some smaller businesses, this role may be combined with a cashier or sales associate role.
- Stocker. A stocker is responsible for unpacking, labeling, and shelving inventory. This position may be found in retail stores, warehouses, or stockrooms. If in direct contact with customers, this role may also assist with placing orders for customers.
- Warehouse worker. Warehouse worker positions are similar to stockers but found in retail warehouses. An individual with this job will often help with packing and shipping inventory sold in stores. Heavy lifting is often associated with this position and, in some cases, warehouse workers will also deliver items to vendors.
- Inventory manager. Inventory managers may oversee inventory at warehouses, stores, or stockrooms. These detail-oriented individuals lead a team and ensure all items are accounted for in shipping and receiving. Their duties may also include maintaining proper inventory at retail locations, analyzing various suppliers, and evaluating incoming shipments.
- Buyer. Do you love to shop? A retail buyer job may be a great fit for you. A buyer represents a store and shops various wholesalers to find the best items to sell in their respective stores. Duties include planning, overseeing, and purchasing goods, with attention given to finding high-quality items at a competitive rate.
- Store manager. Store managers are responsible for the overall performance of their stores. This includes ensuring that all team members provide excellent customer service and that operational duties are properly done, in addition to overseeing the success of the store’s financial performance.
- Team leader and floor manager. Depending on the size of the company and store, there may be additional tiers of management between the store manager and front-line staff. This is where team leader and floor manager roles exist. These roles are critical for lines of communication to be clear between management and team members.
- Advertising and marketing. A variety of roles exist within retail advertising and marketing to help drive customers to the store. How organizations structure these roles will often vary. Some include advertising and marketing managers, social media managers, and visual merchandisers who arrange eye-catching product displays.
- Cleaning and maintenance. Cleaning and maintenance are essential roles in retail stores. The cleanliness of a location has an impact on potential shoppers, and a negative appearance can lead to negative reviews.
- Security guard and loss prevention. A security guard may be necessary at a variety of retail locations. Stores selling higher-priced items may require more security and be more likely to have full-time security guards. Many retail businesses have a focal point on loss prevention, which means preventing profit loss due to theft, fraud, and errors. While theft prevention is a key aspect of this role, it may also involve tracking what sells best to cut losses when something is not successful.
Skills and Training Needed
Finding the highest-paying retail jobs takes a combination of skills and experience, research of the best companies to pursue, and a growth plan to land your dream job. Read on for a few pointers to secure a pathway to a lucrative retail role.
Gain Applicable Hands-On Experience
If you are new to the retail industry, the best way to start is through a cashier or sales associate job. This will help you acquire retail experience and learn more about the different career pathways available in retail.
Getting a direct view of the retail world and learning how to handle different customer situations will provide a level of education in the field that can only be taught through experience. If you choose to pursue a management pathway, having this experience under your belt is often a requirement and will help you manage employees in similar roles in the future.
Target Companies That Pay Competitively
If you want to pursue a lucrative job in retail, it can help to get hired at a company that offers competitive pay. For example, companies like Target and Costco raised their minimum wage to a $15 hourly wage in 2020 to attract top talent. Retail companies with higher-priced items, such as fine jewelry or furniture, may also offer higher pay. Additional training or more extensive background checks may occur when dealing with more valuable items.
Determine a Goal for Your Career Path
Combine your knowledge of the various pathways in retail, their respective pay scales, and which roles strike your interest to determine a career goal. Keep in mind that some companies may have more tiers of management and support staff than others.
Research Company Growth Capacities
A small, family-owned jewelry store may not have the same growth capacity as a major business like Amazon or a grocery store chain like Publix. If your goal is to become a store manager, a small business has its perks, too though. However, if you have a passion for warehouse management or logistics, these positions may not exist in smaller businesses. Be open to opportunities to find the highest-paying retail jobs, but be mindful of your goals and whether room for growth exists where you work.
Seek a Mentor to Help You Grow in Retail
Often, organizations that experience rapid growth succeed because they create a system for growth. For example, a store manager may increase their chance of promotion if they have numerous team members who are properly trained for a management role. With this in mind, you may find opportunities to find a mentor in your company who inspires you and helps you achieve the next steps.
Find the Highest-Paying Retail Jobs Today
Are you ready to work your way up to eventually land a high-paying retail job? Get started today by exploring the resources at Joblist. Build a perfect resume, practice interview questions, research potential companies, and learn how to stand out in a crowded market. Whether you live in New York City or San Diego, you can make the most of our job search platform to find the highest-paying full-time or part-time retail jobs near you.