OK, lets face facts here, working in a retail environment can be one of the more aggravating jobs you can find yourself doing. In some cases this may not matter very much, say if you are just working a summer job or just wanna put some extra cash in your pocket, on the other hand some need to make sure they can hold onto and advance in jobs in the retail sector, for instance if you have rent to pay or you happen to like to do things like eating on a regular basis. If you happen to be one of the people who needs their job these tips will help to make you a more valuable employee and may even get you promoted.
Know your merchandise:
This can be difficult in some circumstances, sometimes you may be working in a store or department where you just don’t have enough interest in what you are selling. This may be a challenge but if you want to make your position more secure you just have to deal with it. In the average retail environment it does not really take much to know enough about your product for your customers to trust you, or for your employer to consider you valuable. It may not seem important but when it comes to staying employed a little knowledge can go a long way.
Learn aspects of your store outside your position:
It never hurts to know more than what is outlined in your job description. At some point there will come a time when one of your co-workers won’t be able to work at 100%, whether they be sick, have an emergency, or whatever the case may be some one may need your help. Don’t hesitate to step up and offer to do what you can, you will look like more of a team player and your supervisor and co-workers will trust and respect you more which is never a bad thing. Whenever you have the opportunity to learn about things outside of your general job description go for it, that way you are prepared to step in when needed.
Learn basic computer skills:
You may be surprised to learn, most people do not know even the most basic functions of a computer, for most troubleshooting consists of turning the computer off then on again. Being comfortable even trying to fix problems with your stores register system or back office computer can go a long way in making you stand out in your workplace. You won’t be expected to be able to take a computer apart and reassemble it, but if your the one you supervisor can go to just for the sake of talking to your stores tech support team it can make a big difference. Even the most basic knowledge can make you stand out among the rest of the staff.
Don’t automatically turn down requests to cover a shift, if you have nothing else to do go in and
cover for whomever called out. You don’t have to be a complete pushover but help out when you can your coworkers will appreciate it and so will your supervisor, and if those reasons are not good enough, at least you’ll make some extra money in your next paycheck.
5) Know the basics:
Yet another issue that some may find surprising, There is a striking number of people who are not proficient in proper spelling, grammar, and math. Supervisors must regularly communicate with there home office and while they may be good with sales, planning, and delegation they like many others rely too much on spell check and similar tools. If you are at least semi-capable writer you can help your supervisor check the e-mails he sends to the cooperate offices, do not try to act superior, but if you can handle proof reading and editing let it be known that you are willing to help. This is an area where a little can go a long way because any manager should appreciate your help with making him/her look good in the eye’s of upper management. Another surprisingly useful skill in the retail world is basic math, in this case it is not so much that your employer can’t do the basics they just may be uncomfortable doing so, especially during popular sales periods such as Christmas. When you have 10,000 plus dollars that you are responsible for you want to make sure you get it right. This is where your basic math skills will come in handy. A supervisor during the busy seasons will want to make sure that their deposits are accurate, what really makes the difference is how fast you can go while still being accurate. If you can count out a deposit and fill out the bank bag and paperwork in a half hour you will be considered more useful than a supervisor who is uncomfortable with the process and takes an hour of more to do what you normally consider a simple task. Overall the idea is to let your employer know that you are capable of handling these tasks you just have to make sure you do not come off as arrogant,if you can pull this off you will definitely prove you are a benefit to your company.
6) Be a creative problem solver:
The ability to solve problems rather than complaining about them is useful in any job. Being able to be creative is an excellent way to distinguish yourself. In almost any retail environment these situations will arise; you have a plan sent from home office to merchandise your product but will not have the proper inventory to do so, you will have sales where you do not have the appropriate advertising materials, or any of a number of situations in which the plan is there but the resources are not. When you find yourself in one of these positions you have the opportunity to prove your skills. Try to come up with a solution that can fix the difficulties you are facing. By doing this you will prove to your employer that it is beneficial to keep you around, your co-workers will also appreciate your ideas because it prevents confusion as to what needs to be done to keep business going.
Try to excel at customer relations:
By customer relations I do not mean customer service. Customer service is very important but customer relations is even more important. When preforming customer service all you need to do is be courteous and helpful when working towards customer relations you have to go one step higher, in this case you want to get to know your customers and build a repertoire with them. By getting to know your customers you can turn a happy shopper into a happy regular. This can be incredibly important, if you have repeat customers that you have built up a relationship with they tend to want help from you rather than another employee, it should also be realized that when a particular customer has formed a relationship with a particular associate they will tend to spend more money in your store as well as providing excellent word of mouth advertising, and when enough customers look to you for help it makes you almost indispensable to your company.
In conclusion I have had many different experiences as a retail employee and manager. I worked my way up from a sales associate in a store whose products I had little interest in, from there I was able to make my way up to management. Working in retail can be frustrating, but if you actually need the job just give it your best because its much better to work your way up the ladder rather than job hopping between many different employers.