Sales Persons and Cashiers in Retail
Thanks to rapid urbanization and sprawling shopping centres, multi-storeyed malls and huge complexes that emerge at an ever increasing speed in every upcoming city, retailing has grown into one of the largest sectors in the global economy and a booming industry in the present century.
India is one of the top ten emerging retail markets all over the globe. There are approximately 4.3 million retail outlets spread over the nation. According to Retail Association of India (RAI), there is a demand for 1.25 million retail personnel which will go up to 3.25 million by the year 2008-091 . The Ernst & Young's report 'The Great Indian Retail Story', anticipates that the Indian retail sector would come up with 2 million employment opportunities within the year 2010 . It offers around 2 million job opportunities worldwide.
Job profile: In India many start with their first job in retail industry. Retail sales people work in shops such as retail chain stores, boutiques, department stores, shops within shopping malls and warehouses. They help customers find what they are looking for, be it shoes, computer equipment, automobiles, etc. and try to interest them into buying the product. In the process, they may describe the product’s various models, styles and colours and demonstrate its use.
Cashiers are solely responsible to ensure that transactions are completed fast and accurate. Sometimes retail salespersons - especially those who work in department and apparel stores also get involved in sales checks, receive cash, packaging, etc. Depending on the hours they work, retail salespersons may have to open or close cash registers as well. The cashier counter work may include collecting money from customers, counting the money in the register, separating charge slips, coupons and exchange vouchers and making deposits at the cash office. They use cash registers and deal with credit card and payment processing machines.
Working conditions: Retail salespeople and cashiers can work full-time or part-time. They may also be required to work in evenings, on weekends and holidays (those who work on weekends and holidays get off on another working day). Job as a salesperson and cashier is high demanding with long working hours, especially during festivals and school holidays. This requires them to have stamina and physical fitness, as they spend a lot of time on their feet.
Job prospects and career options: The enormous expansion in the retail sector during the past few years has thrown up a big demand for trained professionals. Trained and talented retail management professionals are always in great demand not only in India but abroad also. Many multinational companies have come forward in the retailing business. Reliance Group, ITC Retail, Aditya Birla Group, Tata Groups Trent & Westside, Subhiksha, Shoppers Stop, Future Groups Big Bazaar & Pantaloons, Apparel Chains, Raymond's, Arvind Brands, Lifestyle International, Spencers etc. are some of the top companies who have opened retail chains throughout the cities that offers huge job openings.
A professional with excellent communication skills and a flair for convincing people can be recruited as store managers, customer care executives, merchandise officers, public relations executive and so on.
Career progression: Retail salespeople can progress to retail sales, assistant then to senior sales, shop management or regional management roles. Salespersons with experience and seniority usually move to positions of greater responsibility.
Skills & knowledge required: Employers look for people who enjoy working with others and who have the tact and patience to deal with typical customers. Characteristics required in a person working in retail industry is interest in sales work, smart personality and the ability to communicate clearly and effectively. Retail salesperson should also be able to keep himself/herself updated with the latest trends in fashion and consumer tastes. People in this profession interact with a variety of people including customers, suppliers and couriers. Hence, good marketing and accounting skills and understanding consumer behaviour is the key to this profession. Promoting products and developing promotion campaigns is another area where one should specialise.
Educational and training requirements: There usually are no formal education requirements for this type of work, although a high school diploma or the equivalent is often preferred. A college degree may be required for management trainee positions, especially in larger retail establishments. In large stores, training programs are usually conducted on regular basis. Retail salespeople typically learn their skills through on-the-job training.
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