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What is retail?
Retail is all about selling products. The products are usually sold in shops or online. You can find products for sale in a multitude of industries, from clothing to cars. Therefore, if you want to work in retail, you have the option of choosing a sector that you’re interested in.
Retail isn’t just about working as a shop assistant though. There are a broad range of roles available that you could pursue a career in.
Areas in Retail
Retail can involve working for companies that sell a range of products, such as supermarkets; which generally sell food and household products.
Retail can also involve working for companies that sell more specific products, such as toys or electrical products. Other retail settings you could work in include:
- Department stores.
- Convenience stores.
- Speciality shops.
- Discount retailers.
- Online shops.
Why study a retail course?
The majority of careers in retail don’t actually require you to hold a qualification to get started. However, it’s certainly beneficial to have GCSEs in subjects like English and maths, or equivalent qualifications.
If you have qualifications and another job candidate doesn’t, you’re more likely to get the job. If you want to work in a managerial role, it can certainly be advantageous to hold a higher-education qualification, but many retail managers work their way up the ranks; by starting as a sales assistant, then becoming a supervisor and then becoming a manager.
If you want to work in areas like merchandising and buying without starting off at a low-level position, you have the opportunity of completing a higher education course so you can enter those types of roles as soon as you graduate.
If you choose to study a college or university course related to retail, there are a number of courses available in the United Kingdom. You could enrol with a course to earn a qualification such as a:
- Level One Certificate in Retail Skills.
- Level Two Award in Retail Knowledge.
- Level Three Certificate in Retail Skills – Management.
- Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management.
Career Outcomes from a Retail Course
By completing a retail course, you’ll be able to enter some retail professions more easily.
Career outcomes include the following:
- Buyer: Working as a buyer, you would be responsible for choosing and purchasing product ranges that are suitable for the retail outlet you work for. You could buy products for a single shop or for an entire retail chain.
- Merchandiser: This role involves organising promotional retail events and finding the best ways to purchase the right amount of stock in order to ensure your retail outlet hits sales targets and makes a profit. You would have the skills necessary to predict what products will be bestsellers.
- Visual Merchandiser: In this position, you would be in charge of creating striking shop displays in order to draw in more customers so that sales can be increased. You will need to have a creative flair and be able to skilfully consider a shop’s space, lighting and guidelines.