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What Does it Take to Succeed In Retail

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 28 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
What Does It Take To Succeed In Retail

The retail sector attracts all different types of personalities and achieving success and career development within the industry can come in many different forms and can involve numerous different skills and personal qualities. However, one of the main differences between those who succeed within retail and those who merely ‘tick along’ within it, is the passion that some people have towards it.

It is also the realisation that, ultimately, the bottom line is all about sales even if you’re not directly on the sales front line and successful people have a drive, determination and a commitment to keeping ahead of the competition and being the best. Whether it’s beating last year’s sales figures, coming up with ideas for better products or creating a great window display it’s all about giving 100% and staying on top of the competition.

Identifying The Right Retail Culture For You

There are many different retail sectors – take market stalls, pubs and restaurants and department stores just to name three. They are all retail industries but they are all very different. It’s not very likely that a young woman who sells perfume in a major department store would fare too well down at a market stall selling fish and vice versa for the fishmonger. Some sectors are far more relaxed than others and some are far more competitive, so to have any chance of success, it’s important to identify not only the right kind of job but also the right kind of environment to which you feel you’d be suited.


Retail is all about sales and without promotion, sales can suffer. The same can be said for people within the industry too. If you truly want to make your mark within retail, you must be willing to promote yourself. This can involve being co-operative and flexible, demonstrating that you can do the job well and that you’re dedicated to your current position and willing to accept added responsibilities. Promotions within retail often occur far more quickly than in other industries and they’re always linked to performance so you need to ensure you stand out from the crowd.

Find A Suitable Mentor

To get on in retail, it also helps to find yourself a suitable mentor. This is likely to be somebody in a supervisory or management role who has been in a similar position to that which you currently hold. Remember, they’ll have been through it all before you, both the triumphs and the difficulties and they will be able to pass on their knowledge and experience to help you to succeed also and this will inevitably help you in your career development.

Manage Your Time Effectively

A job in retail is often hectic and one in which you’ll often be asked to do several things at once so it’s important to be able to prioritise and to stay organised. When prioritising tasks, it’s often useful to weigh up each task in terms of its importance by considering how the task will affect the money coming into the till. The task that affects this the most should be tackled first and so on and so forth.

Be Efficient

Being efficient means that you can save time which ultimately means that you’ll be saving the company money which is something all retail company bosses like to hear. Therefore, it’s a surefire way of achieving success. Being efficient doesn’t mean cutting corners or neglecting aspects of your job. It simply means being able to think of ways in which you can use your time most productively. Therefore, distractions, time-wasting and putting off things that could be done now are all issues that should be avoided. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind if there are ways in which you think something could be done more productively and efficiently.

By taking these tips on board, you’re likely to achieve promotion and rise up the ranks to management level or to other senior posts far more quickly.

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I'm currently 30 years of age, though for the last 10 years of these, I have solely worked within a office and accountancy environment. Due to the Economic problems globally, I am obviously trying to broaden my areas of looking for work, though as I have NO retail experience, how can I over come this. Hope someone can advise. Thanks James
Manchesterlad30 - 8-Nov-11 @ 12:57 PM
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