Leslie Docherty is the store owner of Fat Buddha Store, a men’s clothing store that specialises in streetwear. He has established a successful career within the retail sector and has lots of advice for those who wish to do the same.
Working in a retail career can give you lots of transferrable skills, as well as plenty of opportunities for career progression. According to Retail Economics, 2.8 million people in the UK work in retail, yet many shop workers see their jobs as a means to an end. However, if they take their responsibilities seriously enough, it is possible to advance within a company and build a career to be proud of. Here are some tips for standing out to help you bag the job you want.
You need to be passionate about the company you work for and the products you sell, because this will make your job a lot more enjoyable. You also need to be enthusiastic about the brand you’re representing in order to grab the interest of potential customers. Try to work for a company that sells products you already know and love. That way, you’ll look forward to going to work every day and it’ll show.
If you find yourself working for a company that you’re not initially excited by, then find a way to change that. Do some research into the background of the business and get to know the people around you. It’ll help a lot.
Rather than spending your shifts watching the clock and wishing the hours away, use your time wisely. During quiet periods, tidy around you and ask others if they could use your help. It’s all about keeping busy and being productive. You can also show you’re keen by turning up early, taking shorter lunch breaks and occasionally staying back longer than you need to. This will get your manager’s attention and show them you’re dependable, which could be the first step on the ladder to a promotion.
Take an interest in the business
Perhaps you only work in the stock room or on the shop floor, but you should always be looking to learn as much as possible about your employer’s business. This is a great way to find out about things like potential paths of progression that might be available to you.
Managers are usually very approachable and they can teach you a lot — they were given their role for a reason, after all. Try engaging them in a conversation about aspects of the business that you might not see. A few nuggets of knowledge from them could take you a long way.
Learn as much as possible
Similarly, you should try to learn as much about your company’s processes as possible. For example, ask how the electronic point of sale (EPOS) system works, see if you can help with buying and study how web orders are dispatched. Doing this will widen your knowledge and make your job a lot more varied. This could give you a massive advantage if you choose to apply for other jobs both within or outside the company.
Try your best every day
We all have down days, but you should try to avoid letting yours affect how well you work. Even if you’re not feeling your best, you should try to sell as much as possible and give customers the best possible experience. If you consistently do your best and achieve great results, your managers are sure to notice and you’ll receive the recognition you deserve.
Customers are more likely to buy from people they like, so make sure they feel like they can come to you with any problems or queries. Enjoy the interaction and try to help them as much as possible. If you don’t know the answer to a questions, don’t just tell them you can’t help — find someone who can! The more hospitable you are, the more likely customers are going to leave with a positive memory of you and the brand you represent.
Develop your product knowledge
Customers will expect you to know all about the products you’re selling, so make sure you know your stuff. If you appear to know a lot about your shop’s stock, customers will be more likely to trust your judgement, which could help you to secure more sales. Plus, as previously mentioned, you should be passionate about the brand you represent, so it’s likely you’ll enjoy learning about its products.
Obey the rules
If you’re told that phones aren’t allowed on the shop floor, leaves yours in your bag. And if you’re asked to sign in and out at work, make sure you do it. Whether you understand them or not, rules are there for a reason and you should respect them. This is especially important if you wish to progress within the company, as you might even have to implement these guidelines at some point during your career.
Support the company you work for
If the company you work for is hosting events, competitions or promotions, try to get the word out as much as possible. It’s a great way to support your employer and show you’re committed to doing as much for the business as possible. You want to be valued as an employee and going above and beyond is a great way to make this happen.
Have a goal
While many see retail jobs as a means to an end, you can actually build a very successful career in the sector if you take it seriously enough. Look at the job opportunities available within your company and see if there’s one you’d like to set your sights on. Then, try to figure out how you are going to get there and start working towards it.
It’s also a good idea to follow all of the guidelines I’ve set out here, too, as they’ll show that you’re a reliable employee who can handle more responsibility.