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5 retail careers that might surprise you

Retail careers

The salesclerk asks if you found everything you were looking for, rings you up and places your items in a bag. You nod, take your purchases and leave. If you’ve only been on the consumer end of such transactions, you may think this familiar scenario pretty much defines retail work.

But many jobs in retail don’t require working behind a cash register, and they generally pay more, says Daniel Boose, an online instructor in the University of Phoenix business management program.

Here are five retail jobs that don’t involve checkout lines:


Communications director

With all the status updating, comment posting and review writing that consumers do online about companies, somebody’s got to be in charge of managing what’s being said and responding to it.

“The communications director is the one who has the job of mitigating potential public relations problems, which might break online,” says Boose, who has been a consultant to Starbucks and Applebee’s.

Because these employees do everything from writing news releases to gathering data from social media, they must be savvy enough to access information from a computer database, as well as be skilled in marketing communications.


Store buyer

“People who want to work on the cutting edge of trend setting become buyers,” says Marie Powell, an online instructor in the University’s marketing program. “Buyers get to choose which products will be sold.

“In a large company, a buyer is assigned to a specific department, like sportswear,” Powell notes, “so they are only picking products in that specialty.” They must be schooled in marketing and merchandising, as well as fashion, and they must understand consumer demographics to suit merchandise to specific populations.

Merchandising analyst

These employees monitor how fast things sell to ensure there is enough product allocated to a store, and they work closely with buyers to tell them which products are moving.

Merchandising analysts also work on the supply side for manufacturers, analyzing the same data to determine whether companies should produce more or less of certain products. “[They] … have to be keen about finance and accounting,” says Powell, who has been an analyst on both sides of retail.

Retail database administrator

This is a key position, Powell notes, because the administrator is in charge of maintaining and organizing sales and inventory data.

In addition to having an IT background and proficiency in programs like Oracle® Retail, database administrators translate raw data — such as how many units were ordered by a specific region or which products sold the most during a specific time of year — into nuggets of information that can be used throughout the supply chain.

Franchise consultant

As in-house retail specialists, these experts work at the corporate level and travel to different outlets in a chain to ensure they’re well run, Boose explains.

“You visit a franchise to review how it’s functioning on multiple levels,” he says, “and then work with the store manager to suggest improvements to the bottom line.

“Franchise consultants are the jack-of-all-trades for the retail industry,” he adds, “because their jobs contain a little bit of know-how about everything from HR and finances to marketing and supply chain.

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