Behind the scenes specialist...
Most people are unaware of the myriad of support roles available in retail businesses. They include jobs in areas such as IT and e-commerce, finance, legal, loss prevention, maintenance and human resources. Roles can range from cleaner, clerk, customer service through to product specialists and a career in the wholesale area.
Product specialists manage the sales performance and market success for one or more products or brands for large suppliers. They contribute to product development by monitoring and predicting trends and assessing sales performance. This includes determining future production levels as well as how products should change and improve.
Product specialists also develop and implement marketing and promotional strategies to increase sales and the profile of the product or brand. This includes working on visual merchandising and product placement within stores. It can also include developing advertising strategies and campaigns.
"If you are observant, organised and analytical then most support roles would suit you."
The retail finance career area includes all accounting and finance functions like checking income, paying expenses, compiling and maintaining financial records, money management and cash flow control, banking, investment, and credit lines.
Information technology is involved from the moment an item arrives at the warehouse until it is scanned at the checkout. Technology careers are numerous and varied in the retail industry. There are e-commerce websites that complement most traditional stores, complex inventory systems, training programs delivered over the Internet, state-of-the-art cash register and credit systems, servers and network systems management - technology careers are continually growing in the retail industry.
Recruiting and hiring employees are the most obvious parts of human resources. But retail careers in human resources also include numerous other responsibilities such as delivering training; designing training programs; overseeing salaries and benefits and ensuring legal compliance in hiring and employment practices. Human resources staff liaise with employees on matters such as sick leave, promotion and career planning.
The loss prevention career area is responsible for safeguarding retail business assets and may include risk management issues, such as customer and employee safety. Loss prevention team members work together to prevent and handle merchandise loss due to shoplifting, employee theft, paperwork errors, and vendor fraud. Physical security of store and company buildings may also be included.