People like to discount retail employees experience and value. However, there are numerous skills a decent employee will pick up over just a few months. Some skills are more obvious than others.
Being Punctual - Shifts are irregular and require individuals to be aware of traffic and parking. Additionally, It shows dedication to an employer the ability of the employee to be flexible in scheduling while being punctual.
Multitasking - On any given day an employee is keeping up with numerous specials, customers shopping, and corporate goals. Everyday there is a different rush of information employees must retain and repeat to all potential customers. Then must balance multiple customers and their needs at once.
Customer Service - For better or for worse, employees are expected to make sure all customers leave their store happily. Meaning, everyone feels informed, assisted, and heard. The saying “the customer is always right” is fundemantally wrong but employees are still held to that. the result is employees that know how to stay calm in stressful environments and can take critique with a grain of salt.
Teamwork - Retail tends to have higher turnover than other fields due to the many entry level positions available as well as the complaints of minimum wage. When your team is constantly changing you must be able to work with many different types of people not just those you have known for months. In a store you don’t know those you are working with are reliable and communicate effectively However, you have to get work done and be able to rely on others and let others rely on you.
Technology - We have all seen the massive updates in technology over the years and many have witnessed it failing at times. In store it has become increasingly common to find wireless printers, tablets for ordering and paying, as well as tap to pay devices. Employees have to stay updated on these devices as well as know alternative ways of handling interaction incase something fails to work. This carries over to being responsible for the cash register at the end of the day and assisting with online orders in store.
Business Awareness - On a small scale Business awareness refers to inventory, stock, shipment, store organization, and visual displays. On a larger scale it refers to product knowledge, seasonal trends, loss prevention, marketing, merchandising, and product rotation. Even the worst of employees gains knowledge on all of these categories as the months go by. Retail workers have a hand in all of it. They understand from the moment a new collection comes in, how its marketed, where its placed and with what, its price point, price mark downs, and customer feedback.
Trends (fashion) - I have learned more about fabric, patterns, and styles from working retail than any magazine or news outlet. Moreover, I have seen whats sold and whats sat in the sale section for months. Preferences between cotton and silk and linens. The change in color palettes as the seasons change.