13 Top Careers in Retail (With Duties and Salaries)

Updated 22 May 2023

The retail industry employs over 1.2 million people for various positions. Many of the roles require little to no formal education, and there are many opportunities to grow into leadership and management positions. Knowing the options available in the retail industry and what they entail can help you plan your career path based on your skills and interests. In this article, we share popular careers in retail, what those positions entail and their average salaries.

Related: Top 10 Interview Questions for Retail (With Example Answers)

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13 careers in retail

Careers in retail are often customer-facing and sales driven. Some of these jobs may require little sales experience, meaning they could be an excellent first job. You may also find seasonal work or progressive opportunities, depending on your career aspirations. Here are some of the most popular roles in the retail industries:

1. Cashier

National average salary: $18.65 per hour

Primary duties: A cashier helps customers with the in-store checkout process. On a typical workday, they may bag items, redeem vouchers and request price checks. They typically collect payments and provide the change. Cashiers may also count the cash register contents at the end of the shift and maintain records, receipts and withdrawals. They sometimes check supplies and materials and report when there is a stock shortage.

2. Customer service representative

National average salary: $19.32 per hour

Primary duties: A customer service representative resolves customer concerns and answers their questions. They may advise clients about various products and services and offer suggestions or alternatives. A service representative can also escalate complex issues to the appropriate internal teams. Depending on their roles, they may also collect feedback from customers, replace orders and process refunds or exchanges.

3. Loss prevention officer

National average salary: $28.17 per hour

Primary duties: The major responsibility of a loss prevention officer is to deter retail store theft. They patrol store aisles and watch customers while remaining inconspicuous. A loss prevention officer also monitors security systems like closed-circuit cameras and alarms for potential theft by customers and staff. They may also notify the store's security to apprehend shoplifters and work with law enforcement to prosecute such individuals. Loss prevention officers may also help the management develop theft prevention policies.

4. Sales associate

National average salary: $17.73 per hour

Primary duties: A sales associate works closely with customers to determine their needs, address their inquiries about company products and recommend the right solutions. They might continuously update their product knowledge, introduce customers to promotions, cross-sell products and maintain order on the sales floor. Sales associates may also place orders for out-of-stock items, operate cash registers and help with financial transactions.


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5. Visual merchandiser

National average salary: $39.49 per hour

Primary duties: A visual merchandiser designs and creates attractive visual displays for retail stores. They usually combine their visual design with space utilisation skills to create appealing in-store and window displays, counters and walkways. Visual merchandisers can work with other retail store staff, liaise with suppliers and research demographics to design and create displays that align with the company's culture, image and target market.

Related: What Does a Merchandiser Do? (With Skills and Salary)

6. Pharmacy technician

National average salary: $35.74 per hour

Primary duties: Pharmacy technicians play a vital role in the world of pharmaceuticals, especially in inpatient and outpatient departments. Working under a long-serving pharmacist, technicians may prepare medications for patients, receive and verify prescriptions and price over-the-counter medication. They may also complete paperwork for patients and ensure drugs are in stock. A pharmacy technician can also maintain safety by adhering to infection-control procedures, regulations and policies.

7. Human resources specialist

National average salary: $31.73 per hour

Primary duties: A human resource (HR) specialist recruits and hires candidates for various positions. They can create or update job descriptions, commission adverts for new job openings, screen job applicants and set dates for interviews. They may also manage and organise the employees in a retail company. HR associates usually handle various staff conflicts, too. A person in this position may also resolve employee disputes, train staff, onboard new employees and ensure a safe work environment.

8. Store manager

National average salary: $29.94 per hour

Primary duties: A store manager plans and directs the daily operations. They develop strategies that drive sales, improve customer service and grow the customer base. They also create store policies and marketing programs while fostering a positive environment for the staff and customers. Store managers ensure store assistants address customer complaints efficiently and merchandise products and displays properly. They may also ensure proper staffing in all store areas to ensure the efficient completion of tasks.

Related: What Does a Store Manager Do? (Full Skills List and Duties)

9. District manager

National average salary: $59.92 per hour

Primary duties: A district manager oversees the operation of retail stores within their assigned district or territory. This person ensures that each store runs smoothly and meets the sales goals. They may also recruit and hire store managers for various stores and train supervisors within teams. A district manager can also oversee safety and security within their territory, ensure district-wide product quality and manage the financial performance of the stores they oversee.

10. Product line manager

National average salary: $58.50 per hour

Primary duties: A line manager manages other staff members, oversees their day-to-day responsibilities and reports to senior management. They give their teams the guidance they need and serve as a link to those in senior roles. Depending on the company, a product line manager may also take on the position of a team leader or supervisor. A line manager may also approve holidays, interview candidates, oversee budget lines and mentor team members.

11. Logistics coordinator

National average salary: $36.02 per hour

Primary duties: A logistic coordinator oversees the supply chain operations, ensuring efficient and cost-effective distribution of products. They manage all aspects of the shipping routes and deliveries. They usually address customer complaints and notify them of any delivery delays. A logistics coordinator often manages orders, arranges equipment and materials. This person can also maintain warehouse logs and records, prepare accurate invoices and track shipments to customers.

12. Buyer

National average salary: $35.22 per hour

Primary duties: The main responsibility of a buyer is to research, select and purchase goods for a retail store. They usually review existing goods and source new products to ensure the store remains competitive. Retail buyers may work for large department stores or specialty stores. They may specialise in specific product types like fashion accessories, household goods, electrical items, furniture and food. Buyers who work for smaller specialty stores may buy a variety of products.

13. Supply chain manager

National average salary: $83,170 per year

Primary duties: A supply chain manager oversees the supply chain and logistics operations to minimise costs and maximise the efficiency of the company's supply chain. They usually work with other managers to develop distribution centre operational processes that ensure seamless transfers. They can manage the qualification and performance of vendors, ensuring they meet the company's requirements. A supply chain manager may also approve budgets, manage the subordinate staff and ensure that supplies are available throughout. A person may require knowledge of company processes and strong supervisory and leadership skills to get into this role.

Related: How to Write a Cover Letter for Retail: A Step-by-Step Guide

Tips for finding retail jobs

Employers are often on the lookout for individuals that can help them generate revenue from products or services. The following tips might help you find the next sales job:

  • Research about the company: Learn about the company's culture, values, goals and whether you might be a good fit.

  • Accept entry-level jobs: Try to take junior sales jobs and work your way up to achieve managerial status or higher.

  • Build a professional network: Connect with sales managers and attend industry-specific events where you can learn more about new job opportunities.

  • Hone your sales skills: Read sales-oriented blogs and books to learn the art of selling and effective sales strategies.

  • Emphasise transferable skills: Transferrable skills may include good communication, excellent multi-tasking and time management and outstanding customer service.

  • Tailor your application for a job: Create a cover letter and resume that highlights the relevant experience and qualifications for the specific position you are applying for by using keywords from the job description.

  • Research the position: Find out more about what products or services a person in a sales position within the company sells to show enthusiasm .

  • Sell the benefits: Focus on the contributions you bring to a company and what you can help the sales manager achieve.

  • Be trustworthy: During an interview or on an application, demonstrate a time where you took accountability. Showing that you are flexible can also suggest that you're reliable.

  • Persistence is key: Sales representatives are usually persistent in securing a sale. Talk to key people, adapt your approach for each customer and work on maintaining a positive relationship with clients.

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