Retail Sales and Merchandising

If you're an outgoing person who loves to help others shop, a job in retail sales and merchandising may be a good fit for you. Continue reading to find more information about training options, employment outlook and potential earnings for retail sales and merchandising professionals.

Is Retail Sales and Merchandising For Me?

Career Overview

Retail sales and merchandising professionals promote and sell goods and services to the general public for personal consumption. Retail outlets sell many types of products and services, such as apparel, jewelry, medications, food, refrigerators, facials, massages or even lawn care.

A degree is usually not required to land a job in retail sales. However, for high-paying sales jobs or management positions, many employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree. Large retail stores generally offer orientation programs that may last for several days; in smaller operations, training takes place on the job. Once hired, employees typically learn about company or store policies, customer service, security and the products and services to be sold.

Career Options

Career options in retail sales and merchandising might include a position as a buyer, manager or fashion merchandiser. Depending on your qualifications, you may also find work as an advertising or pharmaceutical sales agent.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job prospects for retail salespeople were expected to increase by an average rate nationwide (10%) between 2012 and 2022, while retail supervisors would experience a slower-than-average number of openings during the same 10-year period. The BLS reported that the median annual wage for retail salespersons in May 2013, with the exception of cashiers, was $21,140. During the same period, first-line supervisors of retail sales workers had a median annual income of $37,200 (

How Can I Work in Retail Sales and Merchandising?

Educational Options

A high school diploma is usually required to work in sales. However, completion of an associate's degree in retail management or a bachelor's degree in a related field may provide access to better-paying positions. If you're interested in fashion sales and merchandising, you can earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in fashion merchandising. As an aspiring manager, you may also consider a Bachelor of Science in Business with an emphasis on retail management or even a master's degree in retail marketing.

Required Skills

Most retail sales positions require working with the general public, and employers often seek candidates with a professional appearance and who demonstrate courteous behavior. Retail sales and merchandising professionals should also be patient, tactful and poised, as well as have the communication skills necessary for interacting with colleagues and customers.

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