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Climbing the Corporate Ladder: Retail

Updated on April 22, 2017

1.) KNOW YOUR JOB: One of the simplest ways to be noticed by management or your superiors, is to know every detail of your job. If you are a cashier, know that register in and out. Make sure you can manage a return, an exchange, fill out necessary slips, holds or paperwork that is required for certain purchases. Know how to handle a check and what information is required for them. Be knowledgeable if the company you work for accepts food stamps, non-company affiliated coupons, military discounts, ect.

Chances are, the more you know, the more other employees will rely on you. It is also useful when training new employees or employees who aren't already aware of these policies.

2.) START ASKING QUESTIONS: Once you have mastered your current position, start asking questions in regards to how the store runs and what other departments and positions do. It can be useful to have knowledge that extends beyond your position in times when you may be low staffed, or a customer has a question in regards to something that doesn't fall in your domain. When you ask questions, it also shows that you are open to learning and that you are enthusiastic about your work. One thing management always wants is someone who is always thriving for knowledge and is willing to step up to different, and at times, harder tasks.

Sometimes management also needs a hand when it is busy during the holidays or weekends, so knowing how to do things beyond your position will ease the retail world on their shoulders.

3.) DON'T OVERSTEP: Although it can be helpful to understand how other departments and how they work, make sure you aren't overstepping your boundaries. Certain tasks are only for certain teams because of the risks that coincide if something goes wrong. Make sure you are still doing the tasks you were hired to do first. It wouldn't be good if a cashier disappeared to operate a pallet jack in the warehouse, though it may be good to know how to operate one, and can be helpful, do your job.

4.) TRY TO HAVE OPEN AVAILABILITY: When working retail, whether you are part-time or full time, having open availability can show that you are committed to your job and can be dependable when someone has called out or are short staffed during busy times of the year. Sometimes you just can't have open availability due to family, other jobs, school or something else entirely, and that's okay. Having open availability isn't the only way to show you are dedicated to your work, and not having an open availability doesn't mean you aren't. In the eyes of management, however, the more they can depend on you, the better your chances are of being noticed and/or commended for your work.

5.) HAVE GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE: In retail, it is required that you have good communication and people skills. When handling customers, you'd be surprised by how many people love being greeted as soon as they enter a store. It sets their mood while they shop, and conversely, a meek or rude greeting (or none at all) could make their shopping experience distasteful and may impact their decision to come back. It is also a good skill to ask how a customer is doing as they shop.

"Are you finding everything okay?"

"Is there anything I can help you with today?"

"Let me know if you need help with anything, and just to let you know, we have (so and so) deals today on (so and so)."

Be engaged with the shoppers and let them know you are there to help if they need it. Having a customer come to you first is going to make them feel like they are being ignored or that they are intruding in your space, when really, it's all about them. Make them not only want to come back, but also want to tell their family and friends about your store.

If you have in store coupons or deals, make sure to tell them about it. Who hates being told they can save money? If your store offers memberships to your customers, try to inform them about it. Memberships can give certain perks, discounts and coupons to those who have it. Frequent shoppers are the ones who usually bite the membership hook.

If you see someone who comes into the store often, strike up a conversation with them and ask their name, that way, the next time they come in, you can greet them by their name. I bet the first expression on their face when they see you will be a smile.

6.) BE PROFESSIONAL: Dealing with customers and co-workers alike, make sure you are maintaining a professional work environment and attitude. You want to be the person people go to for anything. If an argument ensues with a co-worker, be the one who creates a middle ground. When it comes to work, sometimes pride gets in the way. You will need to know how to balance yourself and others.

If a customer has become angry or displeased, try to accommodate them to the best of your abilities. If it has gotten out of hand, management may be the best solution. They are equipped to handle these types of situations and know exactly how to simmer down an angry customer. Try to take some mental notes on how they accomplish this so you can use this in the future.

7.) BUILD UP PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR SUPERIORS: This can be done by simply asking them if they have any projects for you, or if they need any help with anything around the store. Greeting them is also helpful in positive engagement.

Asking about their train of thought when walking you through a project will help you understand how they task and time manage. It can also help you manage your own time better when self tasking, because you won't always be held by the hand and walked through everything. Management will want to see how you can handle certain things without their engagement.

All in all, try to always have a positive and professional attitude. These are just a few steps that can help you climb up that corporate ladder and at the very least get you noticed by your superior team.


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