Job Description: Retail Store Assistant
There are plenty of roles to be had in fashion retailing for people that understand and enjoy fashion and have personable skills, as well as enthusiasm. The shop assistant can be found in all sizes of organisation, from well known high street chains to small independent shops and elite fashion brands.
As a store assistant, you’ll spend lots of time on your feet serving customers, making recommendations, helping, advising, directing and dealing with enquiries. You might also have specific tasks, such as taking customers' measurements.
Once you’ve learnt your trade you’ll move on to shop manager with responsibilities for dealing with customers and selling goods, handling payments, making sure that the goods are attractively displayed, offering advice and answering questions, managing stock availability, helping with special promotions, ordering stock and overseeing delivery.
Is it for you?
Nearly all shop and store managers begin by being shop assistants and it is probably the most uncomplicated consumer-facing role you can have. You enthusiasm in helping customers and thereby generating sales is the prime requirement for advancing. It’s hard work but there is usually a direct correletaion between the effort you put in and the rewards you achieve.
Customers can always be difficult but they’re also more than willing to respond well to a helpful shop assistant. It’s a hands-on job and for the most part glamorous and exciting, with known fashion brands and a fast moving environment. You’ll be an amabasador for the fashion clothing you handle and sell and you’ll be expected to maitnain that brand’s standing, along with the the expectations of customers who come to the shop. Being a shy-wall flower will not help you, but neither will be being pushy and too assertive.
Oh yes, and you’ll be working Saturdays and even Sundays quite often, so you need to enjoy doing this.
Qualifications and Skills
You don't need specific qualifications for fashion retailing, although you’ll need to genuinely like and enjoy the fashion brand you wish to work with. A good attitude and a keen interest and enthusiasm for the brand in question and the fashion industry as a whole are vital. You’ll also need to be able to ‘relate’ to the people you are serving as your opinion will often be sought in the world of fashion retailing.
Starting work in a large retail chain, you are likely to be offered in-house training such as NVQ Level 2 in Retail Skills, Level 3 in Retail and Level 4 in Sales. Graduate management training schemes usually last between 18 months and two years. However, in all cases you will be expected to develop your skills on the job.
Opportunities and salaries
The whole of the fashion world is to do with brands and the emphasis, more than everyday mass-produced clothing. Focus is on style and the individual values of your brand. The growth of branded fashions has been phenominal and the opportunities within those popular brands are excellent.
Many stores have sprung up, even despite the recession, which are proving to be successful in gaining a consumer followings. In smaller stores, your day-to-day jobs will be more varied than a large High Street outlet, and may include activities such as window display and receiving deliveries.
Sales assistants are likely to earn around £12,000 - £15,000 moving onto around £17k -£30k for assistant store managers. A medium sized store manager can expect circa £40,000 - £45,000, but rising up to to £70,000 for a prime high street fashion outlet. There may also be commission and performance bonuses attached to your package.